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.”
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.
Supported Weight Loss
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
Lower Likelihood of Developing Certain Cancers
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
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.