Inflammation is our body’s attempt at self-protection, the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens – and begin the healing process. Even though inflammation is a protective mechanism, excessive inflammation can lead to damage and troubling symptoms and signs.
In certain diseases like asthma and arthritis, the inflammatory process becomes the primary evil that one has to fight against on a daily basis. Inflammatory processes trigger cytokines and other mediators that cause redness, pain, swelling, and irritation – symptoms we are familiar with after an injury.
As the search for a viable cure for diseases like osteoarthritis and asthma still remains elusive, it is an alternative medicine that has offered some hope in the form of green lipped mussels.
Green lipped mussels get their name from their peculiar appearance – the edges of their two shells have a green color, thus giving them the visual appearance of green lips. A green lipped mussel has almost identical properties to the Tasmanian blue mussel, but with a few differences in size and appearance.
So, let’s explore these green mussels in detail. Be sure to read till the end to know the benefits and side-effects of using New Zealand green lipped mussel.
What are Green Lipped Mussels?
The Green Lipped Mussels or Perna canaliculus is a relatively large shellfish found in the coastal waters of New Zealand with dark brown or green shells and green lips around the edges. It also has a single adductor muscle and measures up to 240 nm in length.
It is variously known as the New Zealand mussels, Kuku, and Kutai and is a bivalve mollusk in the family Mytilidae, which are the true mussels. It is vastly cultivated in New Zealand with commercial intent.
It was an accidental observation that the native Maori who lived in the coastal regions of New Zealand regularly consumed green lipped mussels and consequently had a lower incidence of arthritis compared to their counterparts living elsewhere or among those not consuming green lipped mussels at all.
This curious observation resulted in a deepened interest in the medicinal value of the green lipped mussels and numerous research studies are being done to evaluate its usefulness in inflammatory diseases like arthritis or asthma.
Green Lipped Mussels feed on various phytoplankton, marine organisms found in ocean waters. Thus, they concentrate a vast array of marine minerals and nutrients that essentially form the basis of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
What are the Bioactive Ingredients in Green Lipped Mussels?
Green Lipped Mussels tissue is rich in minerals, mucopolysaccharides or glycosaminoglycans, proteins, and lipids, including numerous other constituents which are supposedly responsible for its many health benefits.
Green lipped mussels contain glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin sulfate, the principal building block of healthy joints. They also contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) which are highly potent anti-inflammatory substances.
Pernin is a non-pigmented glycosylated protein in Perna mussels and is rich in histidine and aspartic acid, which bind divalent cations and inhibit serine protease. The freeze-dried powder of green lipped mussels contain amino acids glutamine and methionine, antioxidant vitamins E and C, and minerals zinc, copper, and manganese.
Does Green Lipped Mussel Contain Collagen?
One of the many benefits of green lipped mussel is that it contains collagen. Collagen is a protein that is found in the connective tissue of animals, and it is responsible for maintaining the structure of the skin and other tissues.
While it is true that green-lipped mussel does contain collagen, the amount is relatively small. Further, the collagen in green lipped mussel is not easily absorbed by the body, making it unlikely to provide any significant benefit.
Thus, while green-lipped mussel may contain some collagen, it is unlikely to have any meaningful impact on health.
What is the Mechanism of Action of Green Lipped Mussels?
Green Lipped Mussels contain a type of carbohydrate complex that prevents neutrophils from attacking the body’s cells. Inflammation is a process by which various cells in the body, including the neutrophils try to neutralize any foreign stimuli, including virus or bacteria, from causing ill effects on the body.
During this process, neutrophils also destroy innocent bystanders and adjacent host cells, damaging body tissues.
The green lipped mussel has the ability to suppress this inflammatory process, particularly in chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and bronchial asthma.
Studies have found that Perna canaliculus inhibits the 5-lipoxygenase pathway, a principal pathway in the inflammatory process, which leads to the formation of leukotrienes.
What are the Benefits of Green Lipped Mussels?
