What Are the Side Effects of Sea Moss? Differentiating Carrageenan from Poligeenan


What Are the Side Effects of Sea Moss
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What is Sea Moss?

In the advent of nutritious food diets, Irish sea moss is added to the list of superfoods that one can add to their diet. It became more popular when Dr. Sebi promoted its benefits. Dr. Sebi takes a strong stand that sea moss is essential to the body. It has limitless benefits that can be observed in his physiology. 

Furthermore, Irish sea moss is also a hot topic in the research field because of its high nutrient content. Likewise, with its controversial carrageenan property, which we will also look into later in this article. 

Sea moss as a superfood is packed with many trace minerals that are very helpful to the daily function of the body. It comes in just the right amount that taking sea moss cuts the burden of taking more supplements to meet the daily nutritional needs of the body. 

A few of the nutrients found in sea moss are:

  1. 92 micronutrients
  2. Fucoxanthin
  3. Fibre-rich
  4. Iodine Source
  5. Vitamin B Source
  6. Iron
  7. Magnesium
  8. Zinc

A simple background of Irish sea moss, it is a red alga native to the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Irish sea moss was used by the Irish for cough remedy and libido functions. Jamaicans and some North American people are also familiar with this sea moss. 

You can check out Earthbal Blog on sea moss as a superfood if you are interested in learning more about Irish Sea Moss. The blog gives a comprehensive property and benefits of the ocean superfood

Sea Moss Herbs

While most herbs are found on drylands, Irish sea moss is one of the few ocean herbs that has essentially limitless benefits. It can be used not just to improve the immune system, it is also helpful in having stronger muscles, healthier skin, and better mental health. 

While it may not be as known as a herb, it actually functions as one. It can also be prepared by drying and making it into an Irish sea moss powder.

Most herbs help in adding flavor to many dishes, Irish sea moss herbs are more frequently used to naturally thicken sauces and soup dishes. It also has a natural distinct taste that is helpful in making baked goods tasty. 

It may not be like the usual herbs that we use, sea moss herbs are also packed with nutrients that can help the body in its cleansing and maintenance. 

Precaution in taking Irish sea moss should be observed by pregnant women and people with a high risk of developing thyroid abnormalities because Irish sea moss has a high volume of iodine in it. 

Read Article: how much sea moss can you take daily

Irish Sea Moss Benefits 

Irish sea moss benefits are potentially limitless. Because of how much nutrients it carries, a sea moss a day can already provide a great number of vitamins and minerals to the body. Many studies agree that Irish sea moss benefits the body. It does not only provide sufficient micronutrients, it also helps in revitalizing the intracellular state of the cells. [1]

  1. Aids Digestion
  2. Supports Immune System
  3. Maintains Neurologica Health
  4. Helps production of hormones T3 and T4
  5. Improves Skin health

Aids Digestion

Irish sea moss is loaded with metabolism boosters that consequently helps process digestion in the body,  even at the cellular level. The probiotic and fucoxanthin found in sea moss helps in processing food in the gut. Probiotics are good bacteria that aids breakdown of food. While fucoxanthin helps in fat storage and processing. 

Supports Immune System

Irish sea moss has many properties that help it boost the immune system of the body. Sea moss likewise keeps the body away from disease through its high nutritional value.

Sea moss has these characteristics that help the body develop stronger defenses against foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria. 

  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticoagulant, and
  • Contains Probiotic

Maintains Neurologica Health 

Research suggests that Irish sea moss has a neuroprotective property. This is in a form of stress alleviation which helps the neurons and the brain to function. The same study suggests an observed improvement in Parkinson’s Disease when using Irish Sea Moss. It is quoted, “C. Crispus, might find promising pharmaceutical applications for the development of potential novel anti-neurodegenerative drugs for humans.” [2]

Helps Production of Hormones T3 and T4 

Irish Sea Moss is rich in iodine. This mineral is the precursor mineral for the production of T3 and T4 hormones. These hormones are essential for muscle function and coordination, so as brain function. A lack of iodine may cause psychological changes, especially with mood regulations.[3

Improves Skin health

Irish sea moss is a collagen-rich food. Vitamin A, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Magnesium are also found in Irish sea moss. With these nutrients, skin elasticity is improved. Topical Irish sea moss can also hydrate the skin as it absorbs faster because of its natural properties. [3

Here are just a few benefits of sea moss. You may also read more on Irish sea moss benefits

Types of Sea Moss in the Market

Irish moss powder and Irish sea moss capsule are Irish sea moss available in the market. These two have gathered popularity because of their concentration and relatively cheaper price. These are also readily available in many online stores. 

They come at different concentrations and prices too which can make us confused. 


A little guide in buying, check these things first before deciding what to buy. 

  1. How product was prepared
  2. Source of the product
  3. Treatment of the product
  4. Manufacturing and packing information

By checking these things, you can minimize the chances of buying synthesis Irish sea moss which can be harmful rather than helpful to the body. 

