Sea Moss Gummies: Ocean’s Bounty For Health And Vitality

  • Areesha SarfrazDoctor of Pharmacy - PharmD, Doctor of Pharmacy, Karachi University

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Introduction

Our unhealthy dietary choices like our dependence on convenience foods, fast foods, and munchables can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies. So, to fulfil our nutritional requirements, we need health supplements. These supplements are packed with nutrients and are easily available at your local pharmacy and supermarkets. 

In this article, we will be discussing the rising popularity of sea moss gummies as a transformational health supplement. We will be looking at its scientifically proven benefits, its uses, and its associated potential risks. 

What is sea moss?

Sea moss is also known as Irish moss or Red moss. Its scientific name is Chondrus crispus and it is a red algae found in coastal areas and deep waters all around the world. It is similar to the more popular sea greens such as kelp, seaweed or nori, kombucha and wakame. 

For centuries, sea moss has been used by coastal communities for its nutritional and medicinal value, and for cultural purposes as well. The most popular commercial use of this frilly algae is by its derivative carrageenan, which is used as a thickening agent in ice creams, lotions, toothpaste and gummies.

Nutrients in sea moss

Sea moss is packed with essential minerals and vitamins. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 10 g or 2 tablespoons of raw red sea moss contains the following nutrients:1

Minerals Quantity in milligrams (mg)
Calcium7.2 mg
Iron0.89 mg
Magnesium 14.4 mg
Phosphorus 15.7 mg
Potassium 6.3 mg
Sodium6.7 mg
Zinc0.195 mg
Copper0.015 mg

It also contains the following essential vitamins: 

VitaminsQuantity in milligrams (mg)
Vitamin C (total ascorbic acid)0.3 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 0.002 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.047 mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin)0.059 mg
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)0.018 mg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)0.007 mg
Folate0.0182 mg

Some sources claim that sea moss contains 92 out of 102 minerals present in the human body. But more research needs to be done in this regard. 

Moreover, 10g or 2 tablespoons of raw sea moss also:

  • Has a high water content of 8.13 g 
  • Provides 4.9 kcal or 20.5 kJ of energy
  • Is enriched with 0.151 g of protein
  • Contains 0.13 g of dietary fibre 
  • Has a 1.23 g of carbohydrates
  • Has a total lipid content of 0.016 g

Thus, this unconventional sea vegetable can be deemed a superfood. In addition to its amazing nutritional value, it is also gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it suitable for consumption of the masses. 

Health benefits of sea moss

Supports thyroid health

Most thyroid problems are due to low levels of iodine as it is an essential component in the functioning of the thyroid gland and related hormones.2 Sea moss has a significant amount of iodine which may account for better thyroid health. It is important to note that brown sea moss contains more iodine than red sea moss. 

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iodine is 150 μg.3 Thus it is important to maintain your iodine levels for optimal thyroid functioning. 

Improves gut health

The prebiotic properties of sea moss are considered beneficial for gut health. The gut microbiota feed on its rich dietary fibre and oligosaccharides such as carrageenan and flourish in a healthy gut environment.4

Although the role of sea moss in improving gut health is still not fully known, by looking at its nutritional value we can conclude that it can contribute to a healthier gut.

Boosts immunity

Almost 70 to 80% of our immune cells are present in our gut. This means a healthy gut is imperative to a healthy immune system. 

Sea moss contains a high content of dietary fibre and is rich in prebiotics, which promote healthy gut microbiota. Gut microbiota is involved in immune balance (homeostasis).5 Therefore, sea moss can help to boost immunity by improving gut health.

Promotes heart health

Compared to terrestrial plants, seaweeds have higher quantities of essential fatty acids. Red sea moss is a rich source of vegetarian DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for promoting heart health. These fatty acids aid heart health by increasing good cholesterol (HDL), reducing bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and sustaining optimal blood pressure.6

For optimal heart benefits, it is recommended to take DHA and EPA, two omega-3 supplements in combination.7

Manages blood sugar

The high fibre content of Irish moss slows down the absorption of sugars into the blood. Thus, it helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels.8

Neuroprotective effects

Sea moss is full of essential antioxidants like ascorbic acid which helps protect against oxidative stress and neurodegenerative diseases. 

According to a study conducted on roundworms, sea moss extract protected the specimens against markers of Parkinson's disease.9 Although there's lack of scientific evidence of this effect in humans, it is a considerable development.

Improves bone health 

Chondrus Crispus has a substantial quantity of calcium, which is crucial for preserving and improving bone and teeth health. Surprisingly, Irish sea moss surpasses milk in its calcium concentration.

Appropriate calcium intake is pivotal for optimal bone mass during growth and sustaining bone density with age.10

Promotes fertility 

There currently isn’t any scientific evidence supporting the role of sea moss in promoting fertility in men and women but there's some anecdotal evidence. 

It has been traditionally used to enhance fertility in men. It is believed to increase testosterone levels and sperm count. It is also believed to increase libido and sexual performance.

