The green-lipped mussel, a common appetizer in sushi restaurants, contains healthy fats in the omega-3 family. Like fish oil , another source of omega-3 fatty acids, green-lipped mussel has shown some promise for reducing inflammation. 1 Inflammation is the cause of symptoms in numerous illnesses, ranging from arthritis to asthma. On this basis green-lipped mussel has been promoted as a treatment for these conditions. However, the evidence that it provides any meaningful benefits remains highly preliminary.
There are two major forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis . Rheumatoid arthritis is primarily a disease of inflammation, and the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been successfully used to treat it. 2 Inflammation plays a relatively less important role in osteoarthritis. However, green-lipped mussel has been tried for both conditions, with, at present, inconclusive results.
Green lipped mussel has also shown some promise for asthma .
The evidence regarding use of green-lipped mussel for arthritis remains weak and inconsistent. 16
Several animal studies performed by a single research group have reported that green-lipped mussel reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis. 4-6,17 However, the results from human studies remains inconsistent. Of five reported controlled studies of green-lipped mussel for osteoarthritis, two found benefit. 7-13,16
In an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 46 people with allergic asthma, those who received a green-lipped mussel extract showed some improvement in wheezing and peak flow of air. 14
A typical dose of green-lipped mussel is about 200 mg per day of the lipid extract or 1,000 mg per day of the freeze-dried powder.
In studies, green-lipped mussel has not caused much in the way of side effects other than occasional mild digestive distress. People with shellfish allergies, however, should avoid green-lipped mussel.
Unlike oysters, green-lipped mussel does not appear to contain heavy metals. 15
7. Cho SH, Jung YB, Seong SC, et al. Clinical efficacy and safety of Lyprinol, a patented extract from New Zealand green-lipped mussel ( Perna canaliculus ) in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee: a multicenter 2-month clinical trial. Allerg Immunol . 2003;35:212–6.
15. Rojas de Astudillo L, Chang Yen I, Agard J, et al. Heavy metals in green mussel ( Perna viridis ) and oysters ( Crassostrea sp.) from Trinidad and Venezuela. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol . 2002;42:410–5.
16. 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. Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Oct 12 [Epub ahead of print].
Last reviewed August 2013 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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