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6 Potential Benefits Of Sea Moss (Plus, Sea Veggies With More Science Behind Them)

Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD
Author: Expert reviewer:
June 15, 2023
Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD
Registered dietitian
By Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD
Registered dietitian
Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and writer based in San Francisco. She holds a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and an undergraduate degree in Dietetics.
Lauren Torrisi-Gorra, M.S., RD
Expert review by
Lauren Torrisi-Gorra, M.S., RD
Registered Dietitian
Lauren Torrisi-Gorra, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, chef, and writer with a love of science and passion for helping people create life-long healthy habits. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University, a Grand Diplôme in Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute, and master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University.
June 15, 2023
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Nestled along the rocky shores of the North Atlantic, sea moss is a type of red algae rich in vitamins and minerals. Although this unique ingredient only recently emerged as a TikTok trend and beauty hack, it has long been revered for its medicinal properties.

Read on for the top sea moss benefits currently being studied, plus a closer look at some other types of seaweed worth trying.

What is sea moss?

Sea moss is a type of red algae found naturally in the shores of the North Atlantic. Also known as red seaweed, Irish moss, or Chondrus crispus, sea moss is often harvested and used to extract carrageenan, an ingredient that acts as a thickener, stabilizer, and binder in products like almond milk, ice cream, deli meats, and more.

Sea moss has recently experienced a surge in popularity and has even been hailed as a superfood for skin and gut health on TikTok and across social media. However, it's actually been around for quite a while. In fact, it's been used as a natural remedy for everything from diarrhea to dysentery for thousands of years and was also added to herbal teas to help combat colds1. Interestingly, sea moss was even added to milk and used to prevent nutritional deficiencies in Ireland during the potato famine2 of the 1800s.

Sea moss has a mild flavor that's often described as earthy and slightly salty. When it's enjoyed fresh, it has a soft, gel-like texture, whereas dried sea moss offers a slight crunch. However, it's not often eaten on its own and is usually paired with other ingredients to help tone down the taste.


Sea moss is a nutritious red algae that's long been used to fight colds and prevent deficiencies. It recently had a resurgence (thanks in part to TikTok), and people are now using it as a secret weapon for skin health and gut health.

How do you use it?

Sea moss is typically available in gel, flake, or powder form. While many people on social media opt to consume a spoonful of plain sea moss in the morning to reap its benefits, the seaweed can easily be added to smoothies, sauces, and desserts to help mask the flavor.

It can be consumed as a supplement in the form of gummies or capsules too, but you'll want to be careful about sourcing your vegetable supplements. (Read mindbodygreen's best practices for this here.) You can also find sea moss in many skin care products, such as serums, creams, and moisturizers.

Despite its newfound popularity, you're unlikely to find sea moss sitting on the shelf at your local supermarket. Instead, your best bet is to check online or purchase it at a specialty store that offers herbal products or other types of edible seaweed.

Sea moss nutrition

Though sea moss is usually consumed in small amounts (about a spoonful), each serving can boost your intake of several essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, just 2 tablespoons of raw sea moss provide the following nutrients3:

  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: 0.02 gram
  • Sodium: 6.7 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 1.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.1 gram
  • Protein: 0.2 gram
  • Iron: 0.9 milligram
  • Folate: 18.2 micrograms
  • Riboflavin: 0.05 milligram
  • Magnesium: 14.4 milligrams

Sea moss is especially rich in iron, an important micronutrient needed for neurological development4 and the production of healthy red blood cells. It also contains B vitamins like folate and riboflavin, which play a key role in energy metabolism5. Plus, it's rich in iodine6, a mineral that helps regulate thyroid health7.

Health benefits of sea moss

While there's not much research on sea moss itself, many of the nutrients and compounds it contains bring some promising health perks to the table. Below are some of the top potential sea moss benefits. Note that much of this research has been conducted on animals, so more studies are needed before we can be sure these benefits stand up in humans:


It may help keep your skin glowing.

"Sea moss is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin," says Ife J. Rodney, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics. "These vitamins and minerals are anti-inflammatory, help balance oil, and may moisturize the skin."

According to Rodney, sea moss also contains sulfur, which can help reduce sebum production to clear out clogged pores8. "It may also support collagen production9, which is crucial for maintaining skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," Rodney tells mindbodygreen.

While there are not a lot of studies on the effects of sea moss on skin health specifically, some research suggests that its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties could alleviate acne10. What's more, science shows that the carrageenan found in sea moss could also act as an antioxidant and protect against sun damage11.


It may promote gut health.

Eating sea moss can be a way to add some extra fiber to your diet, according to clinical nutritionist Barbara Sobel, M.S., CNS, LDN. "Fiber is the part of the plant protein that we don't digest but that the bacteria in our gut metabolizes into short-chain fatty acids and uses for fuel," says Sobel. She also explains that fiber also contributes to the health of the gut microbiome, a complex ecosystem comprised of trillions of microorganisms in the digestive tract.

One animal study found that sea moss could act as a prebiotic to improve gut health12 and enhance the composition of the gut microbiome in rats. Other research suggests that certain compounds in seaweed could increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut13, which could potentially aid in the prevention and treatment of disease. Still, more studies are needed on humans.


It may support immunity.

Sobel points out that the gut-boosting benefits of sea moss could also be beneficial for immune health since gut health plays a key role in regulating immunity14. (In fact, it's estimated that up to 80% of the body's immune cells15 are housed in the gut.)

Once again, research in humans is lacking. However, a 2018 animal study showed that sea moss could stimulate immune activity16 in mussels. Another animal study found that sea moss extract was able to reduce the growth of Salmonella enteritidis (a strain of harmful bacteria) while also increasing the immune response17 in roundworms.


It might aid weight loss.

