Sea moss, also referred to as Irish moss or its scientific name, Chondrus Crispus, is typically “used as a stiffening agent in instant puddings, sauces, and dairy products such as ice cream,” according to medical journal Elsevier’s book series, “Advances in Food and Nutrition Research.”
But some people believe that the leafy red algae — consumed in the form of a powder, capsule or gel — can boost your immune system and even aid in weight loss.
In recent years, edible sea moss has gotten a lot more attention on social media, including from celebrities like rapper Meek Mill.
The trending supplement has even piqued the interest of wealthy investors.
In 2022, Mark Cuban and Kevin Hart invested $600,000 into a start-up company that sells edible sea moss gel. The selling point for them was that the company’s founder, Alexiou Gibson, says he lost 300 pounds by including the sea moss in his daily lattes.
There are many people like Gibson who have shared their success stories after taking sea moss daily, but is there concrete evidence to support their claims? Here’s what the science says about if sea moss is actually beneficial for weight loss, immunity and other health-related changes.
Is sea moss worth the hype? Here’s what a dietician says
Sea moss is very nutrient-dense and contains vitamins A, C, E and certain B vitamins, Samar Kullab, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Chicago area, tells CNBC Make it.
These vitamins can cause “an increase in energy levels, a boost in our immune system, brighter skin and support [for our] body’s natural detoxification pathways,” Kullab says.
Other potential health benefits of edible sea moss include:
- Reduced inflammation: “It’s rich in antioxidants which could potentially help lower inflammation and decrease your risk of chronic diseases,” says Kullab.
- Support for thyroid function: “Sea moss contains iodine which helps regulate your thyroid function. And iodine is something that our bodies can’t produce, so we do have to ingest it.” Thyroids release hormones that regulate mood, metabolism and weight, she adds. To prevent adverse effects, you shouldn’t exceed one serving of a sea moss supplement a day; its high iodine levels can negatively affect your thyroid if taken in excess, Kullab notes.
- Improvement in heart health: “It also has minerals like magnesium and phosphate which are known to support blood pressure regulation and your overall heart health,” says Kullab.
- Regulated gut health: “Sea moss also contains prebiotics which will feed your healthy gut bacteria. [This] could potentially lead to improved digestion [and] again, a boost in your immune system. Good gut health can also improve mental health,” she notes.
When it comes to the effects of sea moss on weight loss, “the studies are not strong to support that at all,” says Kullab.
The impacts that the seaweed have on thyroid function is likely why people credit it for weight loss, but research doesn’t support sea moss as a weight loss agent.
Take ‘just a serving a day’ to avoid negative health outcomes
If you plan to give sea moss a try, there are some guidelines to keep in mind.
The No. 1 thing to know, says Kullab, is dosage. “You want to make sure that you’re only taking a serving per day,” she says.
For sea moss gel, that’s typically one spoonful. But sea moss is sold in supplements, liquid drops and capsules, too, so you should follow the recommended serving size by product.
Additionally, if you have thyroid issues, “I would recommend avoiding taking it, or checking with your doctor or dietitian,” Kullab adds.
You should also be prudent about where you’re getting your sea moss products, Kullab notes.
“You want to make sure it’s third-party tested because the sea moss can contain heavy metals like mercury or lead, depending on where it’s harvested,” she says. By confirming that it’s third-party tested, you can “ensure that [it] wasn’t exposed to large amounts of heavy metals.”
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