Benefits Of Sea Moss Gel

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition : “Clarifying the confusion between poligeenan, degraded carrageenan, and carrageenan: A review of the chemistry, nomenclature, and in vivo toxicology by the oral route.”

Health Benefits of Sea Moss

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Iron 6%
  • Vitamin B6 0%
  • Magnesium 0%
  • Calcium 1%
  • Vitamin D 0%
  • Cobalamin 0%
  • Vitamin A 0%

Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or red seaweed, is a type of seaweed that grows year-round in tidepools and inlets.

Sea moss is commonly harvested in New England to extract carrageenan, a gelatinous carbohydrate used in baked goods and cosmetics. But sea moss can also be eaten on its own, and it is often used to thicken soups and stews.

Sea moss gel

Sea moss gel is a natural, nutrient-rich product derived from sea moss. It is high in minerals such as iodine, potassium, and calcium, and is a good source of hydration and hydrocolloids. It is often used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in food, cosmetics, and medicine.

Let’s take a look at the health benefits of this intertidal seaweed.

Sea Moss Benefits

Ever since Kim Kardashian posted about drinking a sea moss smoothie, the healthy eating community has been bursting with information about this superfood, claiming that sea moss can help with everything from your skin to your immune system. But how many of those benefits are based on science and how many are just hearsay?

The truth is that while people have eaten sea moss for years, scientists are only now beginning to research its medical benefits. Here’s what we know so far.

May prevent Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most-common degenerative disease found in older adults.

It causes tremors, stiffness, and slowness of movement, and there is no cure. But early research shows that sea moss may be able to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

In a study done with worms, extract from sea moss was shown to reduce stiffness and slowness of movement. This could mean promising things for people with Parkinson’s. But more research is needed to see if sea moss has the same effect on humans that it has on worms.

May improve the immune system

Early studies suggest that sea moss can boost the immune system and may even protect the body from contracting salmonella .

One study showed that sea moss can stop the growth of S. enteritidis , the bacteria that causes salmonella in humans. But this is a very early study and has not been reproduced in animals or humans. More research is needed to determine whether sea moss could help prevent or treat salmonella in humans.

Sea Moss Nutrition

One of the reasons sea moss has been touted as a superfood recently is that it’s a vegan , gluten-free source of many nutrients. Some of the nutrients in sea moss are:

Nutrients per serving

2 tablespoons of sea moss contain:

  • Calories: 5
  • Fat : 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium : 7 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates : 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

Portion sizes

When it comes to using sea moss, remember that a little bit goes a long way. A serving of sea moss is just two tablespoons, so it doesn’t take much to start adding it to your diet.

Sea moss is a source of iodine, which is something you can eat too much of. Having too much iodine in your diet can lead to a goiter, or enlarged thyroid gland, which can require surgery to resolve. To prevent this, be sure to stick to no more than one serving of sea moss per day.

Sea Moss Side Effects

Although Irish moss offers many health benefits and can improve your body’s overall function, some studies have shown that carrageenan may have negative effects.

Under certain circumstances, carrageenan can be converted into “degraded carrageenan,” or poligeenan, which is known to be toxic and may cause several health problems. There is no scientific evidence to show that your body can convert carrageenan to poligeenan. But some seaweed can contain poligeenan naturally.

May cause intestinal inflammation

Poligeenan can lead to inflammation of the intestines, causing problems with nutrition absorption. This can also lead to discomfort and bloating over time. It may also be linked with colitis and symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

May cause stomach ulcers

In large amounts, poligeenan has also been shown to cause stomach lesions and ulcers in animal studies. More poligeenan is generally connected to larger ulcers.

May lead to stomach and bowel cancer

Finally, poligeenan has also been linked to polyps that may become cancerous. Poligeenan appears to cause problems in the digestive tract that lead to cell mutations commonly found in cancers, particularly in cases where ulcers are found.

It’s important to note that carrageenan has none of these effects. The FDA has determined that carrageenan is safe to use as a food additive, and the human body cannot produce conditions to convert carrageenan to poligeenan.

High levels of iodine found in sea moss can cause thyroid problems and even cancer. Eating too much sea moss can also cause stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. And sea moss may contain toxic metals like arsenic, mercury, and lead, which can be dangerous to consume. Also, sea moss may have blood-thinning properties, so people taking blood-thinning medication should avoid it. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid sea moss because there is not enough research on its effects on these populations. Before adding sea moss to your diet, it’s best to talk to a health care professional.

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How Much Sea Moss to Take Daily

The FDA recommends that people consume no more than 150 micrograms of iodine daily. Since Irish moss is rich in iodine, you may want to be cautious when it comes to overeating it. In general, eating one to two servings, or 2 to 4 tablespoons, is considered safe and healthy.

