TikTok is the social media platform that keeps on giving. It has declared our summer drink, given us some solid haircare tips, and hell, it even provided us with a killer shrimp recipe. And while we’re willing to at least try some of the suggestions the app throws at us, some require us to contact the professionals before we fully get on the bandwagon. Such is the case with TikTok’s latest obsession: eating sea moss.
TikTok Fact Check: We Asked a Dietitian If Eating Sea Moss Will Really Clear Up Our Acne
First, What Are The Benefits Of Sea Moss?
According to some TikTokers, sea moss is an absolute superfood that contains 90 percent of the minerals your body needs. It’s got the power to clear your skin, improve your gut health, even regulate periods, so they say. And it turns out, the folks on TikTok are right about this one.
“It is commonly known that sea moss contains 90 percent of the minerals needed to sustain life,” Reda Elmardi, registered dietician, ISSA certified nutritionist and owner of thegymgoat.com tells us. “This includes calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, sodium, chlorine, bromine, iodine, sulfur, phosphorous, silica and so many others.”
Here are five benefits of eating sea moss:
1. It may aid in weight loss. Sea moss is high in protein and low in fat, which makes it a good plant to consume for those who want to lose weight. It also contains fiber, which keeps you fuller for longer and far away from the bad snacks.
2. It can help regulate your thyroid. Sea moss is rich in iodine, which helps regulate thyroid function. Iodine is also necessary for proper brain development and cognitive functions.
3. It might slow the progression of Parkinson’s. While more research is still needed on this, a study on worms found that extract from sea moss decreased the accumulation of a-synuclein—a neuronal protein linked to Parkinson’s Disease—and reduce stiffness and slowness of movement which are both symptoms of the disease.
4. It’s a natural diuretic. Consuming sea moss draws water from your body, making you urinate often and keeping your system nice and clean.
5. It can boost your immunity. Like we said before, this little plant is chock full of minerals and vitamins. It’s loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and vitamin B12, which all work together to keep your body nice and healthy.
So, does eating sea moss help clear up your skin and improve energy levels?
Technically, yes. There are no studies that prove that eating sea moss directly gives you a Fenty-level, effortless glow. But, because it contains so many good nutrients, consuming some ends up being beneficial to your skin by proxy. “There is some early medical research suggesting that sea moss may benefit skin,” says DJ Mazzonni, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS and medical reviewer at Illuminate Labs. “Sea moss contains phytonutrients such as fucoidan and laminarin which have been shown to induce anti-photoaging properties when ingested. This means they can protect skin from damage from the sun.” Again, a definitive verdict is still out, but consuming some certainly doesn’t hurt.
People who consume sea moss may also feel as though they’re a bit more active because it contains a good amount of iron, which is known to boost your energy. Sea moss also has a lot of fiber, which slows the down the glucose release into your system so you may notice that your energy levels are more consistent after eating, as opposed having a huge energy spike then crashing.
What Are The Downsides Of Eating Sea Moss?
Though sea moss is a nutrient-rich food, there are some pitfalls people should watch out for. “Sea moss is quite high in iodine, which can disrupt thyroid function [if taken] in high doses. Patients with thyroid conditions may benefit from avoiding sea moss and should speak to their doctor prior to eating this food,” urges Mazzonni.
In addition, because sea moss is a product of well, the sea, you want to make sure it’s properly sourced before you begin taking copious amounts. “Sea moss can contain heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and led depending on where it’s harvested,” warns Dr. Jen Caudle in the video above. Your best bet is to do some research and then cross-reference with your doctor to make sure you’re eating the right thing.
How Do You Choose A Sea Moss Formula?
“The main consideration is to choose a sea moss gel without any harmful additive ingredients such as added sugar or artificial flavoring,” Mazzonni advises. “Consumers should choose a sea moss product from a company that provides testing data, particularly levels of heavy metals, where available.”
Still, after you’ve done your research and chosen the formula that works for you, don’t expect to be rid of all your acne and be a well of boundless energy, no matter what TikTok may say. “I wouldn't expect people to feel any benefits from taking sea moss, it's a nutritious whole food but not a miracle product,” says Mazzonni. “You don't feel benefits from eating kale, but it's still good for you.”