Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Green-Lipped Mussel Supplements For Joint Health
It seems like every few months, and there is a new superfood craze being touted on the Internet. Many of these are fads, but in some cases, the hot fresh food for health and well-being contains beneficial nutrients, such as foods for joint or heart health. Green-lipped mussel and green-lipped mussel oil are super food examples that live up to the hype. Read on to discover why many people are now taking green-lipped mussel joint health supplements.
What Is Green-Lipped Mussel?
The green-lipped mussel is a shellfish that gets its name from the green edge along its shell. You will sometimes see the shellfish referred to as New Zealand green-lipped mussel, as the waters off the country's coast are the primary source of the mussels.
Interest in the benefits of green-lipped mussels for humans stems mainly from the dietary practices of the Maori indigenous people. Green-lipped mussel is a staple of their diet, and the Maori people show overall better bone and joint health and fewer incidences of arthritis pain than the general population.
Green-Lipped Mussel Nutrition Facts
An analysis of green-lipped mussel nutrition benefits reveals that the shellfish are rich in the following nutrients:
- Omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Chondroitin sulfate
What Is a Green-Lipped Mussel Supplement?
A green-lipped mussel supplement is a dietary supplement derived from green-lipped mussels. Supplements are often made from green-lipped mussel oil, and the critical ingredient they contain is called green-lipped mussel extract. You can find green-lipped mussel powder supplements and pill and liquid forms of the supplement.
Green-Lipped Mussel Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The omega-3 fatty acids found in green-lipped mussels are powerful inflammation fighters. Although scientists are still working to determine the exact mechanism, many believe that omega-3 fatty acids act against an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, which causes inflammation. This method of action is similar to how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications ease pain and swelling.
Connection Between Inflammation and Joint Pain
Before you can understand why some people say that green-lipped mussels may be the best joint health supplement, you first need to understand why joint pain occurs in people with arthritis. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage that insulates the joints becomes worn or damaged, usually due to the natural aging process. Less protection leads to changes in the bones and causes inflammation along the lining of the joint. This inflammation causes pain and stiffness.
Green-Lipped Mussel for Joint Pain Relief
Scientists speculate that taking green-lipped mussels for joints helps in two ways. First, the anti-inflammatory benefits of green-lipped mussel may directly ease pain and swelling. Secondly, the chondroitin found in the shellfish may help support healthy cartilage by attracting fluid into the connective tissue to bolster the joint's insulation and in turn, improve joint health.
The Internet provides access to plenty of anecdotal evidence for the benefits of taking the shellfish in supplement form. You can find many New Zealand green lipped mussels reviews that state that taking the supplements reduced people's joint discomfort and improved their mobility.
In addition, science has begun to research the use of green-lipped mussel for arthritis pain. A recent review of green-lipped mussel arthritis clinical trials and clinical trials for other joint health supplements found that chondroitin was one of the most effective joint health supplements. A 2003 study revealed that 80% of people who took a New Zealand green-lipped mussels arthritis supplement experienced a decrease in osteoarthritis symptoms.
Other Possible Green-Lipped Mussel Benefits
When it comes to the potential health benefits of green-lipped mussel supplements, arthritis pain relief is just one facet. Studies also indicate that the mussels may be beneficial for:
- Gut health: A 2017 study revealed that green-lipped mussels helped improve the gut biome by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria that fight inflammation.
- Asthma: Research indicates that green-lipped mussels might help fight airways inflammation. In one study, people who took a green-lipped mussel supplement for eight weeks experienced fewer asthma symptoms.
- Exercise-induced muscle soreness: By fighting inflammation, green-lipped mussel extract may make you less likely to feel sore after workouts.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: The inflammation-fighting benefits of green-lipped mussels may reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition where the immune system attacks the joints and brings on inflammation.
Tips for Taking a Green-Lipped Mussel Supplement
Follow these tips for best results when taking a green-lipped mussel supplement:
- Talk to your doctor. You should always talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement to your diet. If you have certain allergies or health conditions, a green-lipped mussel supplement may not be safe for you. In addition, your doctor may want you to use the supplement in combination with conventional treatments for osteoarthritis.
- Compare the amount of green-lipped mussel extract per serving. Every product claims to be the best green-lipped mussel supplement for humans. Instead of being swayed by marketing hype, closely examine the amount of the extract present in supplements.
- Use the product as directed. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer unless your medical provider gives you other advice.