Green-lipped mussel

Digestion, Asthma, Infant and Children, Inflammation | February 25, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Inflammation, bowel, Asthma, adhd

Green-lipped mussel

Green-lipped mussel is a shellfish native to New Zealand which can be taken as a nutritional supplement. It is chiefly used for indications characterised by inflammation such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma. It also shows promise as a treatment option for dogs, cats, and horses with joint disease and more recently for ADHD in children and adolescents.

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New Zealand green-lipped mussel has significant anti-inflammatory activity. The most important constituents responsible for these mechanisms of action are the various fatty acids found in this type of mussel. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (plus a unique series of other polyunsaturated fatty acids) inhibit leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis which contribute to inflammation. Furan fatty acids found in mussels are thought to exhibit more potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity than the omega-3 fatty acid EPA.

In addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, green-lipped mussel has anti-histamine and immunomodulatory properties. This explains why it is so beneficial to asthmatics.

Conditions green-lipped mussel benefits


The clinical evidence to support the use of green-lipped mussel in osteoarthritis is promising.

OsteoarthritisIn 2013, a non-blinded randomised clinical trial was conducted with 38 subjects diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. Each participant received either 3,000 mg/day of a whole green-lipped mussel extract or 3,000 mg/day of glucosamine sulphate for 12 weeks. A significant improvement was seen in the green-lipped mussel group, who exhibited improvements in joint pain, stiffness and mobility.

A similar study found that green-lipped mussel supplementation in patients with severe to moderate osteoarthritis experienced a significant reduction in paracetamol use.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Some early research suggests that taking a specific extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel by mouth reduces symptoms of RA, including pain and stiffness. However, other research shows no benefit.

Veterinary use

Green-lipped mussel has shown potential as a treatment option for dogs, cats, and horses with joint disease.

Veterinary useIn one study osteoarthritic dogs were supplemented with green-lipped mussel—which ranged from 450mg-1000mg/day depending on their weight. Active treatment was shown to significantly improve total arthritic score, alleviate joint pain and swelling at the end of the six weeks when compared to controls. More specifically, 83% of dogs in the active treatment group experienced a 30% or greater reduction in total arthritic scores and of these, 18% showed a 70% or greater improvement.

Lyophilised products from green-lipped mussel are also used in horses to treat osteoarthritis. In a 2012 study, green-lipped mussel extract significantly alleviated the severity of lameness and joint pain and improved response to joint flexion in horses with lameness attributable to osteoarthritis in the fetlock.
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Inflammatory bowel disease

Findings from a preliminary animal study suggests that green-lipped mussel may be of potential benefit in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study compared the anti-inflammatory effects of green-lipped mussel (lyprinol) to fish oil in mice with experimentally induced IBD. The mice treated with lyprinol experienced significantly reduced disease activity and colonic damage compared to those treated with fish oil.

Another study found that green-lipped mussel has the potential to improve our healthy gut flora and reduce pathogens such as clostridium, staphylococcus and yeast species.
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To date, two studies have investigated the effects of green-lipped mussel in asthma, producing beneficial results.

AsthmaA 2002 study of 46 patients with asthma compared lyprinol to placebo over 2 weeks. The lyprinol treatment group found a significant improvement on several parameters—such as daytime wheeze, reduced H₂O₂ (a marker of airway inflammation) and an increase in morning peak expiratory flow compared with placebo. However, lyprinol did not improve night awakenings or use of bronchodilators.

More recently in 2013, green-lipped mussel combined with omega-3 was tested for its effect on airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction in asthmatics. Treatment after three weeks resulted in a significant improvement in asthma symptoms scores, while reducing bronchodilator use.
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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

While omega-3 has a long history of use in cognition and behaviour, little is known about the benefit of green-lipped mussel oil on inattention, hyperactivity, mood and cognition…until now! Recent studies show promise for the use of green-lipped mussel oil in ADHD as participants displayed less severe behavioural symptoms, as well as an improvement in working memory and a reduction in error making when compared to placebo.
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How to take green-lipped mussel extract

There are three ways in which green-lipped mussel can be taken as a supplement:

  1. A powdered supplement in a capsule or tablet. In this instance the whole mussel has been freeze dried and powdered.
  2. Liquid caps in which the potent oils have been extracted from the green-lipped mussel.
  3. Combined with other therapeutic ingredients for joint pain such as omega-3, glucosamine and krill oil.


Green-lipped mussel extracts are contraindicated in people with allergies to shellfish and should be used in caution in people with high blood pressure due to the sodium content. Possible adverse reactions include nausea, gout and skin rashes.  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: An evidence-based guide vol. 2. Churchill Livingstone, Australia

Coulson S, et al. Green-lipped mussel extract (Perna canaliculus) and glucosamine sulphate in patients with knee osteoarthritis: therapeutic efficacy and effects on gastrointestinal microbiota profiles. Inflammopharmacology. 2013 Feb;21(1):79-90

Stebbings S, et al. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness and safety of a novel green-lipped mussel extract -BioLex® -for managing pain in moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Aug 22;17(1):416

Bierer TLBui LM. Improvement of arthritic signs in dogs fed green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus). J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6 Suppl 2):1634S-6S

Cayzer J, et al. A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study on the efficacy of a unique extract of green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) in horses with chronic fetlock lameness attributed to osteoarthritis. Equine Vet J. 2012 Jul;44(4):393-8

Emelyanov A, et al. Treatment of asthma with lipid extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel: a randomised clinical trial. Eur Respir J. 2002 Sep;20(3):596-600

Mickleborough TD, et al. Marine lipid fraction PCSO-524 (lyprinol/omega XL) of the New Zealand green lipped mussel attenuates hyperpnea-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma. Respir Med. 2013 Aug;107(8):1152-63

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