Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Subscribe to the Magazine for free
Subscribe for free to keep reading! If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Is There Evidence Behind Eating Sea Moss?

Medically reviewed by 
Is There Evidence Behind Eating Sea Moss?

Whether it be smoothies, supplements, or skincare, sea moss is a popular ingredient that has gained a lot of attention lately. Throughout history, coastal communities have depended on sea moss for its nutritional and medicinal properties. Today, red algae are causing quite a stir in the wellness industry – but what does the scientific research reveal?

Let’s explore the fascinating world of sea moss as we dig into its nutritional profile, uncover its potential benefits, and examine the scientific evidence supporting this popular superfood.


What is Sea Moss?

Sea moss (also known as Irish moss) is a type of red algae scientifically known as Chondrus crispus. Algae, with their ancient origins, can harness energy from sunlight through photosynthesis, making them vital contributors to aquatic ecosystems. They come in various sizes, from tiny single cells to impressive structures like kelp forests.

Red algae have unique pigments that give them their reddish color and allow them to perform photosynthesis in deeper waters. However, sea moss flourishes in the shallow waters along the rocky Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America, specifically in Ireland, Great Britain, and the eastern United States. 

Throughout history, Irish moss has played a significant role in traditional medicine practices and has been a staple food source in coastal communities. In Ireland, it was commonly employed to address respiratory illnesses like coughs and bronchitis, as well as digestive problems. It was also eaten during periods of food scarcity as a means of survival. In recent years, Irish moss has become increasingly popular as a thickening agent in the food industry, specifically in creating puddings, desserts, and beverages.

Nutritional Profile of Sea Moss

Sea moss has gained attention due to its nutritional profile. It contains several beneficial nutrients:


  • Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are pigments that give the algae its reddish color. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A and has antioxidant properties that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.


  • This is another type of carotenoid that is unique to brown algae. It is also found in smaller amounts in red algae like sea moss. Fucoxanthin has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Vitamins A, C, and E: 

  • Sea moss contains these essential vitamins, all of which have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A supports skin health and immune function, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from oxidative stress, and vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes.


  • Sea moss contains polyphenolic compounds, a group of plant-based antioxidants. These compounds have been studied for their potential anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective effects.


  • This is a protein pigment found in red algae, including sea moss. Phycoerythrin has been studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


  • This mineral, which is important for thyroid function, is hard to find in land foods but has been found to be highly bioavailable in sea moss.

It's important to note that while sea moss does contain these antioxidants, the amounts can vary depending on factors such as the growing environment, harvesting methods, and processing techniques.

Sea Moss Benefits for Men and Women: Examining the Evidence

In general, seaweeds are a nutritious food source with bioactive compounds that have been studied for their anticancer, antiviral, antifungal, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, immunomodulatory, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, UV-protective, and neuroprotective properties.

Immune Support: 

Some studies suggest that sea moss may have immunomodulatory properties, meaning it could help regulate the immune system. However, most of these studies have been conducted in vitro (in a lab setting) or on animals, and more human research is needed to confirm these effects.

Digestive Health: 

Sea moss’s high fiber content has led to claims about its potential to improve digestion. Fiber is known to promote regular bowel movements and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. An animal study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies showed findings that indicated that adding cultivated C. crispus (a type of sea moss) to rats' diets had several prebiotic benefits. 

These benefits include changing the makeup of gut bacteria, improving gut health, and helping to regulate the immune system in the rats. While this is promising research, the specific effects on digestive health have not been extensively studied in humans.

Skin Health: 

Sea moss contains nutrients like sulfur and vitamins A and E, which are important for skin health. Topical use of sea moss has been studied, and some claim that consuming sea moss can improve skin hydration and overall appearance. However, scientific evidence directly linking sea moss consumption to improved skin health is limited.

Thyroid Support: 

One of the most common claims about sea moss is that it can support thyroid function due to its iodine content. Iodine is essential for producing thyroid hormones, and sea moss can easily fulfill the daily requirements for this important mineral. 

The Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR) analyzed the iodine content of Sea Moss and found that 4g would fulfill about 25% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine for children (and a little less than that for the adult RDA).

Weight Loss: 

Some proponents suggest that sea moss can aid in weight loss by reducing appetite and improving metabolism. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support these claims. While sea moss is low in calories and may contribute to feelings of fullness due to its fiber content, more research is needed to determine its specific effects on weight management.

Other studies have shown that various seaweeds, including sea moss, can block processes involved in fat cell formation. However, since these experiments primarily used mouse cells, it's hard to say if the same results would hold true for humans. More research on human cells is necessary to understand how seaweed extracts affect fat cell development.

Cancer Prevention:

There aren't many studies about the direct effects of Fucoxanthin (Fx), a compound found in small amounts in red algae, on human colorectal cancer (CRC). However, some evidence suggests that eating seaweed might be linked to a lower risk of CRC. 

