We don’t give sea moss much more than a backward glance most of the time but in the past few years using different types of grassy material in everyday life has shown several benefits to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
If you’re like much of the country, you probably didn’t grow up near the ocean and the idea of sea moss as a supplement may seem like an alien experiment.
Before you go out and pick up the first thing you can see that seems like sea moss, we’ve got a comparison and some helpful hints that will give you the confidence to pick your next supplement with confidence.
We’ll talk you through what moss is and why it’s beneficial as well as two prominent types that can help you reach your goals!
What is Irish Moss and Why Do People Use It?
Sea moss is one of the newest trends in the health and fitness world.
It’s become a major benefit to vegans and vegetarians as it’s high in iron which many who adhere to the lifestyles lack. Sea moss is designated as seaweed and is a macro-algae.
The plant itself is harvested both organically as well as farmed in man-made pools. The location where the sea moss grows has a lot to do with the varying compositions and the health benefits that are offered by consuming it.
Many vegan groups believe that sea moss-grown naturally, specifically around the Caribbean islands, is the best and only consume those natural plants.
Years ago sea moss was used as a treatment for tuberculosis and pneumonia as well as a food source for laborers in the potato fields. As it was commonly consumed by those put on the lowest rung in society, the health benefits were largely overlooked by the great thinkers of the day.
The product made a comeback when a well-known herbalist shared the benefits with his followers and began promoting as he gave talks and tours.
Iron and Energy
Having iron in your system is crucial to keeping your energy up whether you’re a vegan or a meat-eater.
While iron is most commonly found in animal products like meat and seafood, sea moss has 9 milligrams of iron per 100 grams making it 9 times more potent than chicken!
This iron helps your body create more red blood cells which move oxygen more efficiently from your lungs to your cells.
If you’re not keen on eating the sea moss plain, many companies now sell a gel that gives you the same excellent benefits without the texture or taste.
Nutrients Your Body Needs
This yellow spiral seaweed is nutrient-dense offering 90% of the vitamins and minerals that our body needs to function.
Things like beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, and zinc are all packed into this tiny package!
Each of these contributes greatly toward healthy cell functioning in the body and keeps you happy, healthy, and strong.
Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
Everyone is looking for a quick fix when it comes to weight loss and while there isn’t a magic pill anywhere to be found, this potent seaweed is a great supplement.
Sea moss has high levels of iodine which helps the body moderate thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones, in turn, control the body’s metabolism and when we get the right amount without going overboard it can help curb appetite and promote healthy weight loss.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement. If your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, this supplement can get you back on track.
However, if your thyroid is working correctly and you take too much of this seaweed supplement it can cause serious harm by throwing off the natural balance. Moderation is key!
Build Strong, Lean Muscles
In addition to being high in iron, sea moss is also high in protein as well as a specific amino acid called taurine which helps burn fat and build muscle.
The protein and taurine help your body burn fat and build muscle more quickly when combined with a balanced diet and exercise.
Boost the Immune System
Fighting off a cold can take a serious toll on your body and mind.
Using sea moss gives your body the tools to treat and relieve those cold and flu-like symptoms via a powdered form. Sea moss is full of anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.
The main component that helps boost your immune system is potassium chloride reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of infections.
With a boosted immune system you’ll feel better and keep those summer and winter colds at bay.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Higher added sugar content for most foods has led to an increase in blood sugar levels across the board.
Rather than turning to heavy-duty chemicals and medications, taking a supplement like a sea moss can help control those blood sugar levels and return them to normal.
One chemical found in Irish moss specifically is fucoxanthin that gives the moss its red-brown color and helps to regulate blood sugar.
The chemical causes your body to more adequately and accurately respond to the natural levels of insulin in your body which means you’ll have better control over your blood sugar with less work.
Eating and consuming Irish moss can help keep blood spikes at bay if you already struggle with diabetes.
