What is Green Lipped Mussel Extract?

  • The New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (GLM), a shellfish found off the coast of New Zealand seems to contain the therapeutic agents needed to treat one of the most debilitating diseases of our time.
  • Almost 92% of brands worldwide use GLME as one of the ingredients in their food supplement.
  • Green Lipped Mussel Extract (GLME) has now been subjected to more than forty years of quality scientific research and proven in laboratory and clinical trials, to be effective in treating both rheumatoid and osteo forms of arthritis.

Composition of Green Lipped Mussel

  • GLME contains anti-inflammatory agents, immune modulators and many essential building blocks.
  • Proteins, minerals, glycosaminoglycans and marine long chain fatty acids – all naturally occurring substantial therapeutic agents known to maintain joint mobility & well-being.
  • They are needed to rebuild collagen, proteoglycans and synovial fluid found in the joints,ligaments and tendons.
  • It is important to note that GLME contains a natural content of glycosaminoglycans. This is the name for a group of polysaccharides which includes chondroitin sulphate, dermatan sulphate, hyaluronic acid etc.
  • These glycosaminoglycans are used by the body for the biosynthesis of compounds called proteoglycans. The proteoglycans have a very strong affinity for water molecules in the joints, to which they bind, and form very large, slippery, space filling molecules.
  • The function of these large combination molecules is to act as shock absorbers and also lubricants in the joints.

We have therefore, in GLME, anti-inflammatory activity which is necessary to relieve the inflammatory component of osteoarthritis coupled with chondroprotective activity which relieves the physical problem of degenerative joint condition (osteo arthritis).

There is one further point which is worthy of mention here and this relates to the increased rate of cartilage degeneration in the joints in arthritic disease and also in advanced age. In young people and those not affected by arthritis, the rate of cartilage degeneration in the joints is equalled by that of regeneration. In the older people and in arthritic disease states this balance is upset leading to a reduction in the padding and lubrication of the joints. Certain cytokine induced enzyme activity is known to accelerate the breakdown of cartilage process and the inhibition of this enzymic activity is thus very desirable. GLME has been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit cytokine activity which would lead to the production of cells responsible for this process.

Joint Problems in Humans?

Arthritis is the major cause of disability and the most prevalent disease. The significant sign of arthritis is pain and swelling in a single joint or multiple joints in the body. This is the most common type of arthritis. The symptoms common in all bone diseases like arthritis and osteoarthritis is an incurable condition that causes the disintegration of the bone cartilage, this is a tough, flexible tissue that is attached to the two ends of the bones where they meet to form a joint. When the bone disintegrates the cartilage makes the bones rub against each other causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in that joint. Even though there is no cure for osteoarthritis there are ways and means to manage the pain and other symptoms in the body with a few helpful tips which can make a lot of difference in the overall lifestyle, health and fitness of the patient. 

How GLME Works in the Joints?

GLME has two distinct anti-inflammatory activities naturally present.

The principal  anti-inflammatory activity is due to a carbohydrate complex which has the ability to inhibit the emigration of neutrophils from the blood vessels. What this means in everyday terms is that  soldier cells ( neutrophils ) are inhibited from attacking our own cells when an inflammatory stimulus is present. This is an oversimplified explanation of neutrophil action but, hopefully explains why the inhibition of this activity helps to reduce inflammation. This same mechanism is performed by some anti-inflammatory drugs. 

The second anti-inflammatory activity is due to the effect of the natural content of some long chain fatty acids on cyclo-oxygenase activities. These  cyclo-oxygenase  ( COX ) compounds are enzymes which the body uses to biosynthesise chemicals called prostaglandins . There are two forms of these COX enzymes. COX 1  is constitutive and a natural component of normal tissue. It performs important functions in our body. The other form ( COX 2 ) is induced when an inflammatory state, such as arthritis,is present and it produces pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. It is therefore desirable to inhibit this  enzymic activity.

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Indomethacin and Phenylbutazone  perform this function effectively but, unfortunately, they  inhibit both COX 1 and COX 2 activities  thus inhibitng the production of the prostaglandins which are needed for the protection of the stomach lining, helping kidney function and also some blood characteristics.  GLME has the very desirable, and most important benefit, of inhibiting just the COX 2 activity  which produces the damaging prostaglandins whilst not influencing the necessary ones.

Any Hidden Benefit You Did Not Know?

Another valuable feature of the product is that it has been found to have natural gastro protective properties. This means that, not only does it not damage the delicate stomach lining, it actually provides a protective function for it. Thus the product is able to relieve the inflammatory symptoms associated with arthritic diseases whilst protecting the stomach from the damaging effect of some pain killers should a person need to be taking these at the same time.  

Is Green Lipped Mussel Extract safe for you?

There are no serious adverse side effects associated with use of GLME. However, because the product is a shellfish derivative, it may create an allergy reaction in people susceptible to shellfish allergy. If a person does experience an allergy reaction they should stop using the product and the symptoms will disappear. Some people have experienced mild indigestion and flatulence but the likelihood of these can be minimized by making sure that the product is consumed at the start of a meal.

Dosage of GLME Required for Arthritic People?

The normal level is based on about 1 gramme of the extract powder per day for the average adult. This equates to 3 of the 350mg or 5 of the 230mg GLME capsules each day but there is no danger in doubling this level if desired. There have been occasions where doubling the level has achieved results which were not apparent at the recommended level but this has not been a general finding.

Points to Remember

  • This edible shellfish has been a major part of the diet of the local population of New Zealand.
  • It naturally contains the components the body requires to effectively give relief from the symptoms of arthritis without the adverse side effects associated with drug therapies and pain killers.