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The Surprising Health Benefits of Sea Moss: What Experts Say

The Surprising Health Benefits of Sea Moss What Experts Say

The Surprising Health Benefits of Sea Moss What Experts Say

Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or Chondrus crispus, is a species of red algae that grows along the Atlantic coastlines of North America, Europe and the Caribbean Islands. For centuries, sea moss has been used as a traditional medicine and health food, prized for it’s unique combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and digestive benefits. This nutrient-dense sea vegetable packed with health boosting properties is now gaining popularity across the world.

Nutritional Content

Sea moss is composed of 91-99% mucilage, a gelatinous carbohydrate compound made of sulphuric acid. Mucilage gives sea moss it’s jelly-like texture which makes it easy to blend into smoothies, drinks, gravies or desserts. This soluble fiber acts like a prebiotic by passing through the gut undigested where it feeds healthy probiotic bacteria to help balance gut flora.

Table 1 shows the rich nutrient profile of dried sea moss. It is high in amino acids like lysine, vitamin A, C, E, K, B-vitamins as well as important minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and iron. With very low calories and fat content, sea moss packs a nutritious punch.

Nutrient Profile Per 100 g Dried Sea Moss

NutrientAmountPercent Daily Value
Calories98
Protein6 g12%
Carbohydrates21 g7%
Fat1 g2%
Vitamin A328 IU7%
Vitamin C9 mg15%
Vitamin E1 mg5%
Vitamin K181 mcg226%
Riboflavin0.3 mg18%
Niacin2 mg10%
Vitamin B60.2 mg10%
Folate122 mcg31%
Calcium20 mg2%
Iron3 mg17%
Magnesium101 mg25%
Phosphorus42 mg4%
Zinc1 mg7%
Manganese0.3 mg14%
Selenium13 mcg24%
Iodine23 mcg15%
Sodium233 mg10%
Potassium220 mg6%

Digestive Health Benefits

The high mucilage content of sea moss makes it very soothing for sensitive digestive systems prone to inflammation or irritation like colitis, diverticulitis, acid reflux, heart burn or stomach ulcers. It coats the entire digestive tract acting as a lubricant while it’s antimicrobial compounds like sulphur get rid of bad bacteria overgrowth, yeast infections and other pathogens. The soluble fiber in sea moss can help relieve constipation by adding bulk to stools and promoting peristaltic motion to improve bowel movement regularity.

Sea moss has natural antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for treating respiratory ailments like pneumonia, colds, flu and bronchitis by thinning out mucus secretions in the lungs while fighting infections. It helps clear up congestion, inflammation and irritation in the nasal passages, throat and lungs for easier breathing.

Thyroid Support

Sea moss is one of the best natural sources of iodine which is an essential mineral needed for healthy thyroid hormone production and metabolism regulation. Just 1/3 oz or 10 g of sea moss provides 1600 mcg iodine meeting the RDI for this nutrient. For those suffering from underactive thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s or goiter, sea moss helps stimulate thyroid activity.

The thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) require sufficient levels of iodine for synthesis. T3 is the more active hormone that regulates growth, heart rate, body temperature, metabolism and mental health. When there is an iodine deficiency, insufficient T3 is produced causing hypothyroid disorders. Getting enough iodine from kelp, sea moss or supplements allows for adequate T3 synthesis to keep metabolism strong.

Antioxidant Protection

Sea moss contains omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, triterpenoids, beta-carotene and vitamins like A, C and E that give it excellent antioxidant activity for protecting cells from damage caused by unstable free radicals. Antioxidants are important for preventing the development of chronic diseases associated with oxidative stress and inflammation like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.

The carotenoid antioxidants in sea moss like beta-carotene get converted to vitamin A to boost immune function against bacterial and viral infections. Vitamin A maintains healthy skin, teeth, bones, cell growth and supports vision especially in dim light.

Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in sea moss. It helps regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E to allow these free radical fighters to keep protecting the lipids in cell membranes against oxidation. Vitamin C is essential for immune health, fighting inflammation and preventing common viruses that cause upper respiratory infections. It also aids in iron absorption important for delivering oxygen throughout the body.

Improved Immunity

Sea moss is rich in sulfur compounds like DMSO, choline sulfur and sulfuric acid that have antiviral properties against herpes simplex virus. The sulfur content works together with selenium, iodine and zinc in sea moss to boost immunity against bacterial and viral attacks that can cause illness.

Sea moss is used as an immunity booster for treating or preventing chronic diseases stemming from compromised immune function like acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). For AIDS patients suffering from a seriously weakened immune system, sea moss helps slow disease progression and opportunistic infections that take advantage of low immunity.

The zinc in sea moss regulates immune cell response to pathogens by controlling inflammation, fighting bacterial overgrowth and regulating thymus gland activity which produces T cells to mount an appropriate immune reaction. Zinc deficiency is strongly correlated with an increased frequency and longer duration of colds, flu or other illnesses.

Radiation Protection

Sea moss provides protection against radiation exposure from ultraviolet rays, x-rays and gamma rays which damage skin cells and cause mutations that lead to increased cancer risk. In one study, sea moss extract applied topically offered protection to human skin cells exposed to UVB rays using a UV lamp. The antioxidants in sea moss like carotenoids and vitamin C neutralize free radicals generated by radiation preventing DNA damage.

The iodine in sea moss also plays a role in radiation protection by supporting proper thyroid function. The thyroid glands often bear the brunt of radiation exposure leading to hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid issues. Getting enough iodine ensures the thyroid can keep producing sufficient thyroid hormone levels even if radiation exposure damages some thyroid cells.

Wound Healing

There are several ways sea moss promotes faster healing of skin wounds, burns, scar tissue or infections stemming from it’s unique combination of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and stimulating bioactive compounds.

Upon topical application on wounds, sea moss forms a protective barrier to prevent bleeding and infection while providing hydration to skin cells to prevent death and nourish regeneration. The alginate fiber in sea moss absorbs excess fluid from oozing wounds to help reduce inflammation and provide a hydrogel matrix for new tissue and blood vessels to grow across the wound bed for faster closure.

Sea moss contains polyphenol antioxidants that accelerate wound contraction and closure by enhancing collagen synthesis needed to repair connective tissues and skin layers. At the same time, antimicrobial carotenoids fight infections to pave the way for rebuilding skin structures.

The sulfur compounds in sea moss work together with iodine, bromine and zinc to stimulate new tissue growth on skin lesions by increasing blood flow to the wound site so nutrients, antibodies and growth factors needed for reepithelialization are delivered via the blood stream through enhanced vasodilation while eliminating toxins and waste products.

Improved Muscle Strength

Sea moss offers significant benefits for muscle health thanks to it’s richness in antioxidants, minerals like magnesium, potassium and zinc as well as amino acids arginine and taurine. These nutrients support muscle function, improves exercise performance and recovery.

The potassium and magnesium in sea moss helps prevent muscle cramps or spasms during intense workouts or sports games by regulating fluid balance, nerve impulses and electrolytes lost through sweat. Magnesium supports protein synthesis so muscles repair faster after straining exercise. It increases testosterone levels to maintain lean muscle mass.

For bodybuilders or athletes, sea moss contains branch chain amino acids including valine, leucine and isoleucine that prevent protein breakdown while arginine increases nitric oxide production to open up blood vessels more to shuttle nutrients into muscle tissue. This leads to rapid muscle growth with heavier weight training while boosting energy levels, stamina and endurance.

The bromine found in sea moss penetrates muscles and helps dissolve stubborn fat deposits within muscle tissues to support a lean, toned physique. Bromine clears accumulated toxins and lactate acid responsible for muscle soreness or fatigue after taxing exercise. It energizes muscles allowing for quicker recovery between workouts.

Male Sexual Health

The zinc content of sea moss is beneficial for improving testosterone levels, sperm quality and overall sexual health in men. Zinc deficiency strongly correlates with erectile dysfunction and lowered fertility seen from inadequate testosterone synthesis and poor sperm production.

Zinc serves as an aphrodisiac to boost low libido since testosterone is a key male sex hormone governing sex drive. The release of testosterone triggered by sufficient zinc levels leads to increased strength, stamina, muscle development and growth of body hair. Zinc regulates enzymes needed for testosterone production and maintains prostate gland function.

Zinc protects sperm cells against oxidative damage while supporting rapid cell division essential for sperm development to prevent low sperm count issues or abnormal sperm morphology affecting male fertility. For couples trying to conceive, optimizing zinc intake from sea moss, oysters or meat can overcome infertility issues stemming from inadequate zinc levels.

Neurological Health

Two sulfur containing amino acids abundant in sea moss called taurine and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) support optimal nerve conduction, neurotransmitter synthesis, circulatory flow in the brain and central nervous system health. The high concentration of selenium, magnesium, iodine and several B vitamins further boost nerve cell communication, cognitive function and brain energy metabolism.

Taurine makes up about 0.1% of total body weight with high amounts found in excitable tissues like nerves and the brain. It regulates minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium essential for neurotransmitter production that coordinate nerve impulses throughout the body. Taurine may benefit epilepsy and mood disorders by controlling electrical nerve cell activity to alleviate seizures while elevating mood through boosted GABA synthesis.

MSM provides biologically available sulfur needed for healthy collagen layers called the myelin sheath that insulate nerves allowing for proper signal transmission without loss of impulse strength. It reduces nerve inflammation and damage while supporting neurotransmitters activity. MSM has been used to treat chronic pain, headache disorders and neuropathy related to diabetes, chemotherapy or nutrient deficiencies.

For brain health, the potassium chloride in sea moss helps prevent cerebrovascular accidents commonly known as strokes by lowering blood pressure and increasing vasodilation in cerebral blood vessels to enhance oxygen rich blood flow to the brain. Potassium acts as an electrolyte to facilitate electrical conductivity in the brain required for concentration, memory and learning.

Bone Health

Sea moss delivers a wealth of minerals essential for maintaining strong bones, preventing osteoporosis or healing fractures such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and strontium. Strontium is a mineral that concentrates in bone tissues especially areas undergoing rapid growth making it vital for normal bone formation and development in children. About 99% of strontium in the body gets deposited in bones and teeth.

Strontium supplements have gained interest for preventing bone fractures and speeding up recovery from bone injuries based on evidence from several human clinical studies. Postmenopausal women taking strontium supplements increased bone mineral density while lowering biochemical bone turnover markers that stimulate osteoclast cells responsible for breaking down too much bone tissue as occurs in osteoporosis. More research is needed to confirm findings but the high strontium content of sea moss appears promising for bone health.

Alongside calcium, sea moss contains adequate levels of vitamin K2 crucial for activating osteocalcin, a protein responsible for binding calcium to bone tissue allowing for proper bone matrix calcification and density. Magnesium, folate and vitamin D presence in sea moss further boosts efficient calcium metabolism and absorption for depositing into growing bones or repairing microscopic damage before fractures develop.

Hair, Skin and Nails

Thanks to it’s wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, sea moss provides structures nutrition to build strong hair, skin and nails resistant to damage or aging.

The vitamin A in sea moss plays a major role in skin cell regeneration and growth, forming healthy epithelial barriers essential for protection against pathogens, chemicals or UV radiation that accelerates aging. Vitamin A thickens the dermis layer reducing skin fragility to lessen wrinkles formation while stimulating fibroblast cells to produce collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans hydrating connective tissues to maintain youthful skin elasticity.

