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
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2. James MJ, Cleland LG. Dietary n-3 fatty acids and therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1997;27:85–97.
3. Rainsford KD, Whitehouse MW. Gastroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of green lipped mussel ( Pernacanaliculus) preparation. Arzneimittelforschung. 1980;30:2128–32.
4. Bui LM, Pawlowski K, Bierer TL. The influence of green-lipped mussel powder ( Perna canaliculus) on alleviating arthritic signs in dogs [abstract]. FASEB J. 2000;14:A218.
5. Bui LM, Pawlowski K, Bierer TL. A semi-moist treat containing green-lipped mussel ( Perna canaliculus) can help to alleviate arthritic signs in dogs [abstract]. FASEB J. 2000;14:A748.
6. Bui LM, Pawlowski K, Bierer TL. Reduction of arthritic signs in dogs fed a mainmeal dry diet containing green-lipped mussel ( Perna canaliculus) [abstract]. FASEB J. 2000;14:A748.
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.
8. Larkin JG, Capell HA, Sturrock RD. Seatone in rheumatoid arthritis: a six-month placebo-controlled study. AnnRheum Dis. 1985;44:199–201.
9. Audeval B, Bouchacourt P. Etude controle en double aveugle contra placebo de l’extrait de moule Pernacanaliculus dans les gonarthrose. Gaz Med Fr. 1986;38:111–6.
10. Caughey DE, Grigor RR, Caughey EB, et al. Perna canaliculus in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Eur JRheumatol Inflamm. 1983;6:197–200.
11. Gibson RG, Gibson SL, Conway V, et al. Perna canaliculus in the treatment of arthritis. Practitioner. 1980;224:955–60.
12. Gibson RG, Gibson SL. Green-lipped mussel extract in arthritis [letter]. Lancet. 1981;1:439.
13. Gibson SLM, Gibson RG. The treatment of arthritis with a lipid extract of Perna canaliculus: a randomized trial. Comp Ther Med. 1998;6:122–6.
14. Emelyanov A, Fedoseev G, Krasnoschekova O, et al. Treatment of asthma with lipid extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel: a randomised clinical trial. Eur Respir J. 2002;20:596–600.
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].
17. Bui LM, Bierer TL. Influence of Green Lipped Mussels (Perna canaliculus) in Alleviating Signs of Arthritis in Dogs. Vet Ther. 2003;4:397-407.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015