Sea moss is commonly harvested in New England to extract carrageenan, a gelatinous carbohydrate used in baked goods and cosmetics. However, sea moss can also be eaten alone and is often used to thicken soups and stews. Sea moss, or Irish moss, is a type of seaweed that people can add to food or take as a nutritional supplement. It's naturally rich in minerals and vitamins, and may benefit the immune system, thyroid function, and hair and skin health.
Research published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies points out that sea moss is rich in dietary fiber and oligosaccharides such as carrageenan. If people have an existing thyroid problem, they should check with their healthcare provider before taking it because of the iodine content in sea moss. Sea moss grows naturally in waters and tidal pools along rocky coastlines, such as the northern shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food points out that sea moss contains around 47 mg of iodine per gram.
Factors such as the growing region, the temperature and the minerals in the water can affect nutrient levels in sea moss. The research found that people who received certain types of sea moss reduced levels of fatigue, exhaustion and pain. Sea moss may have prebiotic effects that could play a role in improving the health of the gut microbiome. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, taking 4 to 8 grams of sea moss a day does not pose a health risk.
Common sea moss is a red algae, although it can also grow in different colors, depending on factors such as the local climate and water temperature. Always keep in mind the amount of sea moss you consume daily and keep the recommended amount to 1 to 2 tablespoons or 4 to 8 grams. Some people who eat large amounts of sea moss or other algae that are very rich in iodine may consume too much iodine in their diet. Some anecdotally claim that taking sea moss regularly improves the appearance of your skin and hair.
It is best to use the water in which the sea moss was soaked, since it contains a large amount of nutrients, but you can always use fresh, purified water to make the gel. The effects of weight loss can vary depending on each type of seaweed, and much of the research focuses on isolated compounds, rather than on the effects of marine moss in general.