Sea Moss: Ancient Medicine or Dangerous?

Sea Moss: Ancient Medicine or Dangerous?


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Sea moss is one of the most popular nutritional supplements in the world, and is used by millions of people daily. Many health and wellness influencers claim that sea moss can have life-changing health benefits while others are more skeptical. 

But is sea moss proven in medical studies to have any specific health benefits? Are there any health risks or dangers associated with its use? What’s the best sea moss brand? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of sea moss use?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review clinical studies on sea moss to determine whether it actually has proven health effects.

We’ll also explain if it can be dangerous or cause side effects, share our top sea moss brand recommendation, and highlight real, unsponsored sea moss user reviews.

Does Sea Moss Have Health Benefits?

Sea moss is a general term that is used to refer to a few different species of seaweed. Eucheuma spinosum is the botanical name for the sea moss native to Indonesia, and Chondrus crispus, also called Irish sea moss, is another widely-cultivated variety. Both have been studied in clinical research.

General nutrition is the first research-backed benefit of sea moss consumption. A medical review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the minerals, dietary fibers and phytonutrients in sea moss may contribute to a reduction in disease risk.

Many Americans eat a nutritionally-deficient diet, and all of the different nutrients in sea moss can be effective for preventative health, somewhat like a multivitamin.

Cold and flu prevention is another potential health benefit of sea moss. A 2020 medical review found that sea moss has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects which may help consumers reduce the risk of illness.

Sea moss contains a compound called fucoidan which reduces the body’s production of proinflammatory cytokines and has direct effects against influenza A, hepatitis B and HIV according to the above-linked medical review.

Fertility and libido is what sea moss is frequently used for. While we can’t identify any clinical trials with human trial participants proving this effect, a 2021 animal study found that sperm count increased by over 35% and testosterone levels increased by over 20%.

As we explained in our review of black seed oil, results from animal studies don’t necessarily mean the same results will apply in humans, but the hormone systems of all mammals are similar so this early research is promising. 

Overall, sea moss has the potential to improve human health due to its rich nutritional status. We would consider it a functional food rather than a supplement because it can be consumed whole and no processing is required.

A doctor named Jen Caudle describes some of the health benefits of sea moss in a YouTube video:

But how do real people describe the effects of regular sea moss use? We’ll analyze in the next section.

We Tried Sea Moss for a Month

sea moss UGC

As the author of this article, I wanted to try sea moss myself to share my thoughts on its taste and health effects.

I took this supplement in various formats (mixed into smoothies, mixed into oatmeal, plain with water) over the course of a month.

Sea moss tastes terrible when mixed into water. It makes the water taste like a seaweed smoothie, and I strongly recommend blending this into a smoothie with fruits if you plan to use it daily.

I had good success mixing the sea moss into smoothies with tangy fruits like mango and pineapple, which made it almost tasteless.

I didn't notice any improved energy or specific health effects, I could see myself intermittently adding this to my daily routine as a natural iodine source because I don't use iodized salt much.

One other thing to note about sea moss is that it should be stored in an area with moderate temperatures and low humidity. I often leave air conditioning off when I'm out of the house, and my sea moss clumped somewhat and started to taste a bit worse.

If you have to store your sea moss powder in a room with high ambient temperatures (mine was around 80 degrees or so), this may not be the best supplement for you. 

Can Sea Moss Cause Side Effects?

One of the most frequently-discussed risks of sea moss use is related to iodine overconsumption. Iodine is a trace mineral that can cause thyroid issues when consumed at too high of a quantity. However, we don’t believe this is an issue based on medical research.

medical review published in the Environmental Science and Pollution Research journal examined the risk of iodine intake from two common types of sea moss. The study authors found that there was no health risk at normal intake levels of around 4 grams per day, and at this level the iodine intake would actually be beneficial.

Only at an intake of 286 grams a day of sea moss consumption was there a risk of iodine toxicity, and this dose is far higher than what most consumers would take daily.

meta-study published in the Nutrition Reviews journal examined the risks of sea moss intake and concluded that there were no specific risks beyond potential environmental contamination, which exists for all food products grown outdoors (including rice, oats, etc).

Overall, we do not consider sea moss use likely to cause side effects, but sourcing from quality suppliers is important.

Real, Unsponsored Sea Moss User Reviews

A YouTube creator named “ListedFit” shared his experience on sea moss in a video with over 700,000 views:

A TikTok user named Ebony B explains why she stopped using sea moss due to contamination concerns:

@thesecretlifeofeb Why i stopped taking seamoss.. Also prepping my hair for a hot oil treatment!!! #seamoss #seamossgel #whyistoppedtakingseamoss #naturalhair #hotoiltreatment #type4hair #type4naturalhair #supplements ♬ original sound - Ebony B

Is Sea Moss Gel Better Than Regular Sea Moss?

Sea moss gel is the same product nutritionally as whole sea moss or sea moss powder. It’s just processed differently.

The gel is created by soaking sea moss, blending and cooling it. The consistency and density of the solution changes, making it more “gel-like,” and it can be easier to take in this form.

We recommend that consumers be wary of any companies making claims that sea moss gel is healthier than any other format of sea moss, because it suggests a lack of understanding about this food, and suggests a low-quality brand.

A YouTube channel called “Divas Can Cook” has a video on how to make sea moss gel:

Our Sea Moss Brand Recommendation

Elderwise Organic Sea Moss is our top sea moss product pick. It’s in powder form which makes it easy to add to smoothies or any liquid, and most importantly there are no questionable additive ingredients like flavoring agents or preservatives.

The only ingredient in Elderwise Organic Sea Moss is pure Irish sea moss, and it's lab-tested for heavy metals and contaminants.

Interested consumers can check out Elderwise Organic Sea Moss at this link to the product page on the brand’s official Amazon listing.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Sea moss is a functional food that has promising health benefits based on a review of medical research. It’s been clinically shown to improve general nutrition status, aid with cold and flu prevention and potentially improve fertility and libido. Sea moss is one of the most nutritionally-rich food products we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health.

There are no differences between whole sea moss, sea moss powder or sea moss gel in regard to health effects. These are all different formats of the same food which are processed differently.

While we don’t recommend taking sea moss to treat or prevent any specific health condition, it may be a useful preventative measure to add to your daily routine to boost vitality. We consider it somewhat like a naturally-derived multivitamin.

Sea moss can be contaminated with heavy metals due to environmental pollution which makes sourcing a quality brand an important consideration, but this is no different than any other food grown outdoors. We don’t believe that sea moss is likely to have any specific health risks because we couldn’t find any in clinical studies.

Most online reviews of sea moss are favorable and many users report improved energy levels.