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Sea Moss: The Trending Wellness Supplement—Is It Worth the Hype? Here’s What Science Says

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Benjamin Hughes

June 26, 2024 - 06:30 am

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Introduction to Sea Moss

Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or by its scientific name, Chondrus Crispus, is primarily 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.” However, some people believe that this leafy red algae, consumed in the form of powder, capsule, or gel, can boost the immune system and aid in weight loss.

Social Media and Celebrity Endorsements

In recent years, edible sea moss has garnered significant attention on social media, with endorsements from celebrities like rapper Meek Mill. This trending supplement has even attracted wealthy investors. In 2022, Mark Cuban and Kevin Hart invested $600,000 into a start-up company selling edible sea moss gel. The company’s founder, Alexiou Gibson, claimed to have lost 300 pounds by including sea moss in his daily lattes. Many individuals, like Gibson, have shared success stories about taking sea moss daily, but is there scientific evidence to support these claims?

Nutritional Benefits of Sea Moss

Sea moss is highly nutrient-dense and contains vitamins A, C, E, and certain B vitamins, according to Samar Kullab, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Chicago area. These vitamins can increase energy levels, boost the immune system, brighten skin, and support the body’s natural detoxification pathways.

Reduced Inflammation

Sea moss is rich in antioxidants, which could potentially help lower inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic diseases, says Kullab.

Support for Thyroid Function

Sea moss contains iodine, which helps regulate thyroid function. Iodine is essential as our bodies cannot produce it. Thyroids release hormones that regulate mood, metabolism, and weight. However, Kullab cautions that one should not exceed one serving of sea moss per day, as its high iodine levels can negatively affect the thyroid if taken in excess.

Improvement in Heart Health

Sea moss contains minerals like magnesium and phosphate, known to support blood pressure regulation and overall heart health, according to Kullab.

Regulated Gut Health

Sea moss also contains prebiotics, which feed healthy gut bacteria. This can potentially lead to improved digestion and a boost in the immune system. Good gut health can also enhance mental health.

Sea Moss and Weight Loss

When it comes to the effects of sea moss on weight loss, studies do not strongly support the claim, says Kullab. The impact of seaweed on thyroid function is likely why people credit it for weight loss, but research does not back sea moss as a weight loss agent.

Guidelines for Sea Moss Consumption

If you plan to try sea moss, there are some guidelines to keep in mind. The number one consideration is dosage. Kullab recommends taking only one serving per day. For sea moss gel, this is typically one spoonful. However, sea moss is available in supplements, liquid drops, and capsules, so follow the recommended serving size for the product.

Precautions for Thyroid Issues

If you have thyroid issues, Kullab advises avoiding sea moss or consulting with a doctor or dietitian before use. The high iodine content can exacerbate thyroid problems.

Ensuring Quality and Safety

It’s important to ensure the quality and safety of sea moss products. Kullab stresses the importance of third-party testing to verify that sea moss does not contain heavy metals like mercury or lead, depending on where it’s harvested. Third-party testing ensures that the product wasn’t exposed to large amounts of heavy metals.

Conclusion

Sea moss, or Irish moss, has gained popularity as a wellness supplement due to its potential health benefits, including nutrient density, anti-inflammatory properties, support for thyroid function, heart health, and gut health. While social media and celebrity endorsements have contributed to its rise, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. When considering sea moss, it is essential to follow recommended dosages, especially given its high iodine content, and ensure the product is third-party tested for safety. For those with thyroid issues, consulting with a healthcare professional is advised. The hype around sea moss may have some basis, but it’s crucial to approach its use with caution and informed understanding.