What Are The Health Benefits Of Sea Moss?

When you think of seaweed, you might picture that slimy, eel-like plant that tickles your feet and ankles when you're swimming in the ocean. You may also think of popular dishes like sushi and miso soup.

Red seaweed, also known as Irish sea moss, is a type of seaweed typically found in the northern areas of the Atlantic ocean (via Medical News Today). Today, scientific evidence about the benefits of sea moss mainly points to research that focuses on its cousin, seaweed. Because they have similar makeups, the benefits of both sea moss and seaweed are considered comparable.

Even though there isn't a plethora of science backing up the benefits specifically of sea moss, it has been used as a natural health remedy for centuries. Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and registered dietician nutritionist, Robin Foroutan, told Shape, "When folk remedies persist through the generations, you can pretty much guarantee that there's some kind of benefit, even if science hasn't quite caught up with the why and how."

Potential benefits and risks of sea moss

Healthline reports that sea moss may support your immune system, improve the healthy bacteria in your gut, and can also benefit your cardiovascular system by lowering your LDL cholesterol.

Beauty-wise, sea moss has gained a following for its purported benefits for your skin. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Erum Ilyas, told Healthline, that sea moss's "sulfur content gives it antimicrobial properties which can assist with balancing the skin's bioflora. This has the potential to help acne, seborrhea, and rosacea-related changes to the skin."

While there are plenty of potential benefits to consuming sea moss, there are also some risks associated with its use as well. Sea moss naturally absorbs heavy metals from its environment, potentially posing a risk to those who ingest it. But a 2017 study published in Chemosphere reported that the minimal exposure to heavy metals from eating sea moss is not likely to cause health problems.

There are many ways to get your sea moss fix. Two popular ways to consume it are through gel and powder form (via Healthline). You can choose to eat it raw or add it to drinks and meals.