You may have tried seaweed in your local sushi joint, but have you tried sea moss? Sure, it doesn’t sound like the most appetizing thing to eat… but sea moss gel has a surprising amount of potential health benefits! That being said, there are some important potential side effects that you should be aware of. If you’ve been contemplating trying sea moss, make sure you read this article first.
Keep reading to learn more about this vegan and gluten-free superfood!
Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning In On Around will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me maintain the site. As always, I value full transparency & only work with brands I love and trust.
What Is Sea Moss Gel?
Have you ever heard of sea moss? It’s also called Irish moss or Chondrus crispus! Sea moss sourced from tropical locations may be called Irish moss, but it’s technically not Chondrus, it’s a similar species. Despite its name, it’s not actually moss. It’s a type of seaweed that grows on the rocky Atlantic coastlines of North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. People have been using it for centuries in traditional medicine and as a food source.
Sea moss is nothing new – it’s been used for thousands of years!
Recently, sea moss has become really popular on social media as a superfood… you can thank the Kardashians and Hailey Bieber (with her Erewhon smoothie) for that! But it’s been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and the Caribbean to treat certain ailments. It was also, apparently, used as a food source during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.
You can find it in smoothies, use it to thicken soups and stews, or even as a vegan replacement for gelatin. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals but looks like goopy slime ranging from a pale yellow/green or red color. Some people say it has an oceany-smell (… because it’s from the ocean) and can taste fishy.
Sea Moss Vs. Seaweed – What’s The Difference?
While sea moss and seaweed are both types of marine algae, they have distinct differences.
Appearance: To start, sea moss has a fan-like shape and is usually made into a gel-like substance. Seaweed, on the other hand, is the broad overarching term that refers to a bunch of different types of marine algae. Seaweed can be either red, green, or brown, and is commonly nori, dulse, or kelp. Kelp is a type of seaweed, but it’s different than sea moss. True kelp is brown seaweed, also known as Phaeophytes.
Nutrition & Culinary Use: Nutritionally, sea moss, and seaweed are very similar, though seaweed is commonly used in certain dishes like miso soup, sushi, and salad.
So don’t be confused… sea moss is a type of seaweed!
How Do You Use Sea Moss?
Sea moss can be used in a number of different ways! It’s commonly used in food or drinks, like smoothies, desserts, soups, stews, fruit juice, and coconut milk as a natural thickener. It’s also used in some skincare products like body scrubs and face masks. Some people even use it as a hair mask to moisturize the scalp and promote hair growth (since it’s rich in Vitamin E).
It’s essential to ensure that sea moss is handled and washed thoroughly to remove any debris. It should be soaked for several hours in clean, filtered water (like reverse osmosis water – linked below) so it can soften and expand. It’s best to wash it twice to ensure it’s thoroughly clean. Once it’s finished soaking, rinse it and blend it with a small amount of filtered water to create a gel, which should be stored in the fridge.
Is Sea Moss Good For You?
Sea moss is packed with vitamins and minerals. Here are some of the potential health benefits;
- Rich in vitamins, like:
- Iodine – essential for thyroid health
- Potassium – needed for muscle contraction and blood pressure control
- Vitamins A, B2, C, K and E – key for immune system function, skin health, anti-inflammatory effects, and more.
- Full of minerals – sea moss contains over 92 of the body’s 102 essential minerals
- Rich in protein and amino acids
- High in antioxidants – this is essential to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress
- Rich in soluble pre-biotic fiber – promotes digestive health and prevents constipation
- Probiotic effect – helps to feed the good gut bacteria for a well-balanced microbiome
- Low in calories
One In On Around community member said that she’s “been taking sea moss for 3 years and all her gut issues are gone!” She reported that she also had a dairy sensitivity that also went away. Some other people report that it’s helped them on their weight loss journey.
A study performed on worms showed that sea moss may be able to reduce stiffness and be neuroprotective, like for those with Parkinson’s Disease.  Of course, way more research is needed to confirm if this is true. It may also enhance immune function to certain infections, prevent cancer, and decrease fatigue. [2, 3, 4]
A 2021 study also showed that red seaweed is potentially linked to enhanced testicular function or fertility in rats.  A 2020 study showed that 4 grams a day of seaweed do not pose a health risk to the average person.  It may also help with blood sugar regulation, especially for those with diabetes. 
According to some sources, sea moss contains over 92 of the 102 essential minerals needed by the human body.
Keep This In Mind…
There haven’t been any clinical trials to study the effects of sea moss in humans, so take that with a grain of salt. Seaweed, on the other hand, has been studied extensively and is used regularly in many cultures worldwide, and some studies show that seaweed in general can strengthen the immune system. 
Who Should Avoid Sea Moss?
While sea moss can be a health-promoting food for many people, some people should avoid it. Let’s discuss some of the potential side effects and what you should be aware of.
- If you have a thyroid condition (like hyperthyroidism), too much iodine from sea moss can make your condition worse.
- If you’re currently taking iodine supplements, make sure you consult with your doctor before trying sea moss. Consuming it ONLY in moderation is essential, especially if you already eat a lot of seaweed.
- Those who are on blood-thinning medication (like Warfarin) should use caution, since too much Vitamin K can impact blood clotting and interfere with your medicine’s effectiveness.
- Of course, if you’re allergic to seaweed, shellfish, or seafood, steer clear of sea moss. We don’t want you to have an anaphylactic response!
You CAN overdose on sea moss – don’t overdo it.
- Some people experience gastrointestinal/digestive issues, maybe because of the carrageenan content. If you experience bloating, gas, or diarrhea, stop taking sea moss immediately.
- Since sea moss can contain heavy metals, if you’re already struggling with a high heavy metal load, skip it.
- Additionally, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to err on the side of caution since there’s limited research surrounding sea moss and pregnancy. Always speak with your doctor or OBGYN before incorporating any new foods, even if they’re considered “superfoods.”
Does Sea Moss Contain Carrageenan?
Yes, sea moss contains carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickener that’s found in many food and cosmetic products. It’s naturally occurring in red seaweed, especially the type from the Atlantic Ocean. Seaweed is harvested and processed in order to extract carrageenan.
Although there are concerns about the use of carrageenan as a food additive, it’s worth noting that the carrageenan extracted from sea moss is different from the type used in the food industry. The majority of carrageenan used in food products is the “degraded” form or poligeenan, which is not found naturally in food and is considered more likely to cause negative health effects.
Typical Carrageenan Extraction Process
Typically, carrageenan for food use is made with the following extraction process:
- Harvesting & Cleaning – to remove any sand
- Alkaline Treatment – like with sodium hydroxide to extract carrageenan
- Filtration – to remove impurities
- Acid Precipitation – a strong acid, like sulfuric acid, is added so carrageenan precipitates out (… think back to your high school chemical class!)
- Drying – it’s then usually washed, dried, and crushed into a fine powder
Sea moss isn’t for everyone. Listen to your body.
The process of removing carrageenan from food is extensive and not natural. It’s certainly different than the kind naturally found in food like sea moss. Some studies say that carrageenan in foods may cause inflammation and digestive problems in specific people. Some people have a reaction to it, while others don’t – as always, listen to your body.
Does Sea Moss Need To Stay Refrigerated?
Fresh sea moss should always be kept refrigerated in order to keep it fresh. It is a perishable food. Usually, it will last in the fridge for about 7-10 days in a clean, airtight glass or stainless-steel container. If you notice a nasty or rotten smell, toss it. You can also usually freeze it for up to about 3 months (like in ice cube trays). Like other foods that require refrigeration, always make sure you’re sourcing it from a trustworthy shop or supplier. Ask them if it’s shipped refrigerated and how it’s handled throughout the supply chain!
