Most of us know that dark leafy greens, fish, and berries are good for us. In fact, these ingredients are often classed as superfoods, which is why so many of us include them in our weekly meal plans.1
One item that might not be on the shopping list is sea moss. It’s an alga (the singular word for algae) that’s making waves in the wellness world, with plenty of health-conscious individuals including it in their recipes.
Throughout this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about potential sea moss benefits and side effects, and why it’s a popular addition to many supplements
Sea moss, known scientifically as Chondrus crispus, is a type of algae or seaweed, which is found on the Atlantic shores of North America, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands.2 It’s known as a red alga, although it often comes in many colours, most popularly yellow or gold and purple – but you can also find rarer colours such as blue and green.2
Its low number of calories and fat means that sea moss is popular for its suggested range of health benefits, which may help to support a healthy lifestyle.3 It contains a small amount of protein, as well as offering a variety of vitamins and minerals and is also a great source of iodine and antioxidants.4
Often claimed to be a brand-new superfood, there are some possible health benefits to adding sea moss to your diet. However, before you start taking sea moss in any form, it's important that you check with your GP to make sure it is safe for you to do so. Here are the top 10 potential benefits of sea moss:
Sea moss is a good source of live bacteria and fibre, which are known to support gut health.5
Sea moss contains iodine, which is good for your thyroid and potentially provides support for weight loss. However, if you're already taking medication to support your lack of iodine it's probably worth researching this further.6
Sea moss contains iron, which is a great way to support your energy levels. A lack of iron can make you feel tired and lethargic.7
While there's no specific human study, one study into salmon suggested that sea moss can help build the body’s immune response.9
Sea moss has about two times more potassium than an average-sized banana. Potassium is a very important mineral that helps to support mental and emotional health.10
Some studies suggest that sea moss can lower cholesterol and help thin the blood. However, this isn't proven and requires more human research.11
One study into seaweeds, like sea moss, found the compound fucoxanthin, which is thought to normalise high blood sugar levels.12
Caribbean natives have been using sea moss as a natural aphrodisiac for many years. Its high zinc content is thought to increase sex hormones that play a key role in libido levels.13
Sea moss is a powerful superfood that is full of minerals and nutrients that can help your body run healthy.14
However, it’s worth remembering that there isn’t a lot of research around the benefits of sea moss, and it can’t provide all the nutrients you need. Stick to a healthy and balanced diet and use sea moss as a supplement if you want to.
There are plenty of other plant-based supplements on the market too, so it’s worth doing your research to find the ones that are right for you.
There’s a lot we don’t know about eating sea moss and how it interacts with our bodies. While it's generally thought that sea moss is safe for most of us, it’s still worth exercising a bit of caution. Choose reputable manufacturers and talk to your doctor if you have any worries.
It’s also a good idea to avoid overeating sea moss. Sea moss is a good source of iodine and other heavy metals, and while not bad for you in small amounts, taking too much could lead to iodine poisoning and leave you feeling unwell.15
Stick to the recommended serving size and use moderation when adding this superfood to your diet – just to be on the safe side.
There are plenty of ways to add sea moss to your diet as it comes in so many forms, from powder to whole. One of the most popular forms nowadays is sea moss gel. Sea moss gel is derived from sea moss and is sometimes used as a thickening or stabilising agent in food, medicine, and cosmetics. Sea moss gel benefits from all the same great properties as sea moss, as it's high in minerals like iodine and potassium.16
It has a mild flavour, which makes it a versatile ingredient in your cupboard. You could try adding sea moss to smoothies, shakes, soups, stews, jams, spreads, cakes, baked goods or even ice cream.17
Check out our guide on how to add sea moss to your diet for more inspiration!
Like with all supplements and superfoods, don’t expect a miracle from one ingredient. Try your best to keep to a healthy and balanced lifestyle, adding supplements depending on your unique nutritional needs.
Sea moss is a great source of various vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that may benefit overall health. However, its nutritional structure can fluctuate, and by consuming it in large amounts, you may ingest high levels of iodine or heavy metals, which can be harmful.18
Overall, scientists need to do more research on the health effects of sea moss on humans to determine its value in consumer health products.18
Sea moss is a spiky sea vegetable, that's a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that may benefit overall health.
However, it has varying nutritional properties, and when using it in significant amounts, you may consume high levels of iodine or heavy metals. Generally, more research is needed into the claimed health benefits of sea moss in humans, but early effects are promising in studies into similar types of seaweed and algae.
In this friendly and open chat, the Happy Pear Twins, Stephen and David Flynn, talk to Gemma about their journey running a plant-based business and what they’ve learnt along the way. Plus they share:
Last updated: 26 April 2023
Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.
After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.