There are some potential benefits of sea moss, but the studies evaluating these effects are done in labs or on animals. There certainly isn’t a clear understanding of how Irish moss may improve the health of humans, but the nutrient content in the seaweed is promising.
1. Aids Digestion
Irish moss works as a prebiotic, allowing it to influence the composition of our gut microbiota. It’s also a mucilaginous food that has a sticky texture and helps stool to move through the gastrointestinal tract more easily.
In a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, rats fed Irish moss showed significant improvements in gut microbiota composition.
Researchers suggest that, based on these findings, sea moss may help to improve gut health and immune modulation. It was able to increase the population of beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful bacteria, including Streptococcus pneumoniae.
2. May Boost Neurological Health
Studies suggests that red seaweed may have neuroprotective effects because of its ability to alleviate oxidative stress. For this reason, researchers indicate that C. crispus may be a promising ingredient in pharmaceutical applications for potential novel anti-neurodegenerative drugs for humans.
3. Boosts Immune Function
Research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology indicates that red seaweed enhances host immunity and suppresses the expression of what’s called “virulence factors,” or molecules that are produced by bacteria, fungi and viruses.
4. Increases Satiety
When combined with liquids, Irish moss has a gel-like texture, which is thick and sticky. It acts as a soluble fiber that helps to keep you full longer.
Adding Irish moss to meals may increase satiety and, therefore, possibly cut down on the amount of calories you consume. There isn’t scientific evidence to back this up, but the idea is that sea moss works similarly to chia seeds and aloe in this respect.
5. May Have Anti-Tumor Effects
There are some lab studies suggesting that Irish moss has anti-tumor effects that are due to its algal polysaccharide content. Researchers don’t have definitive answers about why this occurs in lab trials, but they indicate that it may be due to polysaccharide’s ability to enhance the body’s immunity and improve its antioxidant activity.
6. Rich in Iodine
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that iodine in C. crispus is high and bioavailable. Both low and high iodine intake levels can increase the risk of disease, so it’s important to consume the right amount.
Iodine-rich foods support thyroid function, healthy metabolism and brain health. Your thyroid, for instance, must have high enough iodine levels to make thyroxine, a key hormone that works to regulate important, everyday biochemical reactions. Thyroid disorders, that may arise from low-iodine levels, can lead to symptoms like sluggish appetite, heart issues, mood changes, weight fluctuations and appetite changes.
7. May Boost Skin Health
Sea moss is used in skincare products because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and magnesium.
Using sea moss topically may help to hydrate and soothe your skin, while fighting damage and infections. There isn’t any scientific research on the benefits of Irish moss for skin, but its vitamin and mineral content alone is promising for promoting healthy aging.