Health Risks with Irish Moss and Sea Moss
Any supplement comes with some risks and while sea moss is an all-natural supplement there are some risks associated with using too much of the product.
Always consult your doctor or health care provider before beginning a regimen of Irish moss or sea moss.
Poligeenan which is a degraded form of the main component found in sea moss and Irish moss, carrageenan, can cause major issues.
It can quickly become toxic and some seaweed can contain this naturally.
Over time, this degraded form of the components can cause inflammation which will cause issues with nutrition absorption. Bloating and discomfort are common if this poligeenan is present and has been linked to colitis and Crohn’s disease.
When large amounts of this same poligeenan are present, it can cause stomach lesions and ulcers.
Introducing large amounts of poligeenan into the system has been connected to large occurring ulcers within the stomach and system.
Stomach and Bowel Cancer
This same degraded chemical that can occasionally be found in sea moss has been shown to cause and aggravate polyps that may then become cancerous. Poligeenan can cause problems within the digestive tract that might eventually lead to cell mutations found in cancers.
Carrageenan that occurs in Irish sea moss naturally won’t turn into this more deadly version, poligeenan, within the body.
It happens occasionally in nature and may end up in your batch of Irish moss but it’s a low risk in and of itself. Your body won’t turn one chemical into another and cause more problems so as long as you consult with your doctor, the supplement won’t cause such major issues.
Iodine is found in only a few ingredients and products in the normal range of foods. While iodine is rare, you’re more likely to experience an iodine deficiency than an overabundance but since sea moss is so rich in iodine it can be easy to overuse.
The FDA recommendation is less than 225 micrograms each day so only use one to two servings equaling about 2-4 tablespoons of sea moss each day to keep your levels at a healthy space.
The Difference between Chondrus Crispus Vs. Gracilaria Sea Moss
Just like with any supplement there are differences between brands and breeds of the plants used in sea moss extracts.
The two different variations also have unique benefits for your health and wellness. These variations are just two types; there are thousands of species of sea mosses in the ocean!
Genus Gracilaria Sea Moss
There are thousands of different species of sea moss but one of the most popular is genus gracilaria.
Genus gracilaria is grown in warm climates most notably around Jamaica and St. Lucia.
Typically, this variation is grown on ropes or rocks in either the ocean or a pool farm. This moss grows as a thin fingered string that is often yellow or golden.
There can also be some red strands mixed in but for the most part, this variation is yellow.
The nutrient count on this type of moss is extremely high but one of the best benefits is that it grows year-round so it’s always in good supply when you need another batch.
The constant supply makes it much more affordable than other types of seaweed and sea moss products.
Most batches of the genus gracilaria will only cost $30 for a quarter of a pound. With the new wave of interest among health and fitness groups, some producers have increased the price but if you shop around among reputable brands, you can find affordable prices.
To make the product even more accessible to the masses, many companies are switching from organically farmed sea moss to farmed pool grown sea moss. This product is often rushed to grow and doesn’t contain the same type of nutrients and benefits as naturally grown sea moss.
These pool grown sea mosses are often lacking some critical nutrients and components as the water in which it’s grown doesn’t have the same type of habitat.
Farm grown products aren’t bad and if that’s your only option, it’s worth checking them out if you get a chance. Farmed sea moss also helps keep the ecosystem in balance without depleting more natural resources.
Any type, including genus gracilaria, is potent so you don’t need much to experience the benefits. When you’re looking for a place to purchase, resist the urge to over-purchase.
Demand continues to be high for this product so many companies may be sold-out. Do your research and find quality brands that can deliver to your area and within your timeframe.
Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss)
Unlike the genus gracilaria version we talked about before, this version grows in the colder climates around the coast of Ireland. It was readily consumed by the Irish citizens during the Irish Potato Famine when food was so scarce.
While they chose to eat it out of a large amount of desperation, there was and still is a huge amount of benefits available in this variety as well.
