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Green-Lipped Mussel: What is it, and why is it so special?

The Green-lipped mussel, also known as Perna canaliculus, is a unique animal that lives exclusively in the beautiful, pristine waters around New Zealand. For centuries, Green Lipped Mussels have been a diet staple for coastal dwelling Māori. Archaeological digs have found evidence that uncovered shells buried in middens (rubbish heaps) that the earliest New Zealanders created.

In the early 1970s, interest grew in the green-lipped mussel’s potential health benefits, and this stemmed from the fact that Māori people had a much lower incidence of arthritis than people who lived inland.

Green Lipped Mussels grow wild in the waters all around New Zealand, but if they are to be used commercially without harming the environment, they need to be farmed.

Farmed mussels are grown on ropes, hanging in the shallow, coastal waters. Mussel farms in New Zealand use no fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides at any point. New Zealand has one of the strictest quality standards in the world when it comes to shellfish. Both the shellfish themselves and the water in which they grow are tightly controlled. They are tested for bacteria, heavy metals and toxins. The water quality is carefully monitored, following standards of the European Union, US FDA and New Zealand Food Safety Authority. This programme ensures that no product is harvested without confirmation that the shellfish and the water in which they have grown have been declared safe by Environmental monitoring throughout the entire growth cycle.

When the Māoris ate the green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus), and this food became known worldwide, the green-lipped mussel was eaten whole and raw. Many people think it’s a crustacean, but mussels fall into the mollusc category.

Raw Green Lipped mussels have awe-inspiring anti-inflammatory properties, which are far more potent than those of other shellfish (or even other sorts of mussel) and can benefit and support joint health.

The nutrients found in raw Green Lipped Mussels that help to support joints include:

  • Anti-inflammatory compounds (minerals, complex sugars and polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex sugar-amino acid compounds that help lubricate the joints and maintain healthy cartilage.
  • Lipids (fats) that help to protect the lining of the stomach
  • Pain-relieving polyunsaturated fatty acids

Arthritis is characterised by painful swelling and stiffness in one or more of your joints, resulting from chronic inflammation. The two most common types of arthritis are Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA).

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, the green-lipped mussel has been found to reduce joint inflammation, which helps to relieve symptoms associated with arthritis.

To maximise the health benefits of Green-lipped mussels, you need to be using 100% Green-lipped mussel, not just an extract or powder.

Green-lipped mussel extracts or powders can often be cheaper, but the processes used to create an extract or a powder use heat which causes the all-important lipids, fatty acids and GAGs to break down, which in turn massively decreases the anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits. A product containing a high-quality Green-lipped mussel, consisting of 100% pure Perna canaliculus, will give you the maximum health benefits.

The incidence of joint issues is prevalent in animals (affecting at least one in four dogs), and it can be difficult for pet owners to notice small initial changes in their mobility. Although joint problems can occur at any age, they are most commonly seen in middle-aged and geriatric dogs.

Dogs of all sizes are at risk of some mobility problems; however, medium to large breed dogs are more commonly affected when compared to smaller breeds of dog.

Traditionally, joint issues in cats have been considered to be quite rare, but due to improved methods of diagnosis, awareness of these is now on the increase. As is true with dogs, joint issues are more commonly seen in middle-aged and geriatric cats.

Feeding your pet a suitable, healthy diet and maintaining an ideal weight will certainly help to keep their joints more nutritious for longer. In addition to this, providing specific nutrients to help support the joints’ structure may help control healthy soft tissue responses in the body and reduce the adverse effects of free radicals on the joints.

Green-lipped mussels contain Omega-3 fatty acids, including Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and a unique omega-3 fatty acid – Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) – which is known to interact in the body with both the cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase pathways. Green-lipped mussels also contain Glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin sulphate), Glutamine (a glycosaminoglycan precursor), Vitamins C and E and also Zinc, Copper and Selenium (which are antioxidant micronutrients) that can all be beneficial in helping to maintain healthy joints. It is thought that these nutrients all act together to help support animals with mobility issues.

So, as long as the green-lipped mussel is of high quality and its purest form (not an extract or powder), it can be beneficial to your health and that of your pets’.