A study talks about the neuroprotective effects of sea moss. The presence of proteins, amino acids, peptides and pigments in sea moss help lower the accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein which is the cause of neurodegeneration.
Scientifically termed Chondrus crispus, sea moss or Irish moss or red seaweed is a type of seaweed that grows among submerged rocks off the coast. It is a whole food which is mainly harvested for the extraction of carrageenan, a polysaccharide which is responsible for the gelatinous properties of sea moss and which has wide applications in the food and cosmetic industries as a thickener, emulsifiers or stabilisers.
Sea moss grows and clings to the submerged rocks which are then harvested by pulling during the low tide. The gathered plant is dried to be used for culinary, medicinal and commercial purposes and also undergoes steps of processing to form a jelly.
Sea moss is widely distributed in the northern Atlantic. In India, sea moss can be found in southern coastal areas such as Hare Island and Gulf of Munnar. In other parts of India, it is mainly consumed in the form of supplementations or powder.
A study talks about the neuroprotective effects of sea moss. Parkinson's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder that causes selective loss of dopaminergic neurons. The presence of proteins, amino acids, peptides and pigments in sea moss help with lowering the accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein which is the cause of neurodegeneration.
Sea moss is rich in dietary fibre and oligosaccharides and is known to act as prebiotics It contributes to the good health of the gut microbiome, improves the digestive health and also the health of the immune system. Sea moss also acts as a laxative due to the presence of carrageenan and support gastrointestinal health of a person.
Sea moss contains many bioactive compounds including sulfated polysaccharides (SP) that possess strong immune-stimulant activities. A study has shown that consumption of sea moss improves both cell and humoral immune-related gene responses and boosts the immunity of a person.
Sea moss has exceptional mineral content. This superfood is high in minerals such as sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, iodine and zinc. As seafood is a marine-based food, its mineral content is 10-100 times more than those of land vegetables. These minerals primarily help with maintaining good heart health and thyroid functions.
Sea moss is rich in antioxidants and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help improve skin health by eliminating skin issues such as acne, itchy skin and ageing skin by lowering the inflammation and levels of microorganisms causing the skin conditions. Also, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and vast mineral content in sea moss promote healthy skin cell functions. This is the reason sea moss is used in many cosmetic products.
Minerals, especially iodine, potassium and magnesium play a vital role in maintaining mental and emotional health of a person. They help improve brain functions and manage emotional issues such as crankiness and mood swings along with other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Sea moss is great for treating respiratory disorders such as cough, colds, chronic coughs, bronchitis and even COVID-19 symptoms. A study has shown that sea moss has antiviral properties and may help with dislodging the mucus. This is due to the presence of lectin griffithsin, phycocolloid carrageenan and sulphated polysaccharides in sea moss.
Sea moss is rich in varieties of good minerals, along with some of the toxic metals such as arsenic, copper, mercury, cadmium and lead, 200-500 times more than those of land plants. This is the reason why seaweed must be consumed in a limited portion to prevent any potential health risk. Also, sea moss is rich in iodine and its increased consumption can cause adverse effects in the body.
However, the study also says that the toxic nature of metals is mainly due to their physical state and as these harmful metals are available in the form of seaweeds, they may not necessarily cause poisoning effects. Also, the nutritional properties and composition of minerals in sea moss depends on algae species, seasonality, locations and cultivation conditions. More research is required in the area.
Some studies say that sea moss can help improve the fertility of both men and women. It can be used as a natural sex enhancer to increase testosterone levels and sperm count in males while in females, the powerhouse of minerals and folate can promote easy conception and reproductive health.
No, sea moss is not suggested to be consumed daily due to high mineral content, both useful and harmful. The recommended daily dose of sea moss is 1-2 tablespoons.
Sea moss helps improve heart conditions, prevents respiratory disorders, boost the immune system, maintains skin health along with promoting good digestion, mental well being and overall health of a person.