Sulfur compounds like MSM and DMSO repair scar tissue, burns and joint inflammation associated with collagen-damaging disorders by normalizing collagen production and tissue permeability. MSM cream has been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation making it effective for treating melasma, sun spots or uneven skin tone.

For dull, frizzy hair, sea moss can provide nourishment needed for shiny, healthy locks less prone to breakage and split ends. The nutrient density stimulates hair follicles for faster growth helping hair grow thicker and longer. Applying sea moss gel masks or rinses hydrates and conditions dry hair. It adds body, texture and highlights to hair strands.

Multiple B vitamins in sea moss like biotin, niacin and folate contribute to healthy nails, improving their hardness and integrity to achieve faster growth. Silica levels enhance nail plate keratin formation protecting the beds from infections that make nails yellow or discolored. Iron and vitamin C repair ragged cuticles and brittle nails to prevent cracking or peeling.

How to Use Sea Moss

Sea moss is available as fresh or dried raw seaweed sold at health stores and Caribbean markets. It comes in powder or gel form providing an easy way to gain it’s nutrients without making sea moss drinks or desserts yourself. However, powdered sea moss absorbs moisture quickly making homemade sea moss gel the best way to preserve nutrients before use in various recipes.

Making Homemade Sea Moss Gel

  1. Rinse fresh sea moss thoroughly to remove sand, salt and debris
  2. Add clean sea moss and lime juice to a pot, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool before blending into a smooth, thick gel
  4. Store gel in fridge for 2-3 weeks

Popular ways to consume sea moss gel include:

Start off with 1-2 tablespoons per day then work up to 1-2 oz to benefit from it’s nutritional and medicinal qualities. Although generally safe at typical food amounts, excessive sea moss consumption could negatively affect thyroid function. Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated while using it.

Potential Disadvantages or Downsides to Using Sea Moss

Source and Quality Concerns

Iodine Excess

Digestive Issues

Allergic Reactions

Blood Clot Risk

Drug Interactions

FAQs

What does sea moss taste like?

Sea moss has a mild salty seaweed taste. When blended into a gel, it takes on a soft, almost jelly-like texture with little flavor. It’s easily adaptable to both sweet and savory recipes.

Where does sea moss come from?

Most commercial sea moss is wild harvested off the Atlantic coasts of North America and some European countries. Jamaica and St. Lucia are also prime sea moss sources. After harvest, it gets cleaned and sun-dried before sale.

Is sea moss gluten-free?

Yes, authentic sea moss contains no gluten making it a suitable food choice for those following gluten-free diets.

Can you take sea moss daily?

Yes, taking 1-2 tablespoons of sea moss gel daily is considered safe and effective for most healthy adults to boost nutrition. Consuming sea vegetables regularly provides better mineral absorption compared to occasional use.

How long does sea moss gel last?

Prepared sea moss gel stored in an airtight container inside the refrigerator keeps well for 2-3 weeks. It lasts 6-8 hours at room temperature after which microbes start proliferating. The shelf life extends up to 3 months if frozen in ice cube trays.

Can sea moss boost fertility?

Some of the minerals in sea moss like zinc and selenium support reproductive health in both men and women which may possibly improve fertility. But direct research proving fertility enhancement requires further clinical evidence.

Does sea moss decompose?

If not dried or preserved properly, raw sea moss deteriorates quickly developing bacterial overgrowth within days which could cause food poisoning when consumed after decomposition sets in.

Conclusion

Sea moss offers a wide array of health benefits thanks unique nutrient profile containing over 90 minerals along with antioxidants, probiotics and antiviral/antimicrobial agents. It promotes digestive, thyroid and immune health while acting as an alterative, demulcent, anti-inflammatory and natural antibacterial. Sea moss aids in radiation sickness, muscle repair, bone/skin health and provides a long list of benefits to tap into. Further research can help support and expand on traditional medicinal uses of this marine superfood.

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