Irish Sea Moss: Benefits for the Whole Body

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The superstar supplement you might not have tried.

 

The term “superfood” is sometimes misunderstood. Superfoods can be marketed and sold as a single-handed cure for all of your health ailments. In truth, foods are worthy of being deemed a “superfood” when they are packed with tons of macro and micronutrients gram for gram. For example, the red algae, Irish sea moss, is full of antioxidants and minerals, and contains flavonoids, amino acids, phenols, tannins, chlorophyll, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

 

Amazingly, 92 out of the 102 essential vitamins and minerals needed by the body are found in a single serving of Irish sea moss. If you want to eat an incredibly nutrient-rich diet without consuming bowls and bowls of vegetables, consider Irish sea moss, as a little bit goes a long way for your health! 

 

All sea mosses are types of red seaweed classified as Rhodophytes, one of the largest groups of algae. They’re not related to true mosses, though, which are land plants in the division Bryophyta. This nutritious red algae grows along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America, and is not only full of medicinal benefits for the body, but also for the ecosystem! The way that it’s harvested actually promotes environmental sustainability. 

 

Not many foods on this planet boast the range of health-benefits that Irish sea moss does, so let’s dive deeper! Below are the latest studied health benefits of Irish sea moss.

 

Heart Health

The #1 cause of death for adults in America is conditions surrounding heart health. Finding foods to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes as well as living a less toxic and less stressful lifestyle are important for the long-term health of people in this country. One way to combat the onset of heart-related issues is to consume foods that help with arterial health and blood flow. Irish sea moss is shown to help with blood flow and improve the delivery of oxygen to tissues. The antioxidants also contribute to the protection of blood vessels and tissue cells from free-radical destruction. Similarly, Irish sea moss is a good plant-based source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. A diet that balances omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is connected to a lower risk of heart disease, blood clots, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

 

Energy 

Low energy is often due to a deficiency in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, or iron. Irish sea moss is high in several essential micronutrients and phytonutrients that can improve your physical and mental energy. Iodine, iron, and magnesium in Irish moss oxygenate the blood and can help produce more red blood cells. Red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body, and although they don’t have mitochondria (the only cell in your body that doesn’t) mitochondria in all of the other cells require this oxygen to function and produce ATP- your body’s energy molecule.

 

Gut Health

Did you know that you have mucus in your gut? It is there to help lubricate, filter, and fight bacterial infections or allergens and balance the highly acidic environment in your stomach. Your intestines have a mucosal system that forms a barrier along the digestive tract, protecting and strengthening the gut lining. When your gut mucosa isn’t functioning correctly, it leads to leaky gut, food sensitivities, infections, autoimmune conditions, and digestive disorders. When you are under chronic stress and inflammation or fighting a food allergy, the vagus nerve (gut-brain connection) will trigger the immune system to create excess mucus. This excess mucus leads to uncomfortable conditions like bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. Sea moss has been shown to get rid of the excess mucus. This is due to its omega-3 fatty acids, potassium chloride, and chlorophyll content. These three nutrients help to both decrease mucus production and dissolve enough to remove it from the body.  

 

There are two other gut-friendly benefits to mention when it comes to Irish sea moss. First of all, sea moss is a prebiotic; it is food for the healthy bacteria in your gut. Studies have demonstrated how sea moss, as a prebiotic, increases the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is associated with better immunity, mental wellness, and longevity.

 

Finally, Irish sea moss has been found to have mild laxative effects. So, taking it may be helpful if you are managing inflammatory responses in your gut such as gastritis, indigestion, heartburn or nausea.

 

Skin & Hair Health

One study found that Irish sea moss cream improved skin thickness by 15% and boosted collagen density by 2.4% in under 3 months! This type of moss is also used as an ingredient in treatments for reducing issues involving skin redness and inflammation like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. 

Similarly, sea moss is used in the food and beauty industry in the form of extracted carrageenan. A powerful ingredient, carrageenan holds moisture for soft hair and skin, and also breaks up fat cells (to fight cellulite). It is important to note that many people struggle with ingesting carrageenan when used to thicken and preserve food or drinks. In this processed form, it has been associated with inflammation, food allergies, immune resistance, insulin resistance, digestion issues, and even colon cancer. However, Irish sea moss contains Lambda carrageenan as compared to the processed, extracted carrageenan that has the above listed side effects.

 

Healthy Weight Management

If you struggle with overeating, there are several benefits to note about sea moss and managing your hunger levels. Sea moss is low-calorie, but high in carrageenan, which acts as a soluble fiber and can help keep you feeling fuller longer. The fiber slows digestion and influences the release of fullness hormones that increase satiety and regulate appetite. When taken as a gel, it moves through your body reducing inflammation, removing toxins, and the high mineral content and nutrient density helps reduce cravings. The high iron content in sea moss also allows for easier and more efficient transportation of oxygen throughout the body for metabolic demands and even healthy digestion.

 

Mental Health

A potassium deficiency is linked to struggles with mental wellness, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, moodiness and agitation. Irish sea moss is high in potassium and can be used as a supplement to help improve these conditions. It is also beneficial in maintaining a healthy nervous system as it is an excellent source of two important omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. More and more studies surrounding sea moss are helping people find the root cause of their mental wellness issues. 