While it’s most commonly known and grown around the coast of Ireland it can also be grown in Maine, Canada, and other cooler waters. This variety only grows on rocks and therefore pool grown sea moss of this variety is limited.
The main amount of nutrients within this version of Irish sea moss is derived from the rocks as well as the water where it grows.
Sea moss Chondrus Crispus or Irish sea moss has a flat fan-like top that often looks like leaves or flowers and comes in a dark purple color.
There are lots of variations in color for both this version and the gracilaria so your batch may be different than your neighbors!
Sea moss Chondrus Crispus is extremely rare. It’s only harvested in the summertime and only grows on rocks so it can’t be easily duplicated at a pool farm.
You won’t end up with fake versions but it’s hard to get your hands on when you want this specific type of Irish sea moss. Many purchase a year’s supply and make it last from harvest to harvest.
This Irish sea moss includes all of the essential minerals the body needs to function and then some!
This is why it’s important to use this a little more sparingly than lots of other supplements on the market.
What to Consider When Choosing Between Chondrus Crispus Vs. Gracilaria Sea Moss
You’re probably thinking that if both versions have such great benefits, how do you even go about choosing between the two, what’s the reason for asking sea moss vs. Irish sea moss.
Several differences can make your decision easier and help you reach your fitness and health goals.
Gracilaria moss is much more widely available. Between a longer growing season and the pool farmed versions, you can find this type of moss in almost every corner of the market with ease.
This also pushes the price much lower when you’re looking for the best cost-benefit analysis.
Irish moss is much harder to come by. The growing season is shorter and the place where the moss itself can grow is rare.
With the rarity and lower availability the price for this version is much higher and many stocks up for just a year so there’s enough to last from season to season.
Gracilaria moss with its wider availability is much cheaper than Irish moss. Most vendors offer the product for about $30 for a quarter of a pound. This lasts quite a while and gives you all the benefits of every type of moss.
Irish moss or Chondrus crispus is much more expensive. With the short growing season and rarity, most vendors will sell this for about $50 for a quarter-pound of less. The benefits are extensive and many users prefer this variety.
The idea of eating seaweed plain or blending it up in your morning smoothie can sound a little off-putting but for many the taste is minimal and you’re able to get the same benefits without sacrificing your taste buds.
There’s a slightly different taste with each variety but you can also opt for flakes and gels that can easily be added to your foods or drinks.
One of the best ways to get an idea of what you like and which you’ll prefer is to buy some small portions of different sea moss varieties and test them yourself! Your tastes and preferences will differ from anyone else and a little trial and error never hurt.
How Should I Use my Sea Moss
You’ve picked the perfect product and you’re ready to start experiencing the benefits you’ve read about online and in books. But taking a big scoop of dried sea moss as a snack or an after-dinner treat doesn’t seem like the best way to experience the product.
Rather than venture out into a series of trial and error experiments, we’ve got some practical application methods available for you here! You’ll be able to easily set yourself up for success and start to see your body become more healthy and fit with each dose.
Sea Moss Gel
Transforming your dried sea moss from a plant to a gel is one way to make sure you can easily incorporate the benefit packed product into nearly every area of your diet and health. The recipe to get this done is simple!
Start by prepping your sea moss. Remove it from the package and rinse it with filtered or spring water.
Fill a bowl with water and put your sea moss in to soak for 4-8 hours.
When you remove the product from the package, there will be a slight smell but this is harmless and should be expected!
Drain the water from the bowl and as you do you’ll notice that the sea moss has lost some of its colors and become almost translucent.
It will also have expanded to almost 2 times its original size.
Add the sea moss and the fresh or filtered water to a blender and combine for 1-2 minutes until it’s completely smooth.
Put it into a glass jar and top it off with a lid. Let it solidify in the fridge for several hours until it’s a more gelatinous mixture.
