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What is Sea Moss?

What is Sea Moss?

What is Sea Moss

Sea moss is a spiny sea vegetable that’s primarily harvested for use in health supplements and as a thickening ingredient in commercial foods. It’s an edible sea plant similar to other seaweeds, algae, and other familiar leafy sea vegetables like kelp or dulse. Sea moss can also be made into a gel that can be added to foods and beverages.


Different Types of Sea Moss / How Sea Moss Grows

Sea moss is an umbrella term used to describe different species of seaweed (some say it's an algae). It is not exactly a moss but that is the term it commonly goes by.

There are thousands of species of sea mosses in the ocean. However, there are two main ones that are currently popular today; Genus Gracilaria and Chondrus Crispus. 

Genus Gracilaria 

Genus Gracilaria grows in warmer waters, most popular Jamaica and St. Lucia (it's not exclusive to these areas but these are the areas you often hear this species being sold from). Genus Gracilaria has a fingered relatively thin string like look to it. The color is typically a yellow golden color however this can vary to be purple as well.

Chondrus Crispus

Chondrus Crispus grows in cooler waters and is also called Irish Moss. It's called Irish Moss mostly because it grows on the coast of Ireland and was one of the seaweeds consumed during the Irish Potato Famine in the 1800s. 

Chondrus Crispus has flat fan-like wide shape tops that look like leaves. The color is typically dark purple however this can vary to be yellow or green as well.

The color does not denote the species. Sea moss grows in a number of colors, such as various shades of green, yellow, purple, red, brown, and black. Genus Gracilaria and Chondrus Crispus can grow on both rocks and ropes.

Benefits of Sea Moss / Why Sea moss Is Good For The Body / What Is Sea Moss Good For

A 4-tablespoon (20-gram) serving of raw Irish sea moss provides the following:

Calories: 10

Protein: 0.5 grams

Total fat: 0 grams

Total carbs: 3 grams

Fiber: 0.5 grams

Total sugar: 0 grams

Calcium: 1% of the Daily Value (DV)

Iron: 10% of the DV

Magnesium: 7% of the DV

Phosphorus: 2% of the DV

Zinc: 4% of the DV

Copper: 3% of the DV

Sea moss is a source of a variety of vitamins and minerals . They’re naturally low in calories, fat, and sugar, and they contain a small amount of plant protein. Additionally, seaweeds like sea moss are full of antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect your cells from disease-causing oxidative damage.

Some of the main potential benefits of using sea moss may include:

May support thyroid health. Seaweeds are rich in iodine, a micronutrient necessary for healthy thyroid function.

May improve gut health. Seaweeds are a good source of live bacteria and fiber, which both support a healthy gut microbiome

May help support weight loss. Seaweeds and microalgae are rich in fiber that can help you feel full and prevent overeating. Studies have shown that a compound in seaweed called fucoxanthin promoted fat metabolism in rats

May promote heart health. Some studies have found that seaweed reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and acts as a blood thinner, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease 

May improve blood sugar management. One study found that the compound fucoxanthin in seaweed reduced high blood sugar. Another study found that a compound in seaweed called alginate prevented blood sugar spikes in pigs

Anecdotal benefits for fertility. There’s no scientific evidence that sea moss specifically promotes fertility in men or women. However, some people use it as a traditional fertility treatment. Scientists need to investigate this further.

How to Take Sea Moss

You can prepare sea moss in a number of ways.

Many health food stores and online retailers sell sea moss in its raw, dried form. This can be used to prepare a gel, one of the most popular ways to consume sea moss. The gel can be consumed directly or added to foods like yogurt or oatmeal and beverages such as smoothies or juices. Sea moss can also be made into a powder.

When Does Sea Moss Go Bad

The shelf life of sea moss depends on the form you purchased it in.

While scientific evidence is lacking, many sea moss advocates say that prepared sea moss gel should last a few weeks in the fridge, or you can freeze it. However, it’s probably best to practice caution and only keep it for 5-7 days to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.


There are more studies on the health benefits of seaweed and algae than on sea moss itself. Still, the benefits described can also apply to sea moss because they grow in similar environments. 

As with seaweed much of the nutritional value and fatty acid contents of sea vegetables depend on the environment in which they grow, making it difficult to know exactly what it contains and in what amounts. 

Like other sea vegetables, sea moss is also a naturally good source of iodine, a micronutrient necessary for thyroid health. Current research has found that sea moss does not contain toxic levels of iodine or heavy metals. However since its nutritional composition can vary, and by consuming it in large amounts, you may consume high levels of iodine or heavy metals. 

Overall, scientists need to do more research on the health effects of sea moss in humans to determine its efficacy in consumer health products. Still, some of the benefits appear promising based on seaweed and sea algae studies.