Seaweed Benefits and Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/03/23 •  8 min read

What are seaweed benefits and side effects? Is seaweed vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are seaweed pros and cons: all the info on seaweed that every ethical consumer wants to know…

seaweed benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on seaweed benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about seaweed benefits and side effects. This will include seaweed benefits for your health and potential risks, seaweed water footprint and seaweed carbon footprint, seaweed sustainability, if seaweed is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if seaweed is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about seaweed benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Seaweed Benefits And Side Effects


Seaweed benefits may include:

Seaweed side effects may include:

Additionally, seaweed is…

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02/17/2024 07:01 pm GMT


Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: low, 0.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of aquatic plants, a car driving equivalent of .0 miles or .0 kilometers, seaweed has a relatively low carbon footprint

Destruction: low, seaweed production is relatively sustainable, there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc.

Seaweed is…


Kills: none, seaweed production does not require any animals to die

Harms: none, seaweed production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Seaweed is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers often experience exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


Where does most seaweed come from? 📍

Much of the world’s seaweed is from large sea farms off the coasts of China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.

The world’s top seaweed exporting country is South Korea, followed by China, Japan, USA, Canada, UK, Spain, Philippines, Denmark, Germany.

Is seaweed nutritious? 🥗

Yes! Seaweed is a great source of protein, Vitamin c, calcium and has a high mineral content with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties.

Is seaweed alkaline or acidic?

Is seaweed alkaline or acidic?

Seaweed is alkaline.

What is the pH level of seaweed?

Seaweed has a 9.0 pH level once digested. Sea vegetables are an alkaline food group. Dulse, kelp and wakame are highly alkaline.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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Is seaweed gluten free?

Is seaweed gluten free?

Yes, seaweed is gluten free. Seaweed does not contain gluten. Seaweed is a type of sea vegetable, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is seaweed a common food allergen?

Is seaweed a common food allergen?

No, seaweed is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to seaweed but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Is seaweed low fodmap?

Is seaweed low fodmap?

Yes, seaweed is low fodmap, a food you can eat if on a low fodmap diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High FODMAP and Low FODMAP List of Foods

Is seaweed sustainable?

Is seaweed sustainable?

Seaweed production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

Is seaweed vegan?

Is seaweed vegan?

Yes, seaweed is vegan. Seaweed is a marine algae, or sea vegetables and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

Does seaweed have human rights issues?

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

At this time there are no major concerns with seaweed production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about seaweed benefits and side effects.


Seaweed, laver, raw – FoodData Central

Marine algae listings on the National List (pdf)

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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