Sea moss isn’t a routine part of most Americans’ diets, and research on its purported health benefits is limited. Most studies focus on seaweed more generally.

Even so, Foroutan says, sea moss may play a role in promoting health and fighting disease.

“This particular type of sea algae has been used medicinally around the world for a long time,” she says. “When a food has been around medicinally that long, there’s usually some truth to it, even if we don’t have the research to support it.”

Indeed, special attention has been paid to carrageenan, which contains the following properties:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • Anti-tumor
  • Anti-thrombotic
  • Anticoagulant
  • Anti-hyperlipidemic
  • Immunomodulatory

Below are some of the other proposed health benefits associated with sea moss that may warrant further studies in humans. Keep in mind that the data so far mostly comes from studies in animals, not people, and some of the purported perks are only theoretical and require further research to be confirmed.

Improved Gut Health

The studies that have focused on sea moss in particular primarily support the idea that the when consumed in supplement form, this algae may benefit gut health, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RDN, who is with the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute based in Denver, Colorado. Sea moss contains prebiotic mucilage, a type of fiber that provides food with beneficial gut microbes, which may in turn promote gut health.

For instance, one study examined the prebiotic effects of sea moss in rats, and suggested the moss had a positive effect on gut health, gut microbes, and immune response. More studies are necessary to see if sea moss has the same effect in humans, though.

Stronger Immunity

As mentioned, sea moss may support the immune system. One review suggests its carrageenans possibly contain anti-tumor properties. The authors cite other research that notes red seaweed may also offer antibacterial and antifungal benefits.

One potential mechanism: Mucilage has a gelatinous texture, and sea moss could theoretically help soothe mucus membranes in the respiratory and digestive tracts, Foroutan says. (Mucus membranes produce mucus, which helps trap and remove germs from the body.)

Supported Weight Loss

While no clinical studies support sea moss as a weight loss remedy, one review of macroalgae (seaweed) from in vivo and in vitro studies found possible anti-obesity effects. While human studies are needed to confirm these benefits, researchers found that macroalgae extracts may promote weight loss via thermogenesis, a healthier gut microbiota, and fatty acid oxidation (though these effects have not been studied on microalgae like sea moss).

One theoretical reason sea moss may support weight loss: Its fiber content can help dampen appetite, Foroutan says.

Fiber is satiating, meaning it can help you feel full for longer and reduce the likelihood that you’ll overeat — but keep in mind that this effect hasn’t been formally studied in sea moss.

May Boost Heart Health

Adding seaweed to your diet could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, thanks to the algae’s nutritional and antioxidant profile, according to another review (but again, this research did not specifically examine sea moss).

Lower Likelihood of Developing Certain Cancers

One study discovered possible anti-tumor potential in sea moss after ultrasound-assisted extraction of its compounds, which inhibited the growth of some human cancer cell lines in the lab. Researchers noted this may be due to its antioxidant compounds.

Such anti-cancer properties may also be attributed to the carrageenan content in sea moss and may even be helpful when combined with chemotherapy treatments.

But more human studies are needed to confirm the potential role of sea moss in cancer prevention and treatment.

Stronger Treatment Against HPV Infection

According to a review, carrageenan found in red algae may help protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. While more studies are needed, researchers believe that carrageenan may complement other preventive HPV therapies, such as vaccines.

Healthier Skin

Sea moss also appears to be growing in popularity as an ingredient in natural skin care products, though research into this use is lacking. In addition to its nutrients and antioxidants, sea moss contains sulfur, which can help treat acne as well as fungal and yeast infections of the skin, says Karan Lal, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in Hackensack, New Jersey. Amino acids in the moss, such as arginine, may also benefit the skin by promoting the replacement of dead skin cells, Dr. Lal says.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *