Wildcrafted & Pool-Grown Sea Moss: Real Vs. Fake
Last updated on November 30, 2022
With its 92 minerals and vitamins, sea moss is a nutritional powerhouse. But buying sea moss for health purposes is a challenge. Unfortunately, the market is flooded with fake sea moss.
As opposed to real sea moss wildcrafted in the ocean, fake sea moss is industrially farmed in giant pools. As a result, its nutrient variety and density are much lower than they should be.
Figuring out the differences between real and fake sea moss is crucial to get the health benefits of the seaweed.
So, learn to spot fake sea moss and ensure you're getting high-quality products only.
Related article: What are the health benefits of sea moss?
Wildcrafted Sea Moss: The Real One
Wildcrafted sea moss is the real and natural sea moss. Scientifically known as Chondrus crispus, it’s a red alga growing along the rocky Atlantic coasts in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. If you're into botany, sea moss belongs to the Rhodophyta division (red seaweed), the Florideophyceae class, the Gigartinales order, and the Gigartinaceae family.
Wildcrafted sea moss is harvested in its natural habitat (shorelines and beaches), where it has grown naturally and without human intervention. The process of catching sea moss in the wild is environmentally friendly. Only a part of the seaweed is picked up, allowing the rest to regrow without disturbing the ecosystem around it.
Organics Nature only sells wildcrafted sea moss that we harvest in St. Lucia, the Eastern Caribbean island with the best natural sea moss. We collaborate with the Agriculture Department of St. Lucia to harvest sea moss in an eco-friendly way and minimize our impact on the local ecosystem.
Related article: How is sea moss different from other seaweeds?
Organics Nature's Raw Wildcrafted Sea Moss from Saint Lucia
Pool-grown Sea Moss: The Fake Kind
Pool-grown sea moss is the fake version of sea moss that’s industrially produced. Following the massive pick of popularity sea moss has gained recently, numerous pool farmers have tried to grow it in giant pools.
These farms attempt to replicate the conditions and properties of the ocean in their pools to grow industrial quantities of Chondrus crispus in the fastest way possible. But it's more complex than that.
The environment in which sea moss grows is essential to develop its natural properties. Unfortunately, pool farms cannot replicate the back-and-forth motion of ocean waves, rocks, air, sunshine, salt, and other nutrients in the ocean.
Eventually, although pool-grown sea moss producers successfully grow sea moss quicker inartificial pools than in the ocean, the sea moss that comes out has nothing to do with wildcrafted sea moss. The quality isn’t there.
Pool-grown sea moss does not contain the nutrients wildcrafted sea moss is loaded with. That’s why it’s referred to as “fake sea moss." It's just not real. It's a fake human-made replica of natural Chondrus crispus with minimal health benefits.
Besides, pool-grown sea moss often contains traces of chemicals and toxic products used by farmers to grow it faster. So, just like you should avoid processed food, you’d be better off staying away from fake sea moss.
Ocean-farmed sea moss
There’s a third way to make sea moss that has yet to be mentioned. It's ocean farming.
Ocean-farmed sea moss is man-grown in the ocean. Farming Chondrus crispus directly in the ocean makes it easier to harvest and allows to control its production better than wildcrafting it.
Nutritionally, ocean-farmed sea moss is similar to wildcrafted sea moss.
Wildcrafted Sea Moss Vs. Pool-grown Sea Moss
While most people focus on learning about the benefits of sea moss, they often overlook the importance of the origin and quality of the products they’re consuming.
There are significant differences between wildcrafted and pool-grown sea moss, and the biggest one is the most important: the diversity and density of nutrients they contain, which is ultimately why you want to take sea moss in the first place!
Pool-grown sea moss is nutritionally very poor
Putting aside the fact that pool-grown sea moss is an absolute environmental disaster, the main problem is that it's useless.
Because pool farmers fail at replicating the ocean (of course!), the seaweeds they grow are nutritionally empty. They contain very few nutrients, which makes their benefits for health extremely limited.
Studies have compared wildcrafted sea moss and pool-grown sea moss's nutrients, and the results brook no argument. While natural sea moss can contain up to 92 different minerals and vitamins, most pool-grown sea mosses lack the essential ones and have no nutritional value.
Eating fake pool sea moss is like eating nothing; you won't reap any benefits for your health. Worse, it can even be dangerous. Indeed, pool-grown sea moss contains table salt and sometimes toxic chemicals.
Natural mineral salts vs. table salt
Studies have shown that wildcrafted sea moss contains natural sea salts, while the pool-grown kind contains table salt!
One of the reasons real wildcrafted sea moss excellent for health is that it’s a healthy substitute for table salt. It contains high levels of potassium and very little sodium. As a result, consuming sea moss rebalances the sodium/potassium ratio, which helps prevent and lower high blood pressure and risks of heart disease.
Quite the opposite, fake sea moss (pool-grown sea moss) often contains too much synthetic table salt (sodium)! This salt is usually added after farming to mimic the natural sea salts of wild sea moss.
So, not only is consuming fake sea moss useless for your health, but it could be detrimental, especially for those suffering from hypertension, heart problems, or diabetes.
Related article: Why is sea moss good for blood pressure and heart health?
Pool-grown sea moss contains added table salt
Fake sea moss may contain chemicals
Another concern about consuming fake sea moss is the chemicals it often contains. Unscrupulous pool farmers have a hard time maintaining healthy artificial pools and reproducing the exact ocean conditions.
Most of them add chemicals to the water to boost sea moss production and eliminate possible bacteria. These chemicals are absorbed by the seaweed and ultimately by its consumers. They are harmful to human health.
Because sea moss is not an FDA-regulated supplement, nor is it submitted to any test for approval before being put on the market, be careful to purchase it from trusted companies only.
How to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Sea Moss?
Telling the difference between real and fake sea moss is difficult, but there are some obvious tell-tale signs.
1. Real sea moss has a darker color
Wildcrafted gold sea moss often has a darker color than fake sea moss. Chondrus crispus naturally grows in various colors and shades depending on its environment and the minerals it absorbs. Therefore, you can find brown, yellow, purple, gold, red, green, or even pink sea moss.
Color can be a good indicator of whether sea moss is real or fake. Because of its lack of nutrients, pool-grown sea moss is often pale, yellowish, off-white, or looks washed out.
Related article: The difference between purple, gold, and green sea moss
2. Fake sea moss looks more “arranged”
The structure of wildcrafted sea moss is tangled and disorganized with a haphazard mesh or spongy appearance.
On the contrary, pool-grown or fake sea moss looks more like thin spaghetti noodles. It seems more artificial, arranged, and well "put together," whereas real sea moss is messy with a distorted look.
3. Real sea moss is thinner
Wildcrafted sea moss has thinner stems than pool-grown fake sea moss. The branches of pool-farmed sea moss are usually twice as thick.
Depending on the sea moss you purchase, the stem will be about 1-3mm thick for wildcrafted sea moss and 5-10 mm thick for fake sea moss.
4. Sand vs. salt
Wildcrafted sea moss may have some salt, but less than fake sea moss. There shouldn’t be visible salt granules on top of the dried sea moss when it has been wildcrafted. On the contrary, fake sea moss is often covered in salt.
You will probably find sand and ocean residues in real sea moss. These are absent from fake sea moss that has grown in artificial pools.
5. Ocean smell vs. chemical smell
Fake sea moss grows in artificial pools where certain chemicals are needed to sustain the water. The result usually smells differently and more chemical than natural sea moss.
Wildcrafted sea moss naturally has a fishy or ocean-like smell.
Rest assured, though, that smell goes away when you turn raw sea moss into a gel!
6. Ocean taste vs. saltiness
Wildcrafted and ocean-farmed sea moss have a sea taste that you don’t find in fake sea moss. It’s also less salty than the pool-grown kind to which farmers add salts after drying it.
Don't worry about the ocean taste of sea moss. You can easily eliminate it by soaking your seaweed with key lime or making sea moss gel.
Related article: What does sea moss taste like, and how to make it taste better?
7. Fake sea moss feels wet
When you receive your dried sea moss bag, feel it to see if it is real or fake. Wildcrafted sea moss has a completely dried-out feel. You will not be able to feel any moisture on it.
However, pool-grown sea moss or fake sea moss will still contain some moisture from the pool. It's never completely dry to the touch.
8. Soaking sea moss to tell if it’s real or fake
If you are still unsure whether your sea moss is real or fake, soak it! Wildcrafted sea moss becomes slimy and slippery after a couple of hours soaking in water, whereas pool-grown sea moss gets more of a gummy texture.
Usually, real sea moss expands much more than fake sea moss when soaked in water. The difference is evident during this step.
9. Wildcrafted sea moss is more expensive
Another way to differentiate fake sea moss from real sea moss is the price. Typically, wildcrafted sea moss is more expensive than its pool-grown replica. But the cost of sea moss can also vary depending on your supplier.
The bottom line:
Although many companies claim to sell wildcrafted sea moss, that is only sometimes the case. So stay away from the scam and make sure you buy your sea moss from trusted and reputed companies.
Sea moss is an exceptional food to add to your diet. It’s packed with nutrients and brings numerous health benefits. But its fake pool-grown replica has no nutritional value and often contains added salts and chemicals.
At Organics Nature, we value the importance of providing our customers with the best products. Your health is important to us. That’s why we only use wildcrafted sea moss from Saint Lucia.
Browse through Organics Nature's Catalog of Sea Moss Products
Please feel free to reach out with any questions about our sea moss. We would be happy to share our knowledge and make sure your sea moss experience is nothing short of excellent.