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Trending in wellness: Why is sea moss so popular right now?

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Written byLiz Connor

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Reviewed byHeeral Patel

Sea moss products on background
Seeing sea moss everywhere? You’re not alone. Wellness journalist Liz Connor goes beyond the buzz and finds out whether it deserves a place in your routine.

Summary

1What is sea moss and why is it trending?

You've probably come across viral videos of fans raving about the alleged benefits, claiming eating sea moss may help with...

2How can I bring sea moss into my daily routine?

“The most common way to consume sea moss is to buy it in its dried form and blend it into smoothies,” said Alex. If you want to make...

3Are there any side effects to know about?

As sea moss is rich in iodine, an excessive intake can lead to thyroid dysfunction, especially in people with pre-existing thyroid conditions.

With celebrities like Bella Hadid, Winnie Harlow, and Hailey Bieber reported to be big fans, sea moss is certainly making a splash in wellness right now.

If the name conjures up visions of slimy green weeds tickling your feet on beach holidays, you’re not totally wrong. Sea moss is a type of algae mostly found on the Atlantic shores of North America, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands.

But these days you’re more likely to encounter it on your TikTok feed, where many are hailing it as a next-gen “superfood”.

So, what exactly is it and why is it suddenly everywhere? More importantly, should it be part of your diet?
sea moss and cream in a tray
It may be trending now, but humans have used sea moss long before social media. It’s also largely known as carrageenan, a thickening agent used in everyday products like ice cream and jelly.1

Sea moss’ history includes the Irish Potato Famine of the 1800s, where seaweed was used to combat nutritional deficiencies. It continues to occupy a special place in Caribbean culture too.

Here are some hot topics...

Sea moss and the microbiome

In recent years, there’s been a big shift in how we think about our microbiome, with emerging research finding a link between the complex tangle of microbes in our guts and nearly every function of the human body.7

A 2015 study, published in BMC journal, suggests that sea moss may have a prebiotic effect on our gut.8 Further conclusive studies need to be carried out on humans, but if you’re growing tired of your usual gut-friendly fridge fillers like kefir and kimchi, you might want to switch to sea moss for a fun new alternative.

Sea moss and bones

Alex also points to sea moss’s potential benefits for bone wellness, which may be beneficial for women going through perimenopause.

The reason for this is that perimenopause is known to cause major fluctuations in the female sex hormone oestrogen, which can trigger bone issues.6

“Sea moss is a very rich source of essential trace minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium,”7 says Alex.

These minerals are crucial for maintaining bone density, so adding a dose into your morning routine might help to ward off potential wellness issues during this transitional life stage.7

While there’s promising indirect evidence supporting the potential benefits of sea moss for managing perimenopausal symptoms, more direct research is needed to confirm these effects. 

Alex added that sea moss is also a source of iodine, which supports normal thyroid function and thyroid hormone production.8

Sea moss and other issues

As for the other so-called benefits shared on social media such as “clearing hormonal breakouts, boosting energy levels, and easing digestive issues”… the jury is out when it comes to scientific evidence for this. But, with the nutritious and unique qualities, it may still have other benefits.
glass jar of sea moss
“The most common way to consume sea moss is to buy it in its dried form and blend it into smoothies,” said Alex. If you want to make like the A-list set, he adds that you can mix sea moss gel with water to create a puree (eat just one spoonful per day).

Though the taste is mild, not everyone fancies a spoonful of moss in the morning. Tablets and gummies are a super-convenient alternative if you'd prefer to get your sea moss that way.

The final say

Sea moss might sound like just another quirky TikTok health fad, but as our nutrition team explains, this unassuming algae has a surprisingly mighty nutrient profile to back up the benefits.

From adding it to your diet to potentially supporting your wellness, there may be a lot to be gained from adding a dose of ocean plants into our morning routines. Want to know more? Discover the most Googled questions on sea moss.

Sources

1. International Food Additives Council (IFAC). Irish Moss: The History of Carrageenan’s Roots [Internet]. IFAC [cited 2024 Jun 6]. Available from: https://www.foodingredientfacts.org/irish-moss-the-history-of-carrageenans-roots/
2. European Commission. Characteristics [Internet]. European Commission [cited 2024 Jun 6]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/food-feed-portal/screen/health-claims/eu-register/details/POL-HC-6385
3. 6. Bauer S, Jin W, Zhang F, Linhardt RJ. The Application of Seaweed Polysaccharides and Their Derived Products with Potential for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Marine Drugs. 2021 Feb 4;19(2):89.
4. Hills RD, Pontefract BA, Mishcon HR, Black CA, Sutton SC, Theberge CR. Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):1613. Available from: Hills RD, Pontefract BA, Mishcon HR, Black CA, Sutton SC, Theberge CR. Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):1613. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6682904/
5. 8. 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 Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015 Aug 14;15(1).
6. NHS. Menopause: A healthy lifestyle guide [Internet]. NHS [2021 Oct 11; cited 2024 Jun 6]. Available from: https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/patient-information/menopause-a-healthy-lifestyle-guide/
7. Cherry P, Yadav S, Strain CR, Allsopp PJ, Mcsorley EM, Ross RP, et al. Prebiotics from seaweeds: An ocean of opportunity? Marine Drugs [Internet]. 2019;17(6). Available from: https://www.mendeley.com/catalogue/f919dcef-7ad3-3218-a4fe-23ab27403869/
8. European Commission. Characteristics [Internet]. European Commission [cited 2024 Jun 6]. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/food/food-feed-portal/screen/health-claims/eu-register/details/POL-HC-6389
9. Farebrother J, Zimmermann MB, Andersson M. Excess iodine intake: sources, assessment, and effects on thyroid function. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2019 Mar 20;1446(1). 
11. Collén J, Cornish ML, Craigie J, Ficko-Blean E, Hervé C, Krueger-Hadfield SA, Leblanc C, Michel G, Potin P, Tonon T, Boyen C. Chapter Three – Chondrus crispus – A Present and Historical Model Organism for Red Seaweeds. Advances in Botanical Research [Internet]. 2014 May 27 [cited 2024 Jun 10] 71: 53-89. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780124080621000032
 

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