Iodine deficiency has been linked to poor fetal brain development and even fetal brain damage. The resulting neuropsychological development issues are largely avoidable by making sure a baby in the womb, infants, and even juveniles get enough iodine through a supplement like Irish sea moss.

 

Lower Inflammation

Several bioactive anti-inflammatory compounds are found in Irish sea moss. These include flavonoids, phenols, tannins, chlorophyll, and omega-3 fatty acids. Reducing inflammation causing free radicals in the body via these specific compounds is linked to reduced chances of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Studies have shown that Irish sea moss extract is not only strong enough to kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, but also human cancer cells.

 

Antioxidant Levels

Although Irish sea moss contains a variety of antioxidants, one powerful antioxidant found in the moss is fucoxanthin. This carotenoid has great potential in the prevention of diseases. Studies are finding that fucoxanthin helps the body respond to insulin more effectively, preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes. It is also being studied for fat-burning benefits and anti-cancer effects.

 

Immune System Boost

With its antioxidant properties and ability to improve gut health alone, consuming Irish sea moss improves your immunity and ability to fight off infections. However, there are more immune-system specific benefits to mention. It improves immune function in three areas: at a cellular level, humoral level, and by regulating gene responses. One of the most interesting immune-related benefits of Irish sea moss is the finding that it increases the count of all blood cell types. It also contains sulfated polysaccharides, which are compounds that have antimicrobial effects. 

 

If you’re experiencing excess mucus and inflammation in your respiratory system, sea moss is effective as a natural treatment to break down this mucus and alleviate congestion in the sinuses and lungs. Three nutrients in sea moss are essential for controlling mucus production. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the production of phlegm, while potassium and chlorophyll are powerful in dissolving and removing it from your body’s airways and nasal passage. It is one of the best natural remedies for a stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, and even asthma. 

 

Not only does Irish sea moss help to soothe and clear out all of that annoying snot, it helps to fight the infection and strengthen your immune system’s response as well. Some of the powerful nutrients in Irish sea moss for your immune system health include iron, magnesium, zinc, amino acids, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

 

Thyroid Function

An essential hormone for proper thyroid function, called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), is stimulated and increased with the intake of Irish sea moss. The moss also contains both selenium and iodine, which are necessary precursors to the release of TSH. Selenium nurtures and protects the thyroid while iodine boosts its productivity. Many people are found to be deficient in selenium, and the combination of these two minerals in the body is required for the thyroid gland to perform its roles in the body. The two iodine compounds T3 & T4, which are essential to thyroid health are naturally occurring in Irish sea moss. 

 

It is important to note that Irish sea moss contains high amounts of iodine, which can be harmful to your health if consumed in excessive amounts. The FDA recommends that adults 19 years of age and older consume no more than 1,100 micrograms of iodine daily.

 

Joint Pain

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this red moss help reduce joint pain from inflammatory conditions. Specifically, the amounts of potassium iodide and potassium bromide in Irish sea moss are the superstar ingredients. Sea moss has about 6.3 mg of potassium in two tablespoons or 1350-3184 mg/100g.  Foods high in potassium are helpful for managing painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.  A 2008 study showed that participants supplementing with 6,000 mg of potassium experienced a 33% reduction in pain. Patience is key here when it comes to noticing relief. Positive results vary from case to case, and can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 months.

 

Dietary Support

Vegetarians and vegans are often found to be deficient in the sulfur-containing amino acid called taurine. Irish sea moss is one of the only plant-based foods that has taurine, and it contains about 6g per 100g, which is typically the maximum recommended amount when supplementing. Even if you’re not adhering to a vegetarian or vegan diet, taurine helps with muscle recovery after a workout, so there are benefits for everyone!

 

In Conclusion: 

Due to the many healing and nourishing benefits of Irish sea moss, it may be worth adding to your daily regimen. It is available for you to consume as a supplement in a powdered form, which I commonly do while traveling. The powdered supplement form is also great for someone with poor absorption. However, I prefer to turn the dehydrated organic Irish sea moss into a gel. The gel can be eaten by the spoonful or added to a cool dish, such as yogurt or a smoothie. 

 

It is important to note that many algae supplements and dried sea moss products are farmed. Pool-grown sea moss is devoid of the nutrients that you get from sea moss harvested along coastlines. Make sure your supplement lists that it was extracted from “wild and raw” sea moss. When it comes to sourcing, there has also been information published about sea moss containing heavy metals or microbes depending on where it comes from. Therefore, if you’re pregnant or immunocompromised, it might be best to avoid consuming the moss. 

 

*LONGEVITY + SEA MOSS SMOOTHIE RECIPE INSPO: Organic spinach, Irish Sea Moss, wild blueberries, raw nut milk, ground hemp seeds, avocado, and vegan pea protein powder

 

RESOURCES:

Heart Health:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19459725/

Gut Health:

Skin & Hair Health: 

Healthy Weight Management: 

Mental Health: 

Lower Inflammation:  

https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/AEM.01927-13 

Antioxidant Levels:

Thyroid Health: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25006699/

Joint Pain: 

Dietary Support:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/13563510/

Heavy Metals & Sea Moss (conclusion):  https://www.insider.com/guides/health/diet-nutrition/sea-moss-benefits 

Other:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7460554/

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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