Looking for a nutrient-loaded, whole food supplement? Well you can go kick rocks.
Because if you happen to be kicking rocks off the Atlantic coast, you may find some sea moss — a nutrient-rich algae with the scientific name Chondrus crispus. The most common type is Irish moss, which can be found anywhere from Ireland to Canada to Jamaica. No blarney here!
Sea moss is a widely used dietary supplement that provides several vitamins and minerals, with the flavor of concentrated ocean. Irish moss in particular is widely harvested to use as a thickener in all kinds of foods and drinks.
Here’s what you need to know so that you, too, can become a moss boss.
Here’s a little sneak preview of what you’ll get from a heaping kelping — er, helping — of sea moss:
|Nutrient||Amount in 2 tbsp (10 grams) of sea moss|
|folate||18.2 micrograms (5% of the Daily Value)|
|iron||0.89 milligrams (5% of the DV)|
|riboflavin||0.047 mg (4% of the DV)|
|magnesium||14.4 mg (3% of the DV)|
|zinc||0.195 mg (2% of the DV)|
|copper||0.015 mg (2% of the DV)|
All that, and trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals, for just 5 calories. Not too bad, eh?
It’s also a rich source of the mineral iodine, with researchers estimating that it contains about 47 milligrams of iodine per gram.
Sea moss is mostly touted as a vitamin and mineral supplement, and — in fact — research into other potential benefits is sorely lacking.
However, there are TONS of claims about what sea moss can do for your health. Here are some of the most prevalent claims, along with any available evidence to support them (but, TBH, some of them are a bit out there):
- Boosts thyroid health. Your thyroid needs iodine to function correctly, and sea moss is a rich source. But is there evidence that eating sea moss can improve thyroid function? That’s a negative, Coast Rider.
- Strengthens the immune system. Carrageenan, the isolated polysaccharide (long chain of sugar) from sea moss that’s used as a food additive, may provide some immune-strengthening and anticancer benefits, but this hasn’t been noted in humans.
- Makes your skin glowy. Although there’s not any research to support it, sea moss superfans claim that it’s done wonders for their skin.
- Gives you more energy. If you’re feeling fatigued, one reason may be iron deficiency — and sea moss is a great way to get some more iron in your diet, especially if you’re vegan or following a plant-based diet.
- Improves fertility. Sea moss has a long history of use as a fertility booster in traditional and herbal medicine, but there’s not yet any scientific evidence to support this use. It could give “sex on the beach” a whole new (salty) meaning tho.
Irish moss is also used to make carrageenan, a common food additive that helps to thicken dairy products, plant-based dairy alts, and low fat processed meats like turkey bacon.
If you’re going hard on the sea moss, you can actually get too much iodine — which can cause some nasty side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases, coma.
While iodine toxicity is rare, one study noted that to get the iodine necessary to exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), you’d have to eat 286 grams of sea moss in one day.
That’s about 2/3 of a pound, and while it sounds like absolute torture — we guess it could be done?
But unless you’re a vegan sea monster, there’s probably no reason to eat 2/3 of a pound of sea moss daily.
Our best advice is to get your 1 serving a day, and then lay off the moss.
Most sea moss is sold in one of three forms: gel, capsule, or dried.
The gel and capsule forms are ready to go if you’re planning to use sea moss as a supplement, and the dried is ready to go if you plan to use it on salad or add it to soups.
However, you can also make gel from the dried sea moss if you want to. Here’s how:
- Rinse your sea moss and then soak it in water for about 24 hours.
- Pour off the excess water.
- Blend the sea moss in a blender with a small amount of water until smooth. Add more water to achieve your desired consistency, but be aware that it will thicken as it sits.
You can refrigerate the concoction for up to 5 days, so there’s no need to make a huge batch at once. The gel makes an excellent smoothie addition, and you can also stir it into soups.
There’s also a popular Jamaican sea moss drink that’s rumored to help out between the sheets (heh). It’s usually made from Irish moss, milk, sugar, and spices, and you can find tons of recipes (including dairy-free and vegan versions) online.
If making your own gel doesn’t sound appealing, here are some supplements you can try. Just note you should always check with your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet!
Gel: EverSmith Organics Organic Sea Moss Gel
This organic sea moss gel is here for all of your smoothie (or sipping needs). It comes in several different flavors and contains a bit of added sugar from fruit juices, honey, agave, or cane sugar — so you can eat it right off the spoon.
Capsule: Oculus Organics Just Sea Moss Capsules
If you’re not crazy about the taste of sea moss (even when disguised), then a capsule is your best bet. This organic option provides a hefty dose of Irish moss powder in two capsules — and they don’t taste like you licked the side of a fishing boat, either.
You can also buy sea moss powders, but the ones we looked into that were 100 percent sea moss also had some really concerning reviews that left us pretty sus.
Additionally, in powder and capsule form, sea moss is often coupled with herbs called bladderwrack and burdock root. This combination reportedly helps with overall wellness, but there’s really not a lot of evidence to support it.
Sea moss is a type of algae that grows on rocks on the Atlantic coasts — both sides of the pond.
It’s got several different vitamins and minerals — notably iron and folate. There’s also some evidence to suggest that it may help boost immune health and promote proper thyroid function, but overall the evidence for any uses for sea moss except as a nutrient supplement are pretty sparse.
If you’re wanting to incorporate the mosstest with the mostest in your routine, you can either make your own sea moss gel from dried sea moss, or buy a supplement that’s ready to use as is.