Irish Sea Moss is the popular supplement that you definitely don’t need

EVERY TIME IN awhile, another wild health trend or supplement has hit mainstream popularity which makes you wonder, can this really benefit my health?

Buckle up, folksweve got another one for you. Right now, Irish Sea moss is circulating on social media as the next best thing to your health. Advertisements boast that this plant can help support healthy joints, skin, and hair, as well as boost immune health. Truly? Moss? From Ireland?

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Let’s look at the facts. Irish Sea moss is a type of seaweed or seaweed that contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, she says Johna Burdeos, RD., a registered dietitian. In particular it supplies iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper.

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Sounds good, but can something that sounds so wild have legitimate health benefits, or is it another way to part with your money? We are bringing the answers to the surface.

What is Irish Sea Moss?

Sea moss comes in two forms: Irish Sea moss or red seaweed. It is found in the Atlantic Ocean, along the coasts of the United States, Canada and, well, Ireland. It is often harvested in New England.

Sea moss comes in different colors like green, yellow, red, and purple. Irish Sea moss is a species in the red algae family, says Burdeos. It is also known as carrageenan and Chondrus crispus. It is added to products such as puddings, ice cream and even toothpaste. Irish Sea moss also has properties that make it useful in preservatives, he says.

What are the benefits of Irish Sea Moss?

Science has a long way to go to catch up with the health halo you see associated with Irish Sea moss.

There aren’t many studies showing the effects of sea moss on human health, Burdeos says. Most of the existing studies in humans are small and other studies have been done in animals as well in vitrowhich means in a test tube or culture disc nowhere near the level of testing needed to see results in humans.

There are more studies on algae in general than on Irish Sea moss. Seaweed is a close cousin of Irish Sea moss and has been shown to support intestinal health due to its fiber content. It has also been shown to have some effect on weight reduction risk of heart disease AND thyroid problemsdue to its iodine content.

The bottom line is that there is no scientific research to support that Irish Sea moss supplements would have a safe effect on your health, but it does contain certain vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

Are there any risks with taking Irish Sea Moss?

We consider the risks of eating seaweed in general versus Irish Sea moss, as it is more researched and their composition is essentially the same.

While there are potential risks to having too much seaweed, they aren’t very likely. Seaweed is a great source of iodine, a mineral that our bodies need to survive. Too much of it can be bad for thyroid health, but take a look at what it really means: About 150mcg per day is recommended by the NIH extensionand one serving of seaweed has about 116 mcg. You would have to consume over 18,000 mcg per day for multiple days to be at risk for iodine toxicity. However, you should watch out for the high levels of heavy metals in your seaweed.

Algae can absorb heavy metals from the waters they grow in. And heavy metals consumed in large quantities can lead to neurological, kidney, liver and heart damage, as well as cancer, Burdeos says. It is important to note that the nutrient content in sea moss (and algae in general) can vary due to seasonality and the ecology of the harvest location.»

There is no legislation that requires seaweed companies to test for heavy metals, so double check to make sure the brand you’re buying does. You can usually find this information on the packaging or on its website.

Should I take an Irish Sea Moss supplement?

You don’t really need it. There is no shortage of Irish Sea moss, but you may be deficient in some of the nutrients it provides, such as iodine and magnesium. If you don’t qualify in these things, it’s best to talk to a doctor to see what the best course of action is. They may just advise you to take a regular magnesium or iodine supplement rather than Irish Sea moss. As always, consult your doctor before trying anything, especially if you have any medical conditions.

If you’re already eating a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, there’s no reason to incorporate a supplement, including Irish Sea moss, unless your doctor tells you to. advice, continue.

If you really feel like trying it, just make sure you do it safely. According to a Study 2020An appropriate serving for adults is about four grams per day, says Burdeos. He recommends choosing from reputable brands that are transparent about the ingredients in their supplements. You can get it in gel, capsule or powder form depending on your personal preference.

Look at dosages and check for a third-party lab test when selecting a product, says Burdeos. Because the supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, a third-party lab test shows transparency in the product’s ingredients and that what you read on the label is what you get. It also ensures that the product is free from impurities or contaminants, such as heavy metals.

Head shot of Perri O. Blumberg

Perri is a writer born and living in New York City; she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and is also a graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute’s culinary school, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at the Institute of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily,, Architectural Digest, Southern Living and others. She has probably seen the Dave Matthews Band in your town and will never turn down a Bloody Mary. Learn more at

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