This may sound a bit strange to those of us who have been consuming Sea Moss for a while now. However, a Sea Moss allergy, or speaking more widely, an allergic reaction to seaweed is a possible thing.
Can it make you sick? Under certain conditions, it is possible that some people can experience reactions that they aren’t ready for.
If you have an experience that you would like to share with your use of Sea Moss, good or otherwise, please let everyone know through the comments at the bottom of this article.
Sea Moss Allergy, Is there such a thing?
So where did the inspiration for this article come from?
One of our Readers left a comment on our article, the Sea Moss Ultimate Guide that read:
I ate too much of it. Which lead to projectile vomiting a later especially explosive diarrhea. I won’t be consuming as much on the future!
However after expelling everything I feel energized and surprisingly well. I like to consume everything I eat raw ( veggies garlic etc).
How do I know how much to eat? Should I weight it?
Because before I ate too much I felt pretty nice. Even now after I puked and spewed everything out I feel GREAT!
I noticed as well that I puked out stuff I didn’t recognize, and I feel like whatever it was it was toxins stored in my gut.
I would prefer to eat it raw rather than make a concoction. Is this wise if I can gauge the right amount?Leroy
I would like to say ‘Thank you for the candid comment and your question, Leroy.’ There are a few things to unpack here, so let’s take our time as we walk through the various aspects.
Let me start by saying that this content is not medical advice. Anything published here is for information purposes only and may help when discussing matters with suitably qualified professionals.
Sea Moss Allergy
An allergic reaction to seaweed, including Sea Moss, is a possible thing. But there are certain considerations to make.
Interestingly, the first reported case of a food allergy that was published in connection to seaweed was included in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 1
I think we can agree that food allergies, generally speaking, are on the rise. It’s reasonable to assume that we all know someone who struggles with allergic reactions peanuts, lactose, gluten, shellfish or even avocados. 2
Did you know that if someone has an allergy to avocado they are very likely to also have an allergy to latex?
Specifically looking at seaweed, however, this is a much lesser-known thing to date.
That may be attributed to the number of people who make seaweed a part of their normal diet and the volume consumed. Hence, a larger sample size and more study would be likely to provide interesting data.
Is it an Allergic Reaction or Poisoning?
For quite a while it was a common belief that unless the seaweed was of a particularly poisonous nature that the chances of a person having some type of reaction were practically negligible.
It is also worth noting that some species of seaweed can contain other contaminants like high levels of inorganic arsenic. This is the case with Sargassum fusiforme, also known as Hijiki, as highlighted within the Australian Food Standards. 8 9 10
This makes choosing a source of seaweed that is known from a species perspective just as important as it is free from pollutants and harmful chemicals.
Food-related poisoning, allergic reactions, and intolerance will have different consequences depending upon a range of factors, and for some people, the reactions can be serious.
The list of variables related to these is too expansive to go into specific detail here conclusively. But I’ll touch on a few common things to consider that I think could be relevant in this situation.
Considering more than just pollutants
Many people have immediate concerns about toxic substances that may be found in open ocean waters, and the presence of man-made pollutants. However, there can be naturally occurring bacteria and microorganisms that are just as harmful, if not, more harmful.
The presence of marine pathogens in seaweed can include fungi, viruses, bacteria and protozoa. All of which can have serious effects on people.
Testing for disease-producing microorganisms and their toxins is a proactive way that a responsible supplier can take steps to that exposure ensure risks are managed.
Being exposed to these through ingestion will trigger mild to severe reactions, some of which include those described in the question asked above.
Given that simply being exposed to contaminated seawater can present serious concerns, consuming seaweed that has come from contaminated waters can be dangerous too. 11
I have visited places that are Instagram-worthy where Sea Moss is grown for human consumption, only to turn down buying seaweed from them due to infrastructure concerns and water quality challenges.
Domestic runoff is often overlooked by people selling Sea Moss online, yet the impact of human fecal matter in the waters can be catastrophic. Left unchecked, this could make a person very sick.
Purging and Cleansing
When you ingest something that your body doesn’t like, puking and encountering explosive diarrhea, as you put it, are the primary ways the body tries to rid itself of harmful things. 12
Think of these as the body’s emergency exits. The quicker the bad stuff is ejected from the system, the quicker the body can begin working on returning to a balanced state.
A Sea Moss allergy could trigger something like this, but I’m more inclined to think that it’s likely to be some form of contaminant you may have ingested.
The degree of violence that puking as a reaction goes, through can be so intense that the stomach walls can be seriously injured in extreme cases.
The effects of stomach acid on the throat can be uncomfortable, to say the least. Working to avoid this type of bodily reaction is a default setting in my consciousness. 13
If you are looking to purge toxins from your body, there are much less invasive ways from fasting through to ion-water detoxification treatments.