Include sea moss gummies into your routine

How are they made?

Sea moss gummies are a delicious way to incorporate extra nutrition into your diet. They can be made in different ways, but the primary ingredient in all methods is sea moss. Added ingredients usually include sweeteners, flavouring agents, glycerol, agar, pectin, and fruit juice. You can make these gummies yourself at home but the store-bought ones are also great. 

Recommended daily allowance of sea moss

The nutritional value of sea moss depends on the habitat it's cultivated. Therefore, there are no specific guidelines on how much sea moss is safe to consume in a day. 

According to a study, 4 g of sea moss is safe to use. However, you should consult your physician before taking any supplements. It is recommended to be cautious in the use of sea moss if you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism as high quantities of iodine in sea moss can mess up thyroid functioning. 

Another important note is that sea moss supplements are not approved by the FDA. There are a lot of misbranding and false claims by some manufacturers so stay cautious. Please remember that supplements can not treat a disease or condition, they can only act as an adjunct to replenish health. 

Potential risks and contraindications 

Some health risks may arise due to the overconsumption of sea moss. These risks are usually associated with the degraded product of carrageenan, called poligeenan. Our bodies can not convert carrageenan into poligeenan but some sea moss inherently contains poligeenan which may cause the following health problems:

  • inflammation in the gut and intestines
  • stomach ulcers
  • bowel and stomach cancer

One of the major drawbacks of sea moss is that it may also cause thyroid problems due to its high iodine content. As per research, Irish sea moss resulted in the Jod-Basedow effect, a rare cause of thyrotoxicosis.11

It is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women due to its high levels of iodine. There is also a risk of heavy metal poisoning associated with sea moss grown near industrial or polluted areas.

Due to these risk factors, you need to consult with a health professional before taking sea moss in any form. 

Summary

  • Sea moss gummies have emerged as a popular health supplement due to its rich nutritional profile 
  • The positive effects of this superfood on the immune system, heart, bones, gut, and brain makes it a valuable supplement to add to your everyday diet
  • Although more research needs to be done to know the full potential of sea moss, it's safe to say that, when consumed in appropriate amounts, it can replenish overall health. It is important to note that overconsumption or consuming these supplements without consulting your physician can have detrimental results. Therefore, always consult your physician before consuming any supplements

References

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA. Seaweed, Irish Moss, Raw. [Internet]. FoodData Central. [updated 1 April 2019; cited 23 May 2024]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168456/nutrients.
  2. Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab . March 2014. [cited 23 May 2024]; 19(1):8–12. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049553/.
  3. Nutritional Institutes of Health. Iodine. [Internet]. [cited 23 May 2024]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/.
  4. Liu J, Kandasamy S, Zhang J, Kirby CW, Karakach T, Hafting J, et al. 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 Complement Altern Med. 2015 [cited 23 May 2024]; 15:279. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4535385/.
  5. Wu H-J, Wu E. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut Microbes. 2012 [cited 23 May 2024]; 3(1):4–14. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/.
  6. Peñalver R, Lorenzo JM, Ros G, Amarowicz R, Pateiro M, Nieto G. Seaweeds as a Functional Ingredient for a Healthy Diet. Mar Drugs. 2020 [cited 23 May 2024]; 18(6):301. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7345263/.
  7. Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012. [cited 23 May 2024]; 3(1):1–7. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2161831322009620?via%3Dihub
  8. Giuntini EB, Sardá FAH, Menezes EW de. The Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibers on Glycemic Response: An Overview and Futures Perspectives. Foods. 2022 [cited 23 May 2024]; 11(23):3934. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9736284/.
  9. Liu J, Banskota AH, Critchley AT, Hafting J, Prithiviraj B. Neuroprotective Effects of the Cultivated Chondrus crispus in a C. elegans Model of Parkinson’s Disease. Marine Drugs . 2015 [cited 23 May 2024]; 13(4):2250–66. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/13/4/2250.
  10. Yao X, Hu J, Kong X, Zhu Z. Association between Dietary Calcium Intake and Bone Mineral Density in Older Adults. Ecol Food Nutr. 2021. [cited 23 May 2024]; 60(1):89–100. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03670244.2020.1801432
  11. Khalifa M, Aftab HB, Kantorovich V. “Fueling the Fire” - Irish Sea-Moss Resulting in Jod-Basedow Phenomenon in a Patient With Grave’s Disease. J Endocr Soc. 2021 [cited 24 May 2024]; 5(Suppl 1):A906. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8090171/pdf/bvab048.1849.pdf .

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Areesha Sarfraz

Doctor of Pharmacy - PharmD, Doctor of Pharmacy, Karachi University

I'm a Pharm-D graduate from University of Karachi. I have several years of experience in creative and health content writing. I've also contributed as an author for a research poster titled "Bisphenol-A as human health risk factor: A quantitative analysis of Bisphenol-A in water and disposable food packaging".

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