Some suppliers sell dried sea moss, which doesn’t need to be refrigerated since it’s been stripped of its moisture content. Any dried sea moss can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard for several months.
Other suppliers sell shelf-stable canned sea moss, so if that’s the case, read the instructions on the product label. Some are shelf-stable until opening, then need to be refrigerated.
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What’s The Most Effective Form Of Sea Moss?
Sea moss is available in powdered, dried, capsule, and gel forms. Some brands have even come out with liquid sea moss supplements. The most effective form of sea moss depends on your preference. Some people prefer powdered in order to add to recipes, while others like the gel to take a teaspoon a day. Other people may have a harder time digesting raw sea moss or struggle with its texture, so they can opt for the gel form. It’s up to you! The quality of the sea moss is the most important thing.
What To Look For
There are many things to consider when shopping for sea moss, such as:
- The sea moss should be from clean and unpolluted waters. You should ideally know where it was harvested.
- With our seas becoming more and more polluted, proper sourcing is very important.
- It commonly comes from the Atlantic coasts of Canada, California or the Caribbean, along with the coast of Ireland, Spain, Iceland, and the Baltic Sea.
- Wild harvested & sustainably sourced
- Sometimes pool grown sea moss (not wild harvested) can have a chlorine smell
- Smells fresh & clean
- Your sea moss should be free of any debris or sand
- Avoid any that are slimy or mushy – if you’re buying fresh sea moss, it should be firm and slightly rubbery
- Stored in air-tight packaging
- In order to prevent spoilage
- Tested for heavy metals, pesticides, microorganisms & contaminants
- Sea moss has the ability to absorb heavy metals such as lead, mercury, aluminum, and cadmium from the water it grows in, making it crucial to obtain sea moss from reliable sources that routinely screen for contaminants.
- The supplier/company should be transparent and share the 3rd party heavy metal results with you.
- Many brands will have a Proposition 65 warning label on the package, since heavy metals are naturally present in seaweed. To learn more about Prop 65, check out: What Is Prop 65 In California?
- Free of added sugar
- Some sea moss blends will mix it with cane sugar. If you’re looking for the highest-quality supplement, skip the brands with sugar.
- If you prefer a masked flavor, opt for brands with organic elderberry, dates, or other organic fruits.
Expect to pay a higher price point for higher-quality sea moss. It’s best to pay a premium for better supplements, otherwise, it can do more harm than good. Since the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t strictly regulate supplements, doing your due diligence on the brand is crucial.
How Much Sea Moss To Take Daily?
Sea moss should not be consumed in excess. Take only about 1 to 2 tablespoons per day, or as recommended on the product’s packaging. Too much of a good thing could be harmful!
As always, speak with your doctor because some people should limit their intake, especially if they already have an iodine-rich diet or are taking certain medications. Since seaweed in general typically has a strong taste, you can mix it with fruit like dates, to make it more palatable.
Remember: eating a well-balanced diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables is the most important thing. Eating one tablespoon of sea moss while you’re downing soda and foods fried in seed oil won’t make a difference… even if it’s a “superfood.” To learn more about seed oils and processed foods, check out: Seed Oils & Inflammatory Oils To Avoid While Cooking and How To Eat An Anti-Inflammatory Diet.
Best Brands For Sea Moss Gel & Sea Moss Products
It is very difficult to find sea moss gel that’s 3rd party tested. Here are the better brands I could find, in order of preference based on COA results (Note: COA results were requested in April 2023).
- Certified organic, not chemically dried or processed. USA-sourced, but won’t disclose the exact location. 
- Their August 2022 COA showed a safe bacterial plate count, with no Arsenic detected, 0.443 ppm Cadmium, 0.381 ppm Lead, and 0.00461 ppm Mercury (all under the testing range).
- This Certificate of Analysis was also more recent in 2022 compared to other companies that provide much older test results.
- Mixed with Bladderwrack and Burdock Root; since this is a in powder form, it has been more processed than raw sea moss.