EWWW! That was in my body?
You mentioned that what you saw in your puke you’d identified as what you believed to be stored toxins that had been ejected from your body. That’s completely possible.
Did you know that the colour of the vomit can signify something about what is going on in the body? 14
As anyone who has looked into what something like a parasite cleanse, water fasting, juice fasting, a gallbladder flush and the like could tell you, it’s worrying to think that that stuff was in your body. 15
One thing that I’ve found is that there is increasing evidence that people aren’t drinking enough clean water. As a way to help your body gently detox, keeping your hydration up is a good idea.
I’m not going to dwell on this much more. I’m sure that if you’re truly interested in looking deeper into the topic you’ll find information that is detailed enough.
I would suggest that consuming Sea Moss which you believe triggered the reaction you described, regardless of how good you say felt afterwards, warrants further medical advice. And, I’d probably stop taking it too.
Eating Seaweed Raw
You said that you prefer to eat your food raw, and I get that. I believe that there is enough evidence to support the nutritional and energetic value of raw foods.
We have a few raw recipes online that you might find interesting. My number one is our Raw Red Velvet cake which is completely plant-based and contains Sea Moss.
How do I know how much Seaweed is safe to eat?
I’ve been eating seaweed and adding it to various dishes for quite a long time. One thing I look forward to is being able to enjoy a fresh seaweed salad, made with the Sea Moss we sell, as taken fresh from the ocean.
This seaweed salad, as made by Mr Hai’s wife on my last visit to their open ocean seaweed farm, was fresh and crisp.
The light taste of the Sea Moss which was mixed with finely shredded green papaya, toasted peanuts, kong kang and a little Vietnamese mint was something I enjoyed.
The serving I had during this meal would have been around 8 to 10 ounces of Sea Moss. Afterwards, I didn’t feel anything like what you described, thankfully. I felt like the meal sat light in my stomach and my hunger was satisfied.
Currently, I would estimate that I’m adding about 1/3 of a cup of Sea Moss Gel to various things throughout my day (I tend to go through stages where I use a lot more sometimes compared to other times). And the same thing goes here; I’m not feeling anything untoward.
As far as suggestions on how much you should consume, that’s more a point of conversation I believe you should discuss with your Dietitian.
Once you have an idea of what works for you to meet your nutritional needs, weighing it is the best option. Keep in mind that if you’re getting this in a dried form it will hold a lot of water once it is rehydrated. That water content will subsequently change the nutritional density when you look at the ratios.
I can’t offer you nutritional advice on this as I’m not in a position to, and I would suggest that if there is anything close to a Sea Moss allergy that you may have, speak to a specialist who can see you face to face.
I hope that this has been helpful.
- “Seaweed allergy” – I. Thomas, L. Q.C. Siew, T. J. Watts, R. Haque, 21 November 2018 [Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Dealing with an Avocado Allergy” – E. Carey, G. Whitworth, 8 March 2019 [healthline] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Food allergy” – Mayo Clinic Staff, 2 November 2019 [Mayo Clinic] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Food Poisoning” – C. Stephens, M. Selner, 7 March 2019 [healthline] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Food Intolerance” – ASCIA Staff, 4 May 2019 [ASCIA] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Lyngbya majuscula Harvey ex Gomont, 1892” – World Register of Marine Species, 5 September 2012 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Handbook of Marine Microalgae – Chapter 34 – An Overview of Harmful Algal Blooms on Marine Organisms” – P. Manivasagan, S. K. Kim, 8 May 2015 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Arsenic” – CDC, November 2009 [CDC] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Sargassum fusiforme (Harvey) Setchell 1931” – M.D. Guiry, 7 May 1999 [AlgaeBase] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Imported food risk statement Hijiki seaweed and inorganic arsenic” – FSANZ Staff, June 2016 [Food Standards Australia & New Zealand] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Marine pathogens” – M. Lepesteur, G. Rooney, 13 September 2016 [Australian Online Costal Information] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Food poisoning: An alphabetical guide to the bugs that cause it and how you can avoid it” – J. Lowinger, 11 July 2016 [ABC] [Archive] ↩︎
- “5 Reasons Why Your Throat May Be Burning” – S. Gillson, J. Carew, 12 October 2021 [VeryWell Health] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Green, Yellow, Brown, and More: What Does the Color of My Vomit Mean?” – S. Sethi, A. Marcin, 12 March 2018 [healthline] [Archive] ↩︎
- “Liver Flukes” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 January 2019 [CDC] [Archive] ↩︎
Last Updated on 4 days by D&C Editorial Team