Once you’ve created the gel you’ll be able to add it to your foods or drinks however you want or need to get the benefits it provides. This is the most common way to consume the Irish or sea moss and gives you the benefits without adding extra ingredients or pulling away from the essential function.
The high levels of iodine within the product itself means you should always use caution when using and consuming Irish moss and other sea moss products.
You can use this gel as a thickener for soups and stews as well as an additive for smoothies and other meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Taking a new supplement, even an all-natural one like sea moss has its risks and you should always check with your doctor or health care provider before starting something new. Before heading to your doctor, you want to be sure you have all the information possible about your new supplement.
We’ll go through and answer some frequently asked questions so you can have all the information at your fingertips before diving into this enterprise.
Is there a difference between sea moss and Irish moss?
These are often used as interchangeable terms but they refer to the two main varieties of seaweed on the health care market, genus gracilaria, and Chondrus crispus.
Chondrus is known as Irish moss and its main health benefit is the amount of potassium chloride in the product.
This potassium chloride is great for dissolving phlegm often found in the mucous membranes which relieve inflammation.
Sea moss or genus gracilaria is an excellent immune booster and fights off colds and flu-like symptoms regularly.
How can you tell what might be fake Irish moss?
With the spike in popularity, many companies have started producing a fake version of the supplement to cash in on the trend. These products may look similar to the real thing but won’t offer the benefits that real, naturally grown sea moss will.
Irish moss is less likely to be faked than the gracilaria version but there are still imposters out in the world.
Irish moss grows with a dark color that seems to be almost purple with some dark green parts visible as well.
Always look at the items that are added to the package. Salt of any variety including rock or table salt grains isn’t ever added to real Irish moss. There is a good chance that you will find sand in the package and this is a good sign that the product is real Irish moss.
Can Irish moss go bad?
When you buy anything fresh, there’s a chance it will go bad. However, most of the products on the market and what’s most useful for people is dried Irish moss which is much easier to keep without it going bad.
Any other sea moss varieties you pick up should be dried to make sure you don’t need to deal with mold or bad products.
Once your moss products are dried and sealed, they’ll last a very long time without an expiration date. Be sure to store it in a jar that has an airtight seal to keep it from going stale although it won’t go bad.
How much Irish moss should I use?
This all depends on what type of application you’ll be using the moss for. Before using the moss for a brew you’ll need to rehydrate it.
The typical proportions are between 1.25-4 grams of moss to 25 liters of brew.
You can simply measure out a full teaspoon of moss as an ingredient to keep the complexity of the whole preparation to a minimum.
Why is my Irish moss turning brown?
Most people who want to use Irish moss purchase pre-dried products there are a few enterprising people who want to grow their own. It takes a high level of moisture and soil that will drain effectively to get moss to grow correctly.
If the ground gets too dry or there are low moisture content parts of the plant can begin to dry out and turn brown. For all of the effort and hassle that goes into growing your Irish moss, finding and purchasing pre-dried Irish moss cuts your time down by quite a bit.
You probably don’t think much of the algae, seaweed, and sea moss that washes up onshore. But by overlooking this product, you’re looking right past a gold mine of health benefits and worthy chemicals.
There are two main forms and varieties of sea moss: gracilaria and Chondrus crispus. Both have lots of health benefits and give you plenty of nutrients and minerals for your everyday health.
Chondrus or Irish moss is high in potassium chloride which helps dissolve phlegm from your mucous membranes.
Graciliara boosts your immune health giving you a better way to fight off colds and flu-like symptoms.
Preparing your sea moss isn’t hard! While most people eschew eating it plain, you can consume it that way in moderation.
The most common preparation is to blend it into a gel that can be used as a thickener or added to your next smoothie or meal. If you’re living that vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or even just struggling to get your iron count up, adding in small amounts of sea moss can help you boost those counts and keep you healthy.
Don’t overlook the health benefits of the all-natural products!
While the packaging may not be as flashy, the benefits of Irish and sea moss are highly touted across the health supplement realm!