How to Prepare Sea Moss

Many brands have begun selling sea moss capsules and tablets. But there are plenty of ways you can prepare sea moss yourself to enjoy in dishes at home.

To cook with sea moss, you first need to wash it and then soak it in cold water for a full day, changing the water frequently. You’ll know your sea moss is ready to use when it has doubled in size and become white and gelatinous. Once it’s ready, put the sea moss and some water into a blender and blend until it becomes a thick, honey-colored liquid.

Once you have your prepared sea moss, you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and use it in a number of recipes. Sea moss acts as a thickening agent in recipes, making it ideal for:

Show Sources

ESHA Research Inc., Salem, OR.

Frontiers in Microbiology : “Red Seaweeds Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii and Chondrus crispus down Regulate Virulence Factors of Salmonella Enteritidis and Induce Immune Responses in Caenorhabditis elegans.”

Marine Drugs : “Neuroprotective Effects of the Cultivated Chondrus crispus in a C. elegans Model of Parkinson’s Disease.”

Mayo Clinic: “Goiter,” “Parkinson’s Disease.”

University of Rhode Island Environmental Data Center: “Irish Moss (Chrondus Crispus) .”

Britannica: “Irish Moss.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition : “Clarifying the confusion between poligeenan, degraded carrageenan, and carrageenan: A review of the chemistry, nomenclature, and in vivo toxicology by the oral route.”

Critical Reviews in Toxicology : “A critical review of the toxicological effects of carrageenan and processed eucheuma seaweed on the gastrointestinal tract.”

Journal of Applied Phycology : “Melanoma and brown seaweed: an integrative hypothesis.”

Lipid Technology : “The carotenoid fucoxanthin from brown seaweed affects obesity.”

Lipids in Health and Disease : “Polyunsaturated fatty acids in various macroalgal species from north Atlantic and tropical seas.”

National Institutes of Health: “Iodine.”

Scientific American : “The Carrageenan Controversy.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Seaweed, irishmoss, raw.”

FDA: Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.

Is a Spoonful of Sea Moss the Key to Good Health?

Influencers on social media are swallowing it up. But can this spiny sea vegetable really help you heal your gut, lose weight, strengthen your immune system and more?

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On the left side of the picture a ball of tannish sea moss is suspended on a grey background and you can see its shadow; on the right side of the image is an empty mason jar with the lid on; the image has a surreal look to it because of the suspended sea moss

Dani Blum

Jan. 10, 2023

In videos on TikTok, influencers wince as they dig spoons into jars of what looks like slime. Sometimes the glop is pale green or yellow, sometimes it’s deep red. Some people wrinkle their noses and grimace as they swallow a dollop; others sniff their spoons and grin into the camera. “It kind of smells like ocean water,” one woman said before choking down a glob and then covering her mouth, appearing to gag, eyes watering. “It’s really good,” she said flatly and unconvincingly, blinking away tears. “I’m going to do it every day.”

They are among a number of people online who have been promoting the health benefits of sea moss — an edible sea vegetable in the algae family that is packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin K, vitamin B, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc and calcium.

While the plant can be consumed raw and in supplement form — including as pills, powders and gummies — it’s most often eaten as a gel, made by soaking the dried plant in water, blending it and letting it coalesce in the fridge. Some claim that a scoop or more per day can heal their gut, clear their skin, regulate their menstrual cycle, strengthen their immune system or help them shed pounds. But is this hype based on science?

Here’s what to know before slurping down a spoonful.

What is sea moss?

Sea moss is a spiky, frilly sea vegetable that somewhat resembles frisée lettuce when it’s in the ocean. It thrives along the Atlantic coasts, mainly between North America and Europe, and in the warm waters of Asia, South America, Africa and parts of the Caribbean. When dried and packaged, the plant looks like cooked ramen noodles, with tangled tendrils that clump together. Food manufacturers harvest it for its carrageenan, an ingredient that acts as a thickening agent for foods like ice cream, chocolate milk and creamers.

But because it’s so nutrient-rich, people sometimes eat it in hopes of improving their health — swirling the gel into smoothies, blending it into puddings or eating it straight from a jar.

The gel often tastes fishy and has a slick, slimy texture. Raw sea moss can also have an earthy, ocean-like taste, not unlike an oyster or a clam — which can be off-putting to some, said Brooke Levine, a dietitian nutritionist at NYU Langone Health.

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When did sea moss become so popular?