Risk factors for developing CRC include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), genetic factors, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Some studies have shown that eating algae, either whole or as an Fx-rich extract, can help reduce many of these risk factors. But, the exact ways it works are still poorly understood, and more research on humans is needed to confirm the cancer-fighting properties of Fx.

Sea Moss Side Effects and Safety Considerations

While sea moss is generally considered safe for consumption, there are some safety concerns to be aware of. The high iodine content in sea moss can be problematic for individuals with thyroid disorders since overconsumption of iodine can lead to thyroid dysfunction.

Additionally, sea moss can accumulate heavy metals and other contaminants from its growing environment, so it's crucial to source high-quality, contaminant-free products.

Recommendations for Consuming Sea Moss

If you incorporate sea moss into your diet, it's best to do so in moderation as part of a balanced and varied eating plan. Start with small amounts and monitor your body's response. 

Consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have pre-existing thyroid issues or are taking medications that may interact with iodine. When purchasing sea moss products, look for reputable brands prioritizing quality and purity.


Key Takeaways

  • While sea moss has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, the scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. More human studies are needed to conclusively validate the effects of sea moss on immune function, digestion, skin health, thyroid support, and weight loss.
  • Sea moss can be a nutritious addition to a balanced diet, but it should not be relied upon as a standalone solution for health improvement. As with any dietary change, consulting with a healthcare professional and prioritizing overall balanced nutrition is essential.
  • While the potential benefits of sea moss are intriguing, more research is needed to fully understand its impact on human health. 
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Learn More
No items found.

Lab Tests in This Article

No items found.


1. Andersen, S., Noahsen, P., Rex, K. F., Florian-Sørensen, H. C., & Mulvad, G. (2019). Iodine in Edible Seaweed, Its Absorption, Dietary Use, and Relation to Iodine Nutrition in Arctic People. Journal of Medicinal Food, 22(4), 421–426.

2. Blake, Kellie. “Integrative Strategies for Neurodegenerative Disease Management.” Rupa Health, 14 Nov. 2023,

3. Din, N. A. S., Mohd Alayudin, A. S., Sofian-Seng, N.-S., Rahman, H. A., Mohd Razali, N. S., Lim, S. J., & Wan Mustapha, W. A. (2022). Brown Algae as Functional Food Source of Fucoxanthin: A Review. Foods, 11(15), 2235.

4. FoodData Central. (n.d.).

5. Jesumani, V., Du, H., Aslam, M., Pei, P., & Huang, N. (2019). Potential Use of Seaweed Bioactive Compounds in Skincare—A Review. Marine Drugs, 17(12).

6. Khakham, Chil. “Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents for Gut Health: An Evidence-Based Review.” Rupa Health, 16 May 2023,

7. Liu, J., Kandasamy, S., Zhang, J., Kirby, C. W., Karakach, T., Hafting, J., Critchley, A. T., Evans, F., & Prithiviraj, B. (2015). Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 15(1).

8. Lomartire, S., Marques, J. C., & Gonçalves, A. M. M. (2021). An Overview to the Health Benefits of Seaweeds Consumption. Marine Drugs, 19(6), 341.

9. Neibling, Kristin. “Complementary and Integrative Medicine Treatments for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease.” Rupa Health, 26 Apr. 2023,

10. Neibling, Kristin . “What You Need to Know about the Thyroid Iodine Connection.” Rupa Health, 7 Feb. 2023,

11. Ragaa A. Hamouda, R. A. (n.d.). Phycoerythrin - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics.

12. Smyth, P. P. A. (2021). Iodine, Seaweed, and the Thyroid. European Thyroid Journal, 10(2), 101–108.

13. Sweetnich, Jerrica. “How to Make Sure Your Patients Are Getting Enough Vitamin C in Their Diet: Understanding Testing, Rdas, and the Benefits of Supplementation.” Rupa Health, 9 May 2023,

14. Sweetnich, Jerrica. “The Antioxidant Powerhouse: Exploring Testing, Health Benefits, and Sources of Vitamin E.” Rupa Health, 8 May 2023,

15. Sweetnich, Jerrica. “Complementary and Integrative Medicine Approaches to Type 2 Diabetes Management.” Rupa Health, 25 Apr. 2023,

16. Varanasi-Diaz , Swathi . “Innovations in Cardiovascular Pharmacology: The Impact of Novel Anticoagulants on Functional Medicine Practices.” Rupa Health, 6 Mar. 2024, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

17. Weinberg, J. (2023, December 26). The Power of Polyphenols: Functional Medicine’s Antioxidant Superstars. Rupa Health.

Subscribe to the Magazine for free to keep reading!
Subscribe for free to keep reading, If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.