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Is Sea Moss Good for Diabetes?

Sea moss, also called Irish moss or Carrageen moss, is a type of red algae that grows along the Atlantic coasts. This edible sea plant is currently in the spotlight for its newly discovered tremendous health benefits.

Although research on the benefits of sea moss for diabetes is still lacking, many people claim that taking sea moss regularly helps improve diabetes management.

Let’s investigate and find out what sea moss can really do for diabetes.  

Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening complications. Do not substitute your medical treatment for sea moss. Always ask for your doctor's advice first.

Sea moss for diabetics

8 Benefits of Sea Moss for Diabetics

The benefits of sea moss come from its natural compounds. Not all sea mosses are equal. Like with seaweed, the types and amount of macronutrients found in sea moss are highly variable depending on the environment in which it has grown. Purchase certified organic wildcrafted sea moss products only, like the ones from Organics Nature.

Our St. Lucian Raw Sea Moss is 100% Wildcrafted and Organic.

Here are 8 ways in which Irish moss may help you fight diabetes:

Lower blood sugar and decrease insulin resistance

The question of whether or not sea moss lowers blood sugar is still controversial. While there's no scientific evidence that taking Irish moss helps lower blood glucose, the macronutrients it contains have proven to play essential roles in blood sugar management.

Sea moss contains 92 of the 102 minerals found in our body, including high amounts of zinc and magnesium. These two minerals have a direct impact on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

Magnesium works directly with insulin receptors. Studies have found that a lack of magnesium in the body increases insulin resistance. Ultimately, consuming magnesium in foods or supplements is proven to increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetic patients.

Zinc is another essential mineral for diabetes management and patients with diabetes are often found to have a zinc deficiency. Access to natural zinc like the one found in sea moss plays a crucial role in blood sugar control. Zinc supplements help improve HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin, the average blood glucose levels over three months) both in type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

Additionally, recent studies conducted on humans and animals have found that fucoxanthin and alginate, two natural compounds found in seaweed and sea moss, reduce high blood sugar and prevent prandial blood sugar spikes.

Improve thyroid function and reduce risks of diabetic kidney disease

Sea moss may also be beneficial for diabetics thanks to its high iodine content. Iodine is a mineral that is essential for the thyroid function which is closely related to diabetes.

Indeed, evidence suggests a close relationship between diabetes and thyroid disorders. This small gland located in the front of the neck produces hormones that are vital for your metabolism. Both hyperthyroidism (the thyroid produces too many hormones) and hypothyroidism (the thyroid produces too few hormones) have impacts on diabetes and blood sugars. Research has even found that when thyroid hormone levels are too low, the risks of developing diabetes increase.  

Besides, studies have shown that iodine deficiency in diabetic patients may increase the risks of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), one of the most common yet serious diabetes complications. 

Thyroid dysfunction has a direct impact on insulin production and blood sugar levels. An underactive thyroid often causes hunger, low body temperature, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Ultimately, these symptoms can increase blood sugar levels. 

The iodine naturally found in sea moss is absolutely essential for thyroid function, as the gland can't produce hormones without iodine. The body does not make iodine itself, so this mineral must be brought through diet and supplements like sea moss or other seaweeds such as kelp, nori, kombu, or wakame. Fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy products also contain good levels of iodine. An iodine-rich diet is very important for diabetics.

Adults are recommended to take about 150 micrograms of iodine daily. Sea moss is one of the ingredients with the highest iodine content you can find. One serving of sea moss per day (about two tablespoons) is enough regarding iodine intake. Consuming too much iodine may have the opposite effect and can lead to an overactive thyroid function. 

Related article: Find out how much sea moss you should take daily

Promote weight loss and prevent obesity

Multiple studies suggest that taking sea moss regularly helps with weight loss. Sea moss may help you lose weight in many ways:

  • It increases the feeling of fullness and satiety giving the signal that you’ve had enough food for what your body needs. It helps prevent binge eating.
  • It reduces body fat and helps prevent weight gain and obesity.
  • It improves digestion and gut health acting like a prebiotic.
  • It gives energy for the workout and physical exercises, essential for weight loss and diabetes management.

Weight and type 2 diabetes are closely related. Weight loss has a direct, proven, and huge impact on diabetes management. Weight control is even a part of diabetes therapies. Statistics show that blood glucose levels are improved after losing as little as 2% of your body weight.

Besides lowering your sugars and increasing your insulin sensitivity, taking sea moss within a diabetes-friendly diet can help you lose weight, which ultimately helps control your blood sugar levels even better! 

Sea moss is low in calories, contains almost zero fat, and has very few carbohydrates. It’s high in dietary fibers which decrease your food glycemic index and help better manage diabetes. To give you an example, one serving (15g) of Organics Nature’s wildcrafted sea moss gel contains:

  • Calories: 10
  • Fat: 0g
  • Total carbohydrates: 2g
  • Dietary fibers: 1g

Related article: Zoom in on sea moss' nutrition facts

Lower bad cholesterol and decrease risks of heart diseases 

People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease than people without diabetes. Interestingly, besides all its direct benefits for diabetes, sea moss may also help decrease the risks of diabetes’ most common coexistent health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol levels.

