Benefits of Green Lipped Mussel Extract

Published: 09th April 2009
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Rather recently, a body of scientists realized that green lipped mussel extract contained a high amount of lipids and the essential fatty acid, omega-3. Fish oil has long been recognized as being an excellent source for omega-3s, however, it tended to also contain high levels of mercury. Because green lipped mussels are only farmed at accredited marine facilities, the presence of mercury was eliminated, making the extract from green lipped mussels highly valuable.

Green lipped mussels are also known as Green Lips, Greenback, or Green shell mussels. All of these designations are actually registered trademarks of the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council (NZMIC). New Zealand is the only place where green lipped mussels are found. This means that the supply is limited by the number of marine farms providing the product, and the price can be driven quite high, as based on demand.

According to the NZMIC, any product labeled as green lipped mussel extract must have originated from Perna canaliculus, the scientific name for these marine animals. The Council does not, however, specify how much of the mussels' known nutrients must be contained in the product.

Green lipped mussels are valued for their omega-3 and lipids. When the animals are harvested, they are quickly freeze-dried in order that the nutrients do not oxidise. After freeze drying, the lipids are extracted, making for a most popular formula to treat such health issues as inflammation.

There are some companies, however, which purchase the leftover de-lipidated powder and form it into a supplement which they label as green lipped mussel extract but contains much smaller amounts of nutrients. Mussels also contain high levels of iron, betain, and chondroitin sulphate, and these substances are retained in the de-lipidated powder so even less potent supplements do provide a health benefit.

Although it has not been proven that taking supplements containing extracts from green mussels is a treatment for any health issues, it is certainly undeniable that these animals are a great source of nutrients.

Many health professionals have touted the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids as a way to reduce inflammation, particularly when taken as a supplement to a low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts, and lean proteins. Because green lipped mussels are such an excellent source of omega-3s, it only stands to reason that they would be beneficial in treating inflammation caused by arthritis or other maladies afflicting the joints.

Chondroitin sulphate is another naturally occurring substance found in New Zealand's mussels. While it is usually partnered with glucosamine for maximum benefit, it is also effective on its own for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other diseases which degenerate tissue of the joints. Some mussel extracts have glucosamine added, providing a double punch of anti-inflammatory agents.

While it cannot be claimed that green lipped mussel extract is a cure-all for inflammation of the joints or other maladies, the good news is that there are enough nutrients found in these marine animals to make these beneficial dietary supplements for nearly anyone.


Check out the use of Green Lipped Mussel Capsules as a natural method to combat arthritic joint paint. For more details, check this natural cures blog.

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