Sea moss, or Irish moss, is a type of sea algae that people can add to food or take as a nutritional supplement. Sea moss is naturally rich in minerals and vitamins, and may have some potential health benefits with regular use.
Sea moss may have the same benefits as other types of sea algae, as they share similar compounds.
However, the current research into sea moss has limitations, and scientists still need further evidence to back any health claims. Those include:
Supporting weight loss
Seaweeds may help support weight loss. In a 12-week studyTrusted Source of 78 adults, those who took 1,000 milligrams of red seaweed extract per day had a significant reduction in total body fat mass and body weight than the placebo group.
Research posted to Marine DrugsTrusted Source also notes that a compound in many seaweeds called fucoxanthin shows promise in helping to break down and metabolize fat.
Weight loss effects may vary with each type of seaweed, and much of the research focuses on isolated compounds, rather than the effects of sea moss generally.
Supporting thyroid health
Diets rich in iodine e may support thyroid health. The thyroid needs this mineral to create and use important hormones in the body. Without enough iodine, the thyroid may not function properly and could cause metabolic issues.
As a natural source of iodine, types of sea algae such as sea moss may help prevent iodine deficiency.
Supporting gut health
Sea moss may have prebiotic effects which could play a role in improving the health of the gut microbiome.
Research posted to BMC Complementary Medicine and TherapiesTrusted Source notes that sea moss is rich in dietary fiber and oligosaccharides such as carrageenan. The sea moss seemed to support gut health by feeding the healthy bacteria in the intestines.
This was an animal study, though. Researchers would need to do further human studies to support these findings.
Supporting immune health
The gut relates to the immune system. A diet rich in prebiotic, fiber-rich foods such as sea moss may help promote a healthy immune system.
Research posted to BMC Complementary Medicine and TherapiesTrusted Sourcefound higher levels of immune antibodies in rats who had eaten sea moss. Further research in humans could help support these findings.
Helping in the fight against cancer
Compounds in some algae may help fight against specific cancers. Research posted to Cancers Trusted Source notes that fucoxanthin, found abundantly in some algae, may help fight against specific markers of colorectal cancer or reduce risk factors.
With this said, the research focused heavily on high concentrations and extracts of fucoxanthin. More research into sea moss itself could show if the same benefits apply.
Having neuroprotective effects
Antioxidant properties in algae may help protect against neurodegenerative disease. Research posted to Cancers Trusted Source found that an extract from sea moss protected against markers of Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers carried out the study on roundworms. Further research in humans would help explore the potential neuroprotective effects of sea moss on humans.
Supporting muscle and energy recovery
Sea moss may play a role in helping the body recover from workouts or help relieve fatigue.
A study in the Asian Journal of Medical Sciences involved 80 adults over the age of 40 with musculoskeletal symptoms. The research found that people given certain types of sea moss had reduced fatigue, exhaustion, and pain levels. This may be due to the high levels of amino acids and total proteins present in the plant.
There is not much formal research to back up the claim that sea moss will promote fertility. Sea moss may make up part of fertility treatment in traditional medicinal systems, and anecdotally some people claim the algae helps their fertility. More formal research is needed to evaluate this claim.
Supporting healthy hair and skin
Some anecdotally claim that taking sea moss regularly improves the look and feel of their skin and hair. Researchers need more evidence to support this claim.