Real vs FAKE sea moss - what should you look out for?

Real vs FAKE sea moss - what should you look out for?

4 minute read

Here at Oneself, we pride ourselves on the care we take in sourcing quality sea moss; we know the sea moss market is full of fake and diluted sea moss products. Let’s break down what the difference is between real sea moss and fake sea moss, and how you can tell the difference!

‘Real’ sea moss refers to a variety of species of algae abundant in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea; it could mean Irish sea moss, Gracilaria, Cottoni or a myriad of others that are true sea moss (these are the three that we use in our products). They are generally all rich in essential nutrients such as iodine, sulphur, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, E, and K.

Fake sea moss often refers to incorrect species or adulterated products marketed as sea moss but lacking genuine nutritional value, and they’re often packed with fillers!

Why it's important to make sure your sea moss is genuine

Fake sea moss may include low-grade or artificially manufactured substances that mimic the silky, gloopy appearance of real sea moss (given to it by its high carrageenan content) but don’t be fooled - it lacks the real stuff's natural composition and health benefits. These substitutes may contain additives, preservatives, or fillers to enhance texture, colour, or shelf life, meaning that the superfood you’re taking for health, might be adding a bucket of toxins.

There’s also no telling whether fake sea moss may be partly sourced from contaminated or polluted waters, posing potential health risks due to the accumulation of heavy metals, or toxins, as well as being a bad choice for the environment.

We know exactly where our sea moss comes from, what’s in it (we get up to date heavy-metal content reports from our suppliers), and exactly how it’s harvested -sustainably and cleanly! Check our more about our seamoss here.

How can you tell the difference between fake and real sea moss?

  • Source: Real seamoss is typically harvested sustainably from clean, unpolluted ocean waters, whereas fake seamoss may come from questionable or contaminated sources. If the supplier doesn’t list their origin source, it might be because they don’t know!

  • Appearance: Authentic seamoss tends to have a natural, slightly translucent appearance with varying shades of yellow, red, purple, or brown, while fake seamoss may appear unnaturally uniform in colour or texture, and tend to be pale.

  • Texture: Real seamoss has a firm yet pliable texture with a slight sliminess when rehydrated. It might be stringy and strong. Fake seamoss may feel overly stiff, rubbery, or artificially smooth. This might be due to fillers.

  • Smell: Genuine seamoss may have a subtle, oceanic scent reminiscent of seaweed, while fake seamoss might have an unusual or synthetic odour due to additives or processing.

  • Shelf life: as with all true, natural products, shelf-life will be shorter than fake sea moss! It also often costs a bit more, you really do get what you pay for.

Pool grown sea moss vs wildcrafted sea moss

Any plant harvested from its natural environment is going to be more nutritious and cleaner than its farmed counterpart. The same goes for seamoss. All of our sea moss is wildcrafted and sourced from suppliers we know and love. Whilst pool-farmed sea moss isn’t necessarily fake, it is harvested in a low quality environment such as in pools where it’s not exposed to the biodiversity and an environment that fills them up with the beneficial compounds. Here’s how you can tell pool-grown sea moss from wild-crafted sea moss.  

  • Pool sea moss tends to be thick, where wild sea moss is thinner and stringier
  • Pool sea moss is a pure colour, often uniform as it lacks other naturally occurring seaweeds, whereas wild sea moss can contain strands of other colours of seaweeds
  • So don’t be afraid of contrasting colours! It indicates having been grown in a wild and nutritious environment
  • Wild sea moss will have residues of salt, but pool sea moss will have a thick, unnatural layer of salt from the briney pools they grow in. 

If you’re leaning on sea moss for nutritional supplementation, you really want the real deal as the ‘fake’ stuff just isn’t worth it, and may, in some cases, cause more toxicity! You would probably also want to look for wild-crafted sea moss if you want premium quality (psst, our new Irish Seamoss product is premium wild-crafted and super nutritious!)

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