Sea moss has received a number of celebrity endorsements on social media in recent years. In 2020, Kim Kardashian shared on Twitter that she drank sea moss smoothies as part of her diet; last summer, Erewhon Market, a grocery chain based in Los Angeles, released “Hailey Bieber’s Strawberry Glaze Skin Smoothie” — complete with sea moss gel. The rapper Meek Mill mused online in 2019 that maybe sea moss made him smarter, and in 2021, the former Disney Channel actress Skai Jackson said she ate sea moss “every single day.”

Sea moss also gained attention last fall when a flurry of panicky social media posts from fans of the plant claimed that the Food and Drug Administration was going to ban all sea moss products, possibly because of certain unproven health claims. While the F.D.A. has issued warning letters to makers of sea moss-containing products in the past (including to a company that claimed its product could prevent or treat Covid-19), the posts about the ban turned out to be based on misinformation. But the passionate reactions of some users showed just how fervent a following the plant had gained.

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take your money?

Is sea moss actually good for you?

Sea moss, in gel or other forms, can be a relatively low-calorie conduit to adding more nutrients to your diet, said Dr. Melinda Ring, the executive director of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The plant is rich in antioxidants, which can break down free radicals that damage our cells, she said. And sea moss gel contains large amounts of potassium, an essential mineral that supports muscle contraction and blood pressure control.

But while nutrition experts say that the nutrients in sea moss might offer some health benefits, the hype is probably overblown, Dr. Ring said. “Like all of the superfoods that have come and gone, there’s some truth to it,” she said. “It’s just not a magical thing that everyone should be taking.”

No clinical trials have investigated whether sea moss is beneficial for humans, Ms. Levine said, though seaweed in general has been well researched: It’s packed with vitamins and minerals similar to those found in sea moss, and some studies suggest that certain fatty acids and vitamins in some types of seaweed, like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B12, can help strengthen the immune system.

But without hard and fast data on sea moss itself, Dr. Ring said, its health effects aren’t totally clear.

Besides, Ms. Levine said, you’re most likely already getting the same nutrients found in sea moss if you follow a well-balanced diet. And if you don’t, she said, consuming sea moss won’t counteract poor nutrition choices. “It won’t help to eat sea moss gel if you’re getting a Big Mac,” Ms. Levine said.

Instead of turning to sea moss for a nutritional boost, she said, a few rolls of sushi containing seaweed can help supply comparable amounts of B vitamins and zinc. You can also get many of the nutrients in sea moss from leafy greens like kale, arugula or Swiss chard, said Mary Ellen DiPaola, a senior outpatient dietitian at the University of California, San Francisco.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, agreed. “When a patient comes to me and says, ‘I saw this on TikTok, I’m thinking about taking it,’ I’m like, ‘That’s great, how about having more broccoli?’” she said.

Can sea moss help you lose weight?

Despite what some people are saying online, sea moss won’t suddenly speed up your metabolism, Ms. Kirkpatrick said. It does, however, contain plenty of prebiotic fiber, a food source for the good bacteria in your gut, which can help regulate your digestive system, she said.

Theoretically, sea moss gel could contribute to weight loss because its goopy consistency makes it slow to leave our stomachs, keeping us fuller for longer, Dr. Ring said, but it’s not guaranteed.

Can sea moss keep you from getting sick?

The individual nutrients found in sea moss — like B vitamins and zinc — indicate that, theoretically, the gel could help support your immune system, Dr. Ring said. But without data or clinical trials, there’s no proof that sea moss can prevent or cure any disease.

Are there risks associated with eating sea moss?

Sea moss contains high levels of iodine, which can damage your thyroid if consumed in large quantities, Dr. Ring said. If you want to try it, she recommended taking no more than two tablespoons of the gel at a time and using it every other day, rather than every day.

Like seaweed, sea moss may contain trace amounts of heavy metals like aluminum or cadmium, depending on where it’s grown. So you should be careful to not overdo it, Dr. Ring said.

If you’re taking sea moss in supplement form, keep in mind that the F.D.A. does not strictly regulate supplements, so you can never be 100 percent sure that what is stated online or on a package is what’s in the product.

Is sea moss worth shelling out for?

A bag of the dried plant, which you can use to make sea moss gel at home, can be expensive. Some sellers on Amazon list it for around $20 per pound, others for around $80 per pound. A 16-ounce jug of premade gel can run around $15 on the lower end, or $60 on the higher end.

If you decide the expense is worth it, swallowing a spoonful of sea moss isn’t likely to harm you, experts said. But it won’t transform your health or body, either.

“When we’re having a conversation about diet, there’s never been a situation where we’ve found one food is the salvation we were searching for,” Ms. Kirkpatrick said. “It’s always a combination of factors.”

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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