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Sea Moss is becoming an increasingly popular superfood in the health foods sphere. This edible seaweed contains 92 of the 102 nutrients and minerals the human body needs to function and be healthy. This article will cover 7 potential benefits of consuming this seaweed superfood.
A Quick Overview
Before diving directly into its potential benefits, you can learn more about wild sea moss here first:
- Irish Sea Moss (Chondrus crispus): The Beginner’s Guide
- What Is Wildcrafted Sea Moss?
- How To Identify Real Vs. Fake Sea Moss | 3 Easy Tips
- Sea Moss Capsules Vs. Gel: What Should You Choose?
- How To Make Sea Moss Gel: Five Easy Steps
Potential Benefits of Sea Moss
People consume sea moss for its purported health benefits. Most studies were performed in cell and animal models, however there is evidence of the beneficial effect of seaweed on human health. According to research, seaweeds may have an important role in modulating chronic disease. Rich in unique bioactive compounds not present in terrestrial food sources, including different proteins (lectins, phycobiliproteins, peptides, and amino acids), polyphenols, and polysaccharides, seaweeds are a novel source of compounds with potential to be exploited in human health applications (1).
More human studies are needed, however, for now, we are able to gather promising results from animal studies. These have shown seaweed to be beneficial for the thyroid, immune system, gut health, weight loss, heart health, blood sugar regulation, and fertility.
May Support Thyroid Function
Iodine is essential for creating thyroid hormones. The body does not make iodine naturally one its own, so it must be absorbed through the diet. Hypothyroidism is a condition that can develop when iodine levels in the body fall too low. This condition causes the thyroid to become enlarged and it does not create or release enough thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. This can slow metabolism, cause weight gain, and fatigue.
Seaweeds have the ability to concentrate iodine from seawater which is analogous to the human thyroid taking up iodine from the blood stream, except more efficiently (2). To further confirm this knowledge, one human study saw the concentrations of thyroid-stimulating hormone increase after using seaweed supplements for two weeks (2). This suggests seaweed is a good source of natural iodine which can help support an underactive thyroid.
May Increase Immunity
Sea moss is often touted for its immune boosting properties. Using a Caenorhabditis elegans (round worm) infection model, one study shows that Chondrus crispus water extract enhances host immunity and suppresses communication between bacteria and the virulence factors of germs that can cause infections in humans (3).
Further, one animal study saw found that seaweed supplementation improved immune modulation and immune response (4). Human studies are still needed to confirm these responses in people, but these preliminary results are promising.
Can Improve Gut Health
Chondrus crispus is also known to help improve gut microbiome. The results of an animal study conducted on rats, suggest consumption of Irish sea moss has multiple prebiotic effects, such as influencing the composition of gut microbial communities, improvement of gut health and immune modulation (5).
In a second animal study, the subject this time being layer hens, found the dietary supplementation using red seaweed acted as a potential prebiotic to improve performance, egg quality, and overall gut health (6). The prebiotic effects of Chondrus crispus in humans has not yet been studied to date. However, the results of animal studies support these positive changes in gut health. Ultimately, we need to see more human studies conducted on this topic.
May Support Weight Loss
In addition to iodine and other minerals and nutrients, seaweed and other microalgae are also high in fiber. Fiber is often used in weight loss strategies as it helps to keep you full longer and reduces overall appetite.
Additionally, studies have found a compound present in seaweeds called fucoxanthin. In animal studies, it was found to promote fat metabolism in rats (7), (8), (9). These findings support the anti-obesity properties of sea moss. Human studies are still needed to fully understand the impact on human bodies.
May Promote Heart Health
Cholesterol is a substance found in your blood. While your body needs it, too much of it can put you at an increased risk of heart disease. High cholesterol causes fatty deposits to develop inside of the blood vessels.
Some studies have found the consumption of seaweed and other microalgae to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). They may also act as a blood thinner which can both help to reduce the risk of heart disease (10), (11), (12). This suggests sea moss supplementation can aid in overall heart health.
Can Improve Blood Sugar Levels
One study found that fucoxanthin, the same compound responsible for helping to promote fat metabolism, was also seen aiding in the reduction of high blood sugar in rats (13). A separate animal study found another compound in seaweed called alginate prevented blood sugar spikes in pigs (14). Human studies and clinical trials are still needed to see these compounds and their effect on the human model.
Can Support Fertility
There is some anecdotal evidence to support Chondrus crispus’ potential impact on fertility. In addition, the effect of Chondrus crispus on male fertility (in rats) was studied by epididymal spermatozoa as well as histopathological examination. After 48 days, the sperm count and motility for the post-treated group increased significantly by 36.6% and 35% than pre-treated group, respectively 10. These results suggest there is merit in current anecdotal reports on the benefits of using sea moss for fertility support.
A Quick Recap
Irish Sea Moss is a powerful superfood packed with minerals and unique bioactive compounds that cannot be otherwise found in typical food sources. These compounds and the dense nutrient profile of sea moss are responsible for an array of different potential benefits.
Wild moss or microalgae can support the thyroid, boost immunity, improve overall gut health, support weight loss and heart health, and improve blood sugar and fertility levels. There is a lack of human research, however, the results of animal studies are promising and support these as potential benefits of consuming seaweed.
Please speak with your doctor or other licensed healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement including Irish Sea Moss. None of the content on this site is or should be considered medical advice. The purpose of this article is simply to highlight relevant research for those curious about the potential benefits of consuming Irish Sea Moss.