GREEN-LIPPED MUSSEL OIL (GLMO)
The most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent
GLMO is a natural marine oil, a lipid extract of the
New Zealand green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus. The
Maoris who live in New Zealand have claimed for centuries that
consuming local green-lipped mussels has helped them maintain
good health. Statistics show that the reported incidence of
arthritis is much lower in the coastal-welling Maoris than in
the Maoris who reside in the interior. Coastal-dwelling Maoris
are known to consume large amounts of green-lipped mussels.
To investigate its reported anti-inflammatory activity,
researchers in the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan started
in the 1970's a number of clinical trials with various oral
preparations of the New Zealand green-lipped mussel. However,
the majority of these studies proved unsatisfactory. During the
1970's McFarlane Laboratories Pty. Ltd., which later became part
of the MacLab Group of Companies in Melbourne, was established
to distribute freeze-dried green-lipped mussel powder in
In the early 1980's McFarlane became concerned over criticism
which had been voiced by certain medical and scientific
commentators challenging the value of freeze-dried green-lipped
mussel powder for the treatment of arthritis. In 1982, following
discussions with RMIT University in Melbourne, McFarlane decided to fund research in the Natural Products
Chemistry Unit of RMIT's department of Applied Biology. The
challenge for RMIT was to seek and identify the active component(s) that was believed to exist in the green-lipped
mussel. In 1983 the research team at RMIT was joined by a
Japanese research group headed by professor Takuo Kosuge, head
of the Shizuoka College of Pharmacy at Shizuoka University,
Japan and one of Japan's most respected research chemists.
Early 1984 professor Kosuge formulated there was a major
problem with the mussel powder produced by McFarlane. The
mussel powder was found to be extremely unstable and lacking in
potency due to rapid oxygen degradation (oxidation). Professor
Kosuge determined that unless some method could be developed to stabilize
the mussel powder and prevent its oxidation, there
would be little or no value for use as a serious treatment for
arthritis, which was the commercial aim of McFarlane. After
testing all known anti-oxidants without success, professor
Kosuge turned to research that he had conducted twenty years
earlier on a traditional method used by Japanese fisherman to
preserve their stored fish for future consumption with the help
of tartaric acid. This method appeared to work for the green-lipped mussel as well. As a result of this work,
McFarlane patented and developed a natural stabilization process for
green-lipped mussel powder with tartaric acid, which prevented
its oxidation and allowed it to be researched without
degrading in potency.
In the early 1990's the RMIT group approached Dr. Henry Betts,
who was the Principal Scientist of the Rheumatology Research
Laboratory at the Queen Elisabeth Hospital in Adelaide, South
Australia. Dr. Betts had perfected a technique for testing
anti-inflammatory compounds in an in vitro system. The
RMIT/McFarlane group asked Dr. Betts to test various fractions
extracted from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel. It was
through this research the discovery was made the lipid fraction
of the green-lipped mussel are the biological most active
Since this discovery, most research on the green-lipped
mussel has been conducted on its lipid fractions, the
green-lipped mussel oil (GLMO). In the early 2000's the first
commercial GLMO became available as soft gel capsules, stabilized
with vitamin E to prevent oxidation.
The production process
Green-lipped mussels are cultured in the pristine wilderness
of the New Zealand coastal waters, feeding on natural plankton.
The culture is controlled and regulated by the New Zealand
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. After harvesting, the
mussels are transported in refrigerated trucks to the
manufacturing plant where they are crushed and centrifuged. The
mussel extract is stabilized with tartaric acid and freeze-dried,
after which the mussel oil is extracted. The mussel oil is
further stabilized with vitamin E to prevent oxidation in the
capsules. Only GLMO
produced in this way has kept its full potency of
GLMO with stabilized lipids is much more potent than unstabilized
oil and powder
The NZ green-lipped mussel, ranked
among the top 'eco-friendly seafood according to the US
environmental agency Blue Ocean Institute's list, is already
used a source of