General Health Benefits of Sea Moss

General Health Benefits of Sea Moss

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 the benefits of sea moss are based on science and how many are just hearsay? 

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

  • Aiding digestion
  • Boosting neurological health
  • Boosting immune function
  • Increasing satiety 
  • Sea moss is commonly harvested to extract carrageenan, a jelly-like substance often used by the food industry as a thickener. You’ll find it in ice cream, non-dairy milk, cottage cheese, jelly, and even toothpaste, shoe polish, and infant formula.

Sea moss is said to improve energy, thyroid function, digestion, and skin health. 

We know that the nutrients found in sea moss have been linked to health and longevity,” explains registered and certified dietician nutritionist Jennifer Scheinman, an advisor at Timeline Nutrition.

Those nutrients include vitamin B12, calcium, iodine, magnesium, potassium, calcium, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, iron, and many more.

Immune Health

As mentioned, there isn’t enough evidence to prove that consuming sea moss will improve your overall health—and that includes immune function. However, studies have shown that consuming other types of seaweed and algae may boost the immune system and even help guard against viral and bacterial infections. “Dietary seaweeds contain numerous components that can exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects, directly and indirectly, by improving the gut microbiota,” found one study examining seaweed’s potential for fighting COVID-19 infections.

Thyroid Health

Sea moss is a natural source of iodine, a micronutrient that is vital for supporting thyroid health. Since the body doesn’t make iodine itself, obtaining it through food is essential, and may prevent hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones to regulate metabolism. 

But experts warn that those affected with thyroid disorders should consult a medical professional before embarking on a sea moss feeding frenzy—especially if they’re already taking thyroid medication. “Sea moss comes directly from the ocean so it is affected by its ever-changing environment,” says McAleer. “Consuming large quantities consistently should be done with caution due to the high levels of iodine that can be found in ocean waters.”

Digestive Health

Sea moss contains fiber and prebiotics, both of which promote good gut health. One study found that sea moss does have “multiple prebiotic effects, such as influencing the composition of gut microbial communities, improvement of gut health and immune modulation,” but it’s important to note that this study was only conducted on rats. Other studies on human subjects, using seaweed instead of sea moss, conclude that more research must be done: “There is a dearth of data available in the literature on human dietary intervention studies with seaweed polysaccharides, polyphenols, and peptides,” a recent study notes. So, while it’s likely that sea moss won’t harm your gut health, in terms of proven benefits, the jury’s still out.

Skin Health

We all know that consuming vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids is essential for skin health, so it makes sense that consuming nutrient-rich sea moss would only help—we just don’t have enough data yet to back up the assumption. 

Studies do suggest, however, that the bioactive compounds in seaweed can be helpful in terms of preventing hyperpigmentation, photoaging, and acne—but those studies have only tested the topical application of those compounds. 

In another study that looked at sea moss gathered from the Red Sea, an impressive roster of flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins were found, as well as “remarkable” anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties—enough that the study recommends that “Chondrus crispus extract be further studied for its pharmacological application in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases particularly human cancers.”

Other Benefits of Sea Moss

  • It may promote heart health. Some studies have found that seaweed reduces LDL  (bad) cholesterol and acts as a blood thinner, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Helps support weight loss. Seaweeds and microalgae are rich in fiber that can help you feel full and prevent overeating. Studies have shown that a compound in seaweed called fucoxanthin promoted fat metabolism in rats.
  • May improve blood sugar management. One study found that the compound fucoxanthin in seaweed reduced high blood sugar. Another study found that a compound in seaweed called alginate prevented blood sugar spikes in pigs.
  • Anecdotal benefits for fertility: Sea Moss is thought to promote fertility in men or women. Some people use it as a traditional fertility treatment. Scientists need to investigate this further.
  • May prevent Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common degenerative disease in older adults. It causes tremors, stiffness, and slowness of movement, and there is no cure. However early research shows that sea moss may be able to slow the worsening of the 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. However, more research is needed to see if sea moss has the same effect on humans that it has on worms. 

It can build muscle and aid in workout recovery

Sea moss is rich in an amino acid called taurine, which helps with muscle-building. “When we exercise, we get little micro-tears in our muscles,” Czerwony explains, “but amino acids can help with that recovery.”

Sea moss also has about 6 grams of protein per 100 grams, an exercise staple. Just don’t rely solely on sea moss for exercise recovery! You’ve still got to make sure you’re getting enough healthy food, hydration, rest, etc.

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