Irish Moss Powder

Irish moss powder is more used as a household ingredient rather than a medicinal product. It is often used in making sauces, soup, and thickeners. Some make use of Irish Moss Powder to concoct an Irish sea moss gel.

With its growing demand, more and more companies are making their own Irish moss powder and some of them use synthetic means to craft an Irish Moss Powder. 

Others employ harmful means like acid treatment in order to hasten the process of dehydration. By using this method, Irish sea moss actually loses its beneficial properties. Those listed above will be chemically altered into harmful substances that can trigger diseases. 

An example is a carrageenan which is widely accepted as edible and beneficial to the body. However, if treated in an acidic environment with a pH below 0, it can become poligeenan which is carcinogenic and toxic to the body. We will talk about this in the latter part of the article.

The source of Irish sea moss should likewise be considered as there is more and more sea moss that is not naturally grown and has high levels of GMOs.

Irish moss powder can retain its full nutrients if processed naturally. Even in its powdered form, Irish moss can still have the nutrients listed about and have the fullest benefits like a regular newly harvested Irish sea moss. 

Irish Sea Moss Capsule

Irish sea moss capsules should be checked according to the guidelines. What’s more? Make it more comprehensive. Because capsuled Irish sea moss is more concentrated than regular dried sea moss, the high probability of having additives is higher. 

However, the Irish sea moss capsule is not 100% unhealthy. Irish sea moss capsules are more for people who need it medically. Since it is more concentrated, it can target the necessary abnormalities more specifically.

Taking the Irish sea moss capsule should be on a prescription basis and not just for personal discrepancy because the outcome and side effects may be severe. 

Other Forms of Sea Moss in the Market

Other than powder and capsule form of sea moss, there are still other forms of sea moss old in the market such as: 

Steamed

This is the freshest version and also the most recommended form of sea moss to take. However, since sea moss also has a short shelf life, this form is often just available near the source of sea moss.

Dried

Dried sea moss is the form in which most sea mosses are sold in the market. However, not all dried sea moss is healthy. One should always be aware of how the sea moss was processed. Always avoid acid-treated sea moss because it contains degraded carrageenan which is harmful to the body. 

Gel

Sea moss gel is a topical or food additive. It is usually used as food thickeners or jam base  It is also a natural face mask because of its natural collagen. Sea moss gel has a good absorption rate because of its natural properties. 

What are the Side Effects of Sea Moss?

There are essentially no side effects of sea moss recorded if it is consumed at an appropriate amount. Sea moss is recorded to be generally safe for consumption at normal amounts. 

The side effects of sea moss are from its iodine content. Since Irish sea moss is basically an iodine superfood that is also known to help in thyroid function, eating too much sea moss can lead to iodine toxicity. 

“Excessive amount of Irish sea moss = too much iodine than necessary.”

Too much iodine consumption can make the thyroid gland to function abnormally. It can activate hyperthyroidism or can even lead to carcinoma of the thyroid. 

While these serious diseases can arise due to the accumulation of a disproportionate amount of iodine, other side effects of sea moss may also arise due to the allergic reaction of the body. This is something that can be due to heredity. 

Symptoms include:

  1. Nausea and vomiting
  2. Irritated skin and itchiness
  3. Reddening of skin

If you experience any of these side effects, inform your doctor and stop the use of sea moss immediately. [4

Carrageenan vs Poligeenan vs Degraded Carrageenan

Another hot topic regarding sea moss is the possibility of having carrageenan. 

In fact, sea moss by its nature really has carrageenan but this is not what can cause a carcinogenic build up in the body.

In definition, carrageenan is defined as “is a common food additive that has been widely used for decades as a gelling, thickening and stabilizing agent.” 

The debate on whether carrageenan is harmful or not has actually been solved and concluded. It states that carrageenan is safe for human consumption. Then, why is there still debate over it? 

The discussion on its safety roots from the confusion in terms. Carrageenan in its original form, which is also found in untreated sea moss is studied to be safe for humans. However, the product of intentional acid-hydrolysis of carrageenan, degraded carrageenan and poligeenan are the products that are harmful to the human system. 

In a research, it is stated that “[the] confusion was due to the nomenclature used in early studies on CGN, where poligeenan was referred to as “degraded carrageenan” (d-CGN) and “degraded carrageenan” was simply referred to as carrageenan. Although this nomenclature has been corrected, confusion still exists resulting in misinterpretation of data and the subsequent dissemination of incorrect information regarding the safe dietary use of CGN.”  [5]

RIsk of Poligeenan vs Carrageenan

In a meta-analysis, carrageenan post no harm to the body. It also does not affect digestion because of its natural property which prevents it to be absorbed by the GIT. 

While poligeenan is found to generate lesions in the GI tract and even to the extent of being tumorigenic. Since the molecular structure of poligeenan is different from carrageenan, it is absorbed in the GIT and reaches the cell of other organs like the liver. 

Long term exposure from poligeenan can cause:

  1. Lesion or Ulcer in the GIT
  2. Carcinogenic
  3. Possibility of being a tumor promoter

With this information, now you can head you get your hands on that superfood.

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