Very little research has been conducted on the benefits of sea moss for the heart for the time being, but similar seaweed studies found that it may lower LDL cholesterol and act as a blood thinner. So, eating sea moss regularly may help prevent heart disease. 

 

Sea Moss & Diabetes: FAQ

The effects of sea moss on diabetes aren’t fully understood yet and it may take a few more years to get some perspective. Remember that diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening complications. Ask for your doctor's advice before trying new alternative treatments. Meanwhile, here are a few facts about sea moss for diabetics:

Can diabetics take sea moss?

Sea moss is considered generally safe for consumption and is known to have few risks and side effects if taken in reasonable quantities. There’s no known contraindication for diabetics, but they must be aware of certain common risks and side effects.

Excessive iodine intake may be dangerous and lead to poisoning and hyperthyroidism which could also impact your diabetes. Studies and frequent users suggest that you should not take more than 10 grams of sea moss per day. 

Diabetics who take blood-thinning medications should not take sea moss. In any case, if you have any chronic condition or take any medicine, always ask for your doctor’s advice before taking sea moss.

Can sea moss cure diabetes?

No. Sea moss cannot cure diabetes. Science has not found any cure for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes yet.

If taken regularly, sea moss may help manage diabetes, control blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, lose weight, and reduce risks of heart and kidney complications.

Stopping your diabetes medications can be very dangerous. Sea moss is not meant to replace your medical treatment but may be used as a complementary supplement.

Can sea moss help with diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is one of diabetes' most common complications. This type of nerve damage primarily affects the hands and feet and can be extremely debilitating.

There’s very little research on the benefits of sea moss for neuropathy. One study called “neuroprotective effects of the cultivated Chondrus Crispus in a C.elegans Model of Parkinson's disease" suggests that sea moss may help with nerve damage. That's all there is on the topic.

However, sea moss is a good natural source of Vitamin B12 known to help with nerve function and red blood cell production. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the causes of peripheral neuropathy. Taking sea moss regularly helps increase Vitamin B12 intake which could help lower neuropathic progression and nerve pain.  

Can sea moss be taken with Metformin?

Metformin is a type 2 diabetes medication that helps lower blood sugar levels. There's no known contraindication between sea moss and metformin, although you should ask for your doctor's advice first.

Metformin may cause Vitamin B12 deficiency. Sea moss contains high levels of Vitamin B12, so it may help balance out some of Metformin's negative effects.  

Overall, the effects of sea moss on diabetes show great promise, although further scientific research is still needed to back them up.

References:

- Takaya J, Higashino H, Kobayashi Y. Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance. Magnes Res. 2004 Jun;17(2):126-36. PMID: 15319146. 

Mikami N, Hosokawa M, Miyashita K, Sohma H, Ito YM, Kokai Y. Reduction of HbA1c levels by fucoxanthin-enriched akamoku oil possibly involves the thrifty allele of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1): a randomised controlled trial in normal-weight and obese Japanese adults. J Nutr Sci. 2017 Feb 14;6:e5. doi: 10.1017/jns.2017.1. PMID: 28620480; PMCID: PMC5465861.

- Vaugelade P, Hoebler C, Bernard F, Guillon F, Lahaye M, Duee PH, Darcy-Vrillon B. Non-starch polysaccharides extracted from seaweed can modulate intestinal absorption of glucose and insulin response in the pig. Reprod Nutr Dev. 2000 Jan-Feb;40(1):33-47. doi: 10.1051/rnd:2000118. PMID: 10737549.

- Chen C, Chen Y, Zhai H, Xia F, Han B, Zhang W, Wang Y, Wan H, Wang N, Lu Y. Iodine nutrition status and its association with microvascular complications in urban dwellers with type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2020 Aug 17;17:70. doi: 10.1186/s12986-020-00493-5. PMID: 32821267; PMCID: PMC7433180.

- Magalhaes KD, Costa LS, Fidelis GP, Oliveira RM, Nobre LT, Dantas-Santos N, Camara RB, Albuquerque IR, Cordeiro SL, Sabry DA, Costa MS, Alves LG, Rocha HA. Anticoagulant, antioxidant and antitumor activities of heterofucans from the seaweed Dictyopteris delicatula. Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(5):3352-65. doi: 10.3390/ijms12053352. Epub 2011 May 23. PMID: 21686189; PMCID: PMC3116195.

- Liu J, Banskota AH, Critchley AT, Hafting J, Prithiviraj B. Neuroprotective effects of the cultivated Chondrus crispus in a C. elegans model of Parkinson's disease. Mar Drugs. 2015 Apr 14;13(4):2250-66. doi: 10.3390/md13042250. PMID: 25874922; PMCID: PMC4413210.

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