- I requested their testing results and they sent them all within a half hour. Very transparent and also provided their original COA.
- Their 2020 COA showed safe bacterial results with 20.4 ppm Arsenic, 0.575 ppm Cadmium, 1.78 ppm Lead, and 0.0256 ppm Mercury.
- Sent their 2022 FDA Import Report, which showed 0.548 ppm Cadmium and 0.0902 ppm Lead.
- While they don’t do 3rd party testing on their final product, they have tested the coastal waters in St. Lucia in 2022 and the results look good. They’re a small family-owned company that’s very focused on product quality.
These brands look better than most, but they did NOT respond to my email requesting test results, so I can’t confirm if their testing meets my standards:
- Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Irish Moss Flakes – they’re sustainably harvested in Maine and tested for microbes, heavy metals, and pollutants. Tests are performed annually. 
- Herbal Vineyards from St. Lucia – certified non-GMO by the NSF; supplier submits a phytosanitary certificate for each shipment
- Yemaya Wildcrafted Gold Sea Moss – claims to be organic and wild-harvested
As Supplement Drops:
Mary Ruth’s has Organic Sea Moss liquid drops, although they use an undisclosed organic masking flavor. Despite the addition of flavoring, I trust their ingredient sourcing. Use code inonaround15 to save 15% on your order.
Skip any sea moss gummies, since they’re typically just made from sugar.
This list isn’t exhaustive. There are many different sources of sea moss and hundreds of suppliers globally. Make sure you do your due diligence when shopping for brands.
Use caution around sea moss sold online and on Etsy – if you’re not confident in how the ingredients were handled and stored, opt for a better brand. Most brands don’t test for heavy metals or microbes. Do your due diligence and ask for a Certificate of Analysis. Even sea moss in skin care needs to be properly formulated or handled in order to prevent microbial growth.
Final Thoughts – Sea Moss Gel
While high-quality sea moss certainly has many nutritional benefits and could be considered a superfood, not everyone should take it. Making sure you’re getting ultra-high-quality sea moss is crucial, otherwise, you can expose yourself to harmful contaminants. If you’re already eating a lot of iodine-rich foods, use caution. Don’t overdo it, especially since it’s naturally high in heavy metals.
Will I be taking it on a daily basis? No, probably not. I don’t believe it will “transform” your health in dramatic ways… but it certainly can be a part of a well-balanced diet. Be cautious of overconsumption, but enjoy your sea moss in moderation!
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Frequently Asked Questions – Sea Moss Gel Health Benefits
Click on the below FAQs to learn more about: sea moss pills, sea moss organic, sea moss benefits for women, sea moss capsules, sea moss drink, benefits of sea moss gel, sea moss raw, sea moss for weight loss, sea moss transformation, sea moss vitamins, sea moss at whole foods.
Are there any potential side effects or risks associated with consuming sea moss in excess?
Yes, consuming too much sea moss can lead to iodine toxicity, thyroid issues, allergic reactions, and can impact medication absorption, in some people.
How can you incorporate sea moss in your daily routine?
Sea moss can be added to smoothies, soups, stews, or other foods & drinks to thicken it up and get the nutritional benefits.
Is sea moss healthy for you?
Yes, sea moss can be a great addition to your diet since it’s rich in vitamins & minerals.
Is sea moss gluten-free?
Yes, sea moss is gluten-free, unless it’s mixed with other gluten-containing ingredients.
Have you tried sea moss?
Let me know your thoughts and key takeaways in the comments below!
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Other references on Sea Moss Gel: Cleveland Clinic, NY Times, Eater, Taste Great Foodie, Good Food Baddie, The Girl Cooks Healthy, Healthier Steps, Travel Awaits, Outlook India, BBC, Forbes, Discover, Healthline, Everyday Health, Medical News Today, Health, VegNews, Take Care Of, Indigo Herbs, Dr. Axe, H&B, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Times of Israel, FDA, Ohio Department of Agriculture,
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