Because the body doesn't have the enzymes required to metabolize carrageenan18, it's not digested and is instead considered a type of fiber. Increasing your intake of fiber could promote weight loss19 by slowing the emptying of the stomach, increasing feelings of fullness between meals.

While there are no studies specifically on sea moss for weight loss, some research in animals has found that seaweed could help curb weight gain20 by preventing the production of fat cells. This may be due in part to the presence of fucoxanthin, a compound found in seaweed that's been shown to have anti-obesity properties21.


It may improve heart health.

Thanks to its content of fiber and antioxidants, adding seaweed to your diet could help keep your heart healthy and strong. In fact, a recent study found that increased intake of seaweed, in general, could be linked to a reduced risk of stroke22 in men. Similarly, a 2019 study reported that higher seaweed intake was associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease23.

Another study found that supplementing with carrageenan (a compound in sea moss) could decrease cholesterol levels24 by 16.5% and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by 33.5%, which could help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Still, more research is needed to evaluate the effects of sea moss on heart health.


It may help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Some research suggests that seaweed could help keep blood sugar levels in check. It's believed that certain nutrients found in seaweed could help slow sugar absorption25 and delay the emptying of the stomach to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels after you eat. Researchers have also theorized that seaweed extract could block certain enzymes26 involved in carbohydrate digestion and protect against high blood sugar caused by oxidative stress.

Still, there haven't been any studies evaluating the effects of sea moss specifically. Additionally, other studies show that eliminating carrageenan—an ingredient derived from sea moss—could actually improve insulin sensitivity27 and blood sugar control in people with prediabetes. Therefore, more studies are needed.


While sea moss shows promise for improving gut health, heart health, skin appearance, and more, the research on it is preliminary and mostly conducted on animals. For this reason, if you're going to introduce a sea veggie to your routine, we recommend opting for one that has more research behind it, like the options below.

Other types of seaweed that have been more rigorously studied

Beyond sea moss, there are over 12,000 species of seaweed2 out there, each of which offers a unique assortment of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This includes a variety of sea vegetables, such as chlorella, wakame, algae, and more. Here are a few of the top varieties with research-backed benefits:



"[Kelp] can help hydrate the skin, improve its elasticity, and provide a soothing effect," Rodney tells mindbodygreen. Sobel explains that certain types of kelp, such as kombu, can also help break down the sugars in beans that can cause gas and bloating. "It usually comes in long strips and can be added to soups or beans as they cook and either chopped up and eaten or thrown away," says Sobel.

Try it in: If you're craving a hearty winter meal featuring this superstar seaweed, check out our Tuscan White Bean + Kale Soup.



Spirulina is a vibrant variety of algae that has been well studied for its potential health benefits. "Spirulina is often considered a superfood because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, blood-pressure-lowering28, blood-sugar-balancing, and lipid-lowering effects," says Sobel. According to Rodney, it's also rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which can help soothe the skin and protect against daily environmental damage.

Try it in: Spirulina is widely available in powdered form and makes a great addition to smoothies, including this whimsical "Big Cloud Smoothie."



"Nori seaweed is used for sushi rolls and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids29 while being lower in iodine than other seaweeds," notes Sobel. Some research also shows that nori could offer several big benefits for heart health. For example, a 2021 study found that nori could even help lower diastolic blood pressure30 in boys.

Try it in: For a tasty and colorful way to enjoy nori, try whipping up some vegan rainbow sushi rolls.

Side effects of sea moss

"While rich in nutrients, sea moss can pose some potential issues for some people," says Sobel. She explains that its high iodine content could negatively affect thyroid function31 in people with autoimmune thyroid conditions and recommends talking to a doctor before adding sea moss to your routine if you're taking thyroid medications, blood thinners, or medications that increase potassium levels.

Additionally, keep in mind that sea moss can contain arsenic32 and other heavy metals that can be harmful in large amounts. Be sure to opt for responsibly sourced sea moss and avoid edible varieties of seaweed from polluted waters. Stick to 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea moss a day to make sure you don't go overboard (no pun intended) on iodine or heavy metals.

Because there's not a lot of research on its safety, Sobel also notes that it might be best to avoid it if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you're planning to use sea moss skin products, Rodney recommends performing a patch test before applying it all over. "If you experience any redness, itching, or irritation, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist," she advises.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it good to take sea moss every day?

For most healthy adults, sea moss can be enjoyed in moderation as part of your daily diet. However, you might want to limit your intake if you're pregnant or breastfeeding and check in with a doctor if you're taking medications or have any underlying health conditions.

What does sea moss do for females?

Sea moss gel could be a good choice for upping your intake of fiber and other essential nutrients, such as iron and iodine. Applied topically, it may help promote skin health and treat conditions like acne.

What are the side effects of sea moss?

Sea moss may interact with certain medications, so be sure to check in with your doctor before using sea moss supplements, and perform a patch test to prevent skin reactions. "Sea moss may also contain iodine, which can be problematic for people with iodine allergies or thyroid conditions," reiterates Rodney.

The takeaway

Sea moss is a type of red algae rich in a variety of nutrients, including iron, B vitamins, and iodine. Early research has linked it to a long list of potential benefits including promoting gut health, boosting weight loss, and keeping your skin glowing and smooth—but we still could use some more testing in humans before we recommend it wholeheartedly. In the meantime, check out these more science-backed sea vegetables that definitely deserve a spot in your routine.

Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD author page.
Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD
Registered dietitian

Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and writer based in San Francisco. She holds a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and an undergraduate degree in Dietetics.

Rachael works as a freelance writer and editor for several health and wellness publications. She is passionate about sharing evidence-based information on nutrition and health and breaking down complex topics into content that is engaging and easy to understand.

When she's not writing, Rachael enjoys experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, reading, gardening, and spending time with her husband and dogs.

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