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Green-Lipped Mussel

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Green-Lipped Mussel


Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) is a New Zealand shellfish, from which an extract has been shown to be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

OA is a chronic disease of the joints, especially the weight-bearing joints, that develops when the linings of joints degenerate, leading to lipping and spurring of bone, pain, and decreased mobility and function.

OA is a universal consequence of aging among animals with a bony skeleton. Many factors contribute to the development of OA; the disease is primarily associated with aging and injury and was once called “wear-and-tear” arthritis. OA may occur secondary to many other conditions. However, in most cases, the true cause of OA is unknown.

RA is a chronic inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks the joints and sometimes other parts of the body. The cause of RA also remains unknown.

Where is it found?
Green-lipped mussels are found in the oceans off New Zealand. In supplement form, green-lipped mussel is available as a lipid extract or a freeze-dried powder.

How much is usually taken?
The studies on green-lipped mussel have used 210 mg per day of the lipid extract or 1,050 to 1,150 mg per day of the freeze-dried powder.

Are there any side effects or interactions?
Not all studies have demonstrated side effects; however, members of the Australian Rheumatism Association have reported side effects, such as stomach upset, gout, and skin rashes, occurring in people taking certain New Zealand green-lipped mussel extracts. Another researcher observed nausea, flatulence, and fluid retention in some of the study participants, and one case of hepatitis has been reported in association with the use of the freeze-dried powder.

People with shellfish allergy should consult a doctor before taking green-lipped mussel. Compared to lipid preparations, freeze-dried preparations contain substantially more of the protein fraction responsible for allergic reactions.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with green-lipped mussel.

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