Does Sea Moss Help With Weight Loss? Here’s What We Know

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    Sea moss is a popular new fad in weight management. But does it work? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

    What is sea moss?

    Sea moss is a red seaweed that grows off the North Atlantic coasts of Iceland, Canada, and Ireland. Sometimes referred to as Irish moss or Chondrus crispus, sea moss is full of minerals that are vitally important for your health, including iron, calcium, zinc, chromium, magnesium, and iodine. It’s also a source of amino acids, including taurine, citrulline, and phenylalanine. Moreover, it contains solid protein content, as well as significant trace mineral levels. As such, some argue that sea moss can support your body’s intake of these minerals and promote their related health benefits. Some have even suggested that sea moss could be an effective home remedy for various nutrient deficiencies.

    Marked by a slimy texture and a fish-like taste, sea moss is naturally vegan-friendly and gluten-free. Before consuming sea moss, be sure that your sea moss is high quality. Sometimes seaweed can absorb toxins from the environment, and lower quality sea moss may still contain them.

    The full nutrient content of sea moss can be found here.

    Sea moss & weight loss

    So, why have people started connecting sea moss and weight loss? It turns out that sea moss might improve digestion, lead to feelings of greater fullness, and promote fat-burning effects.

    Aids in body fat reduction

    Studies have found that sea moss may reduce body fat and can help you lose weight in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise plan.

    One study looked at the effects of Kappaphycus, which is a genus of red algae. The study found that Kappaphycus can positively affect gut microbiota, promoting Bacteroidetes and decreasing Firmicutes. Those with healthy body weight and body mass index tend to have higher concentrations of Bacteroidetes in the microbiome in comparison to Firmicutes.

    Animal studies have found that the carrageenan content in red sea moss could contribute to maintaining healthy weight as a source of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber can increase gastrointestinal viscosity which can disrupt the absorption of carbs and fats. Based on animal studies, carrageenan can also increase lipid breakdown and oxidation. This may be caused by a reduction in how many fat cells are being created, or it could lead to increased breakdown of the fat stored in your body.

    A study of 78 adults with a body mass index (BMI) between 23.0 and 30.0 kg/m found that those who consumed 1,000 mg of sea moss extract (Geledium extract) saw reductions in body fat and body weight after 12 weeks. Participants were educated to maintain the same level of physical activity however those in the sea moss extract group did have more physical activity than the control group so that may be a limiting factor in the research especially since physical activity and weight loss are directly related. As a result,more studies are needed, but the findings thus far support the idea that sea moss can support healthy weight management in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.

    Helps keep you full and satisfied

    Because sea moss has high fiber content, consuming it can help increase your feelings of satiety. This study shows the key role that dietary fiber can play in the regulation of appetite. When you feel full, you’re less inclined to over-eat.

    As is the case with many fiber foods, the carrageenan in sea moss can’t be digested by your body. When it hits your digestive tract, it serves as a soluble fiber, ultimately slowing the pace of the food moving through your digestive tract. You end up feeling more full and more satisfied as a result.

    Acts as a prebiotic for your gut

    Did you know that your gut is home to millions of bacteria?

    The bacteria in your gut are essential for the health of your gut and for your body generally. There’s some research to suggest that the good bacteria in your gut can even affect weight management via energy storage.

    Prebiotics are fibrous, nondigestible food ingredients that support the growth of the good bacteria in your gut. Some animal studies have found that sea moss can function like a prebiotic for your gut, with the carrageenan in sea moss actively supporting healthy gut composition.

    Can potentially improve gut microbiota

    Because sea moss can act as a prebiotic, it can have positive effects on your gut microbiota. Some animal studies have found that certain algaes and sea moss may have benefits for gut composition. Moreover, there is some preliminary research suggesting that the prebiotics derived from seaweed and sea moss might contribute to microbial diversity. These are good signs, to be sure, but more human studies are needed to fully understand the potential risks and benefits of sea moss for gut microbiota.

    Boosts metabolism

    Carrageenan, a soluble fiber found in red sea moss, may slow digestion and is theorized to support a healthy metabolism. Animal studies have also found that carrageenan may help manage bacteria associated with poor metabolic health. These are good signs, but more research is needed.

    May support thyroid function

    While some research suggests sea moss can support thyroid function, there is also reason to believe that the iodine content in sea moss can worsen thyroid function. If you have a personal or family history of thyroid issues, talk to your doctor before using sea moss, especially since sea moss consumption has been linked to excessive iodine exposure. In other words, for some, the evidence for the potential of sea moss to harm thyroid function seems to overshadow its potential for supporting thyroid function. Still, it should be noted that iodine is an important mineral for healthy thyroid function along with selenium. Talk to your doctor about whether sea moss is right for you.

    The role of sea moss in detoxification and liver support

    Sea moss contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, all of which are known as electrolytes, and all of which can be very helpful during a health detox. Watch your sodium intake if your diet is already high in salt, as you may want to reduce how much sodium you’re taking in. Furthermore, some research suggests that sea moss can help support healthy cellular responses, promoting a healthy immune system with its antioxidant-like properties.

    How to use sea moss for weight loss

    Weight loss is a complex process that requires multiple balanced areas such as a healthy microbiome, increased physical activity, adequate sleep, healthy nutrient dense diet, stress management, and sufficient hydration.

    Although sea moss still needs more research to fully understand how it works and all the potential health benefits, sea moss can still be used as a nutrient dense functional food. One of the best ways to use sea moss for health benefits is to mix sea moss gel into a tasty smoothie. Just drop in about 1-2 tablespoons of the gel into your blender (you can consider starting with a smaller amount) and mix it with any fruits and veggies you want. Sea moss is naturally flavorless and will mix well with whatever you choose! There are products with different flavor profiles available as well.

    How much sea moss to take daily for weight loss

    The science behind sea moss and weight loss still needs to be further researched.Initial results from studies are limited but exciting since they show potential. The amount of sea moss you should take for general health benefits as a source of minerals varies depending on your particular needs and the form being used. Sea moss is available in powdered, capsule, dried, and gel form. Check the label and start with small doses. You should always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.

    Possible side effects

    Because of its high iodine content, you should avoid consuming big amounts of sea moss. Too much iodine can have negative health effects, including on the thyroid. Excess iodine can also lead to gastrointestinal problems.. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take sea moss, since there isn’t enough research to demonstrate its safety for these specific populations. As always, you should talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.

    How long does it take to see results after supplementing with sea moss?

    Since there haven’t been any clinical trials on sea moss supplementation, there’s no way to know for sure how long it will take for a sea moss supplementation to show results. As always, be sure to talk to your doctor about any changes to your supplement routine. The best way to support healthy body composition and weight management is to eat a nutrient-rich diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, hydrate, and manage your stress levels.

    How to choose the right sea moss products for weight management

    If you’re interested in trying out sea moss products, you’re probably wondering how to choose the right one. Sea moss supplements come in several forms – capsule, gel, dried, powdered. They’re also available as food products. You should check the label to be sure the sea moss supplement you’re buying has iodine content. Take care not to exceed the serving size. As always, you should be sure to check with your doctor about exactly what you’re taking and how its ingredients might interact with other medications you’re taking.

    Other health benefits of sea moss

    Sea moss can be helpful in areas other than your weight loss journey.

    Being a great source of iodine, sea moss can support our thyroid health, which is important for everything from metabolism and heart health to a well-functioning immune health. The key is making sure you do not ingest excessive amounts.

    Sea moss can support gut health and proper digestion, which has broad ramifications for the health of our bodies as a whole. It may boost immunity and promote hair, skin, and nail health based on its mineral content.

    The Bottom Line

    Sea moss boasts a range of potential health benefits, as well as some health risks. It’s important to talk to your doctor about everything sea moss offers before deciding whether it’s right for you. What can’t be denied is that sea moss is rich in minerals and nutrients.

    When it comes to sea moss and weight management, though, the connection is far from clear. There’s no quick-fix solution to your weight management journey and no magical supplement that will solve all of your health concerns. Taking a supplement like sea moss can help you with weight loss goals, but only if paired with other healthy lifestyle habits, such as consuming nutrient-rich foods, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    William Glidden
    Freelance Contributor
    Billy Glidden is a writer with more than a decade of experience. He holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has worked in nonprofit, corporate, and political communications.