Is Sea Moss Actually Good For You?

With just a quick dive into the ocean of wellness trends, you've likely encountered the aquatic gem known as sea moss. This marine marvel, although an algae, isn't just algae. According to some, it's a treasure trove of health benefits.

If you've seen the claims, you may be wondering whether sea moss is good for you and whether the unique sea moss benefits for women, such as promoting thyroid function and supporting skin health, are just hype. Ahead, registered dietitians (myself included) weigh in on sea moss benefits and side effects, plus how to incorporate sea moss into your wellness routine.

Is Sea Moss Good For You?

Sea moss, also known as Irish moss, is a type of red algae that grows along the rocky parts of the Atlantic coastlines of Europe and North America. "While it's gaining a lot of popularity in the wellness world now, it's actually been consumed as part of traditional diets, especially in coastal regions like the Caribbean, Ireland, and parts of Asia," says Jen Scheinman, MS, RDN, CDN, the creator of Next Jen Health.

Known for its high nutrient content, sea moss is a source of iodine, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and K. It's often used in food for its gelling properties. Scheinman explains that "while there are not a lot of studies done with sea moss, it's purported to have benefits ranging from thyroid health to gut health".

"A four-tablespoon serving of Irish sea moss provides 10 percent of the daily value (DV) for iron, 7 percent of the DV for magnesium, and 4 percent of the DV for zinc, all for only 10 calories," says Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, the author of "Eat Your Vitamins."

Here are some potential benefits you may experience if you include sea moss in your regimen.

Sea Moss Is a Great Source of Iodine

One remarkable benefit of sea moss is its high iodine content, which is crucial for proper thyroid function. This vital nutrient helps in the production of thyroid hormones, which are responsible for regulating metabolism, energy production, and cellular repair in the body.

Iodine is also instrumental in cognitive function. "If you are considering using sea moss and you have a thyroid disorder, you'll definitely want to connect with your healthcare practitioner, as too much iodine can have a negative impact on the thyroid," Scheinman cautions.

Sea Moss May Support Immune Health

Sea moss is known for its potential to support a healthy immune system. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin C, sea moss may play a role in bolstering the body's defenses against common illnesses and infections.

Sea Moss May Lead to Healthier Skin

Sea moss is celebrated for its ability to improve skin health, thanks to its high sulfur content. Often dubbed "nature's collagen," sulfur is often regarded as a therapeutic agent useful in a variety of dermatologic disorders. It may enhance the elasticity and suppleness of the skin, promote faster healing of cuts and burns, and provide relief for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Sea Moss May Promote a Healthier Gut

"Sea moss is a good source of fiber and prebiotics (nutrients that support your gut microbiome), so it may have a beneficial effect on gut health," Scheinman says.

Sea moss also brings the benefit of digestive health support due to its high mucilage content. This gel-like substance may offer gut health support, potentially easing discomfort from inflammation and aiding in the smooth transit of food through the digestive tract.

Sea Moss May Offer Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

The high antioxidant content of sea moss means that it could help lower inflammation and potentially lower your risk of chronic illness. This includes conditions like heart disease, some forms of cancer, and metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes, per Scheinman.

Sea Moss Side Effects

While sea moss is celebrated for its health benefits, it's important to be aware of its potential side effects, too. Overconsumption can lead to an excess of iodine, which might disrupt thyroid function. Additionally, because sea moss acts as a blood thinner, those taking anticoagulant medications should exercise caution. It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating sea moss, or any new supplement, into your diet.

Also worth nothing: "Sea moss might pose a risk of elevated heavy-metal intake since seaweed has a tendency to absorb and accumulate heavy metals," Davis tells POPSUGAR. Plus, "eating too much sea moss can trigger an upset stomach, diarrhea, and/or constipation," Scheinman says.

How to Add Sea Moss to Your Diet

Adding sea moss can be simple with a little know-how. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Smoothies: Add sea moss gel to your favorite smoothie recipe for a nutrient boost.
  • Teas and Beverages: Stir in a spoonful of sea moss gel into hot teas or homemade juices.
  • Soups and Stews: Mix sea moss gel into broths or stews to thicken them and add minerals.
  • Baked Goods: Use sea moss as a healthy additive in bread, cakes, or muffins.
  • Sauces and Dressings: Blend sea moss into sauces, dressings, or dips for added texture and nutrients.
  • Breakfast Bowls: Top off oatmeal or yogurt bowls with a spoonful of sea moss gel.
  • Desserts: Incorporate sea moss gel into dessert recipes like puddings or vegan jellies for a healthful twist.

You can also take it in capsule form and skip the recipes. But like with any supplement, it's always best to check with your doctor before changing up your diet and wellness routine.