It is the new viral trend of TikTok. Thousands of influencers are recorded daily consuming this supposed superfood similar to honey or plasticine. It comes in multiple colors ranging from pale yellow to light green, passing through intense red and garnet. Apparently it smells like seawater and can be eaten by the spoonful. But it doesn’t seem like it tastes very good.
The user Peach Poterry (who has more than 2 million followers) uploaded a video promoting it that has exceeded half a million views. In it, after swallowing a dose of the product, he represses a gag, covers his mouth and, with teary eyes, affirms that “it’s really good” and that “he’s going to do it every day”, despite the fact that the tears take a lot out of him. credibility.
Be that as it may, this “superfood” is causing a sensation on social networks, especially since it kim kardashian said that her properties have “fallen in love” and the supermodel Kate Moss They even put out their own line of products. It is called “sea moss” or Irish moss, scientifically as chondrus crispus. It is a species of edible algae present in the European and North American Atlantic coast, as well as in warm waters of Asia, South America and Africa.
Its promoters claim that It has multiple benefits for the body’s health.. Those who consume it state online that it hydrates the skin, fights wrinkles, strengthens the immune system, cures intestinal problems, regulates the menstrual cycle and prevents infections, colds or flu. But what has really made sea moss a sensation is that, in theory, speeds up metabolism and helps to lose weight.
Brands market it raw or in supplements as pills, powders, gummies and gels, which are made by soaking the dried plant in water, mixing it, and letting it sit in the refrigerator until it becomes a paste. It can be ingested mixed with smoothies and there are internet personalities who even make puddings, creams and desserts with it.
The brands claim that is proven to contain certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Above all, its content in folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc and calcium stands out. But, in the absence of conclusive data, its effects on health are not entirely clear.
In the face of increasing followers, last summer, the Los Angeles-based supermarket chain Erewhon Market launched another celebrity’s “Hailey Bieber Strawberry Glazed Skin Smoothie,” which contained gel of sea moss. It has also been endorsed by other personalities such as rapper Meek Mill, who said that sea moss had made him smarter. In Spain, it is also sold in large stores..
Given all this, it is worth asking whether marine moss has scientific endorsement. There are already several nutritionists who, although they grant it some properties, warn that there are scientific deficiencies when certifying your benefits. They also affirm that, if it is going to be ingested, it should be in moderation, since its inadequate consumption could cause adverse health effects.
Is sea moss really healthy?
It should be noted that last fall, the rumor began to spread through social networks that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the United States Department of Health and Human Services, he had the attention to prohibit sea moss because scientifically unproven benefits were being claimed.
The truth is that the FDA has already issued warnings to manufacturers of sea moss products, especially after a company claimed that its product could prevent Covid-19. However, the information about the possible ban turned out to be untrue.
On the other hand, a recent article by The New York Times gather the opinion of various nutrition experts in order to elucidate if this plant has drawbacks for consumption. Among its “pros” it is worth noting that it is “an ideal low-calorie food to add more nutrients to the diet,” according to Dr. Melinda Ring, executive director of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the Feinberg School of Medicine. from Northwestern University.
The doctor adds that sea moss is rich in antioxidants and contains large amounts of potassium. “But while nutrition experts say the nutrients in sea moss could offer some health benefits, his devotion is somewhat exaggerated“, details Ring. And adds: “Like all the superfoods that have come and gone, there is some truth in them, however, They are not magic and not everyone should take them.“. Given this, he affirms that “there is no compelling evidence about mosses” so “it is difficult to verify their effects on health.”
Brooke Levine, a dietitian nutritionist at NYU Langone Health, told the same outlet that “no clinical trial has investigated whether it really brings benefits to humans.” While the potential health benefits of sea moss are promising, it is important to note that most of the research is based on algae, not sea moss specifically. In the case of algae, in general, it is considered proven that they contain vitamins and minerals similar to those found in marine moss that could help strengthen defenses.
In essence, there is no data, no clinical trials or proof that sea moss can prevent or cure any disease. For this reason, nutritionists encourage opting for sushi or green leafy vegetables (lambs, arugula, chard or broccoli) that do contain the properties that are given to this algae. Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, said to The New York Times that “When a patient approaches me and says: ‘I saw this on TikTok, I’m thinking of taking it’I’m like, That’s great, how about we have some more broccoli?”
As for whether it’s true that sea moss can help you lose weight, Kirkpatrick notes that “despite the sayings that are circulating on the Internet, sea moss will not suddenly speed up your metabolism“. Although they do attribute a lot of fiber and satiating capacity to it due to its “sticky form”.
Risks Associated With Eating Sea Moss
“This product contains high levels of iodine, which can damage the thyroid if consumed in large amounts,” Dr. Ring told the American newspaper. It’s true that not having enough iodine (deficiency) can cause hypothyroidism, but consuming large amounts could cause the thyroid to produce excess thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). Especially in very active thyroids.
The thyroid is an important gland located in the lower front of the neck and is responsible for growth and metabolism. Excessive nervousness, insomnia, palpitations, unexplained tiredness, easy sweatingpoor tolerance to heat, hand tremor, weight loss despite coexisting with increased appetite and diarrhea are classic manifestations of hyperthyroidism.
On the other hand, sea moss also may carry a risk of heavy metal consumption. Depending on the environment in which it grows, seagrass can absorb and store large amounts. “Like algae, sea moss can contain small amounts of heavy metals such as aluminum or cadmiumdepending on where it’s grown,” he explains. Eating food or drinking water with very high levels of cadmium causes severe stomach irritation, leading to vomiting and diarrhea, and sometimes death. “Therefore, special care must be taken not to exaggerate the amount of their intake”.
In an article for the magazine DazedKerry Torrens, a registered nutritionist, adds that excess iodine also can affect the health of the baby if you are pregnant, or interact with certain medications such as warfarin. “In addition, sea moss can absorb heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead. Most research suggests levels are below maximum allowable concentrations, but then again, if you eat sea moss and other algae regularly, you should keep that in mind.”
Even so, the risk of toxicity appears to be very low. The marketing companies assure that it is a safe product, but that it must be consumed in moderation. On the side of nutritionists the opinion is the same. His statements imply that he is not going to do magic in our body and there are no foods that are “salvation” to what we are looking for. Still, if you want to try it, they recommend not taking more than two tablespoons of the gel at a time and consume it every other day instead of every day.