Is sea moss good for acid reflux?
What are some other health benefits of sea moss supplements?
Sea moss (Chondrus crispus), also known as Irish moss, due to its red color, is an edible plant that grows in tidepools in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Sea moss isn’t a moss but a type of algae or seaweed. For this reason, sea moss is also known as red algae. This plant has a rich nutrient profile and is full of essential nutrients.
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Sea Moss and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
I attended pharmacy school between 1985-1988 at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. I remember one lecture where the professor poured an acidic solution into a beaker and added Gaviscon liquid. The Gaviscon floated to the top and created a barrier. This demonstration showed how Gaviscon could protect against GERD.
GERD is a common medical condition worldwide. See the diagram below. The United States population is especially prone to this disease.
Common GERD symptoms include:
- Heartburn: Especially after eating or at night
- Poor Sleep: Pain and discomfort causes night awakenings
- Trouble swallowing
- Chest pain
GERD can result in decreased work productivity and negatively impact the patient’s quality of life.2
GERD is also a risk factor for throat cancer and Barrett’s esophagus.3
What does this have to do with Sea Moss?
Gaviscon contains sodium alginate, which is also found in sea moss. Sodium alginate can form a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, protecting the esophagus from stomach acid. Typically, the top portion of the stomach has a valve-like sphincter (lower esophageal sphincter) that closes, protecting the esophagus from the acid found in the stomach. However, when this “valve” doesn’t completely close, stomach acid can leak into the esophagus, causing the pain we know as heartburn and the other symptoms listed above.
One way to treat heartburn is to form a barrier between the stomach and the esophagus: Gaviscon or sea moss can accomplish this. In addition, I always use nutritional supplements over OTC medications or prescription drugs whenever possible.
Sea Moss and Weight Loss
We have talked about weight management in previous posts. Lifestyle changes, exercise, whole foods, adequate sleep, and water intake all help keep our weight in check. Sea moss contains fiber which makes us feel full. If we aren’t hungry, we tend to eat less. Less food equals fewer calories. We all know that controlling our weight is good for our overall health.
Sea Moss and Digestive Health
Sea moss can help improve gut health. We can use it as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are substances that feed gut bacteria. To read more about the importance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, read “Probiotics, Gut-Brain Axis and Psychiatry.”
Irish moss is also high in fiber which can increase bulk in the gut and help relieve constipation and promote regular healthy bowel movements. The gentle laxative effect of sea moss provides a natural remedy for constipation. Sea moss can also help detoxify the body by removing heavy metals and toxins from the GI tract.
Red seaweed may also help relieve gas and bloating. For example, a study published in March of 2021 found the supplementation of red seaweed in cows reduced enteric methane production by more than 80%.4
Sea Moss May Help Some Thyroid Disorders
Our thyroid gland, located in the neck, is responsible for producing thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Iodine is a trace element not produced by the human body and is necessary to make these thyroid hormones. T3 and T4 are essential to promote growth and brain development in children and help regulate metabolism in adults.5
Hypothyroidism is present in about 5% of Americans aged 12 years and older.6
Hypothyroidism has many causes, including Hashimoto’s Disease (an autoimmune disorder), surgical removal of thyroid gland tissue, radiation treatment with I-131, some medications, and iodine deficiency.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight Gain
- Thinning Hair
- Depressed Mood
- Dry Skin
- Muscle Pain
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Goiter (Swollen thyroid gland
Irish moss has a high iodine content and can help relieve some thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism. However, it is important to follow dosing recommendations to avoid ingesting too much iodine.7
Sea Moss and Nutrition
Sea moss is packed with vitamins and essential minerals. The rich zinc content of Irish moss and vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and folate can help support the immune system. In addition, sea moss has b vitamins to help increase energy levels and contains antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress at the cellular level. Sea moss also contains vitamin k, which helps blood clotting and helps build strong bones. Irish moss is also a rich iron source. Iron is vital for red blood cell production, is essential for a healthy pregnancy, and can improve athletic performance.8
Sea moss has many health benefits. This edible plant can help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux and is an excellent digestive aid. It can help with weight loss by creating a feeling of fullness due to its fiber content. Irish moss is a prebiotic that helps feed bacteria in the gut, promoting a healthy digestive system. Thyroid issues resulting from a lack of iodine can also be helped by consuming sea moss. Sticking to the recommended dosage is essential because too much iodine can also be detrimental to health.
Sea moss is a nutritious food containing many essential vitamins and minerals. It has fewer side effects than OTC or prescription drugs. Irish moss is also high in antioxidants.
Sunshine Nutraceuticals has recently added sea moss to our product line. Our supplement contains 500mg Organic Irish Moss, 500mg Organic Bladderwrack, 400mg Organic Burdock and 5mg BioPerine per serving (2 capsules).
If you have any questions about sea moss or any other nutraceutical supplement, feel free to contact me. My contact information is available in the author box below.
- El-Serag HB, Sweet S, Winchester CC, Dent J. Update on the epidemiology of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review. Gut. 2014;63(6):871-880. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2012-304269
- Liker H, Hungin AP, Wiklund I. Management of reflux disease in primary care: the patient perspective. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2005;18:393–400.
- Dent J. Barrett's esophagus: a historical perspective, an update on core practicalities and predictions on future evolutions of management. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;26:11–30.
- Roque, Breanna M., et al. "Red seaweed (Asparagopsis taxiformis) supplementation reduces enteric methane by over 80 percent in beef steers." PLoS One 16.3 (2021): e0247820.
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the thyroid gland work? 2010 Nov 17 [Updated 2018 Apr 19]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279388/
- Patil N, Rehman A, Jialal I. Hypothyroidism. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing; 2020. Updated August 10, 2020. Accessed January 5, 2021. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519536
- Darius-Rosales J, Rubio C, Gutiérrez ÁJ, Paz S, Hardison A. Risk assessment of iodine intake from the consumption of red seaweeds (Palmaria palmata and Chondrus crispus). Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Dec;27(36):45737-45741. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-020-10478-9. Epub 2020 Aug 15. PMID: 32803579.