Green lipped mussels have found various uses because of their anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties. You can use green mussel lipid extract against chronic inflammation and treat the following problems:
Green lipped mussels have potent anti-inflammatory properties due to the inhibition of the metabolism of arachidonic acid and the reduced formation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. The rich polyunsaturated fatty acid content also inhibits lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase enzymes.
They also contain chondroitin sulfate, the major component of cartilage matrix and synovial fluid.
The therapeutic effect of green lipped mussels is relatively subdued compared to traditional anti-inflammatory agents; however, it can be effectively used as an adjunct to assist joint pain relief and disease improvement in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Leukotrienes are the chemicals that mediate inflammation in asthmatics. They produce bronchospasm and cause increased mucus secretion and permeability of the microvasculature. This results in the infiltration of inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and neutrophils into the airway.
Perna mussels extract prevents this inflammatory cascade by preventing the production of leukotrienes. Its use in steroid-naïve asthma reduces daytime wheezing and peak expiratory flow (PEF).
Although inconclusive, green lipped mussels extract supposedly helps treat cancer’s initial stages. But no clinical evidence has proven this possibility. It is, however noticed to reduce chemotherapy-induced intestinal mucositis.
Green lipped mussels extract is used as an adjunct to standard therapy with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in controlling dysmenorrhoea. It modifies the spontaneous and oxytocin-induced uterine contractions reducing pain due to menstruation.
Green Lipped Mussels reduce weight loss, lowers disease activity index scores, smaller crypt area losses in the distal colon, and lower caecum and colon weights. It can be given with classic anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, indomethacin, tolmetin, or diclofenac to prevent gastric mucosal damage.
Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
The various chemicals in NZ green lipped mussel are known to improve skin, hair, and nail health.
Due to its rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, green lipped mussels are good for your heart. Due to free fatty acid extract, the New Zealand mussel can prevent heart attacks and other circulatory problems.
Bones and Teeth Health
Green lipped mussels strengthen the bones and teeth and support the surrounding structures.
New Zealand green mussel may affect fertility by increasing seminal fluid viscosity in men and increasing cervical mucus in women.
The green lipped mussels are wholesome food containing all the principal nutrients, including essential micronutrients. You can also consider green lipped mussel extracts or green lipped mussel powder (supplement) for the exact same nutrition.
Are Green Lipped Mussels Good for Joint Pain?
In recent years, green lipped mussels have become increasingly popular as a natural treatment for joint pain. Several studies have shown that green lipped mussels can help to reduce inflammation and joint discomfort.
Additionally, green lipped mussels are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be beneficial for overall health. As a result, green lipped mussels are often recommended as a natural treatment for joint pain or other problems.
What are the Risks and Side effects of Green Lipped Mussels?
Green lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) are a type of shellfish that is native to the coasts of New Zealand. Over the past few decades, they have become increasingly popular as a dietary supplement for many reasons. However, Zealand green lipped mussels can also carry a number of risks and side effects.
Firstly, they may contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Secondly, people with shellfish allergies may be at risk for allergic reactions if they take green lipped mussel supplements. Lastly, green lipped mussels may interact with other medications, including blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Also, any green lipped mussel extract is best avoided during pregnancy and lactation. Thus, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking green lipped mussels in any form to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Other than these, you can’t ignore the benefits of green lipped mussels and other supplements. Get 100% original supplements from NutriNZ to get all those benefits.
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- Brien S, Prescott P, Coghlan B, Bashir N, Lewith G. Systematic review of the nutritional supplement Perna canaliculus (green-lipped mussel) in the treatment of osteoarthritis. QJM 2008; 101(3):167–79.
- Cobb CS, Ernst E. Systematic review of a marine nutriceutical supplement in clinical trials for arthritis: the effectiveness of the New Zealand green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus. Clinical Rheumatology 2006; 25(3):275–84.
- Miller TE , Ormrod D . The anti-inflammatory activity of Perna canaliculus (NZ green lipped mussel). N Z Med J . 1980;92(667):187-193.
- Green-lipped mussel extract in arthritis. Lancet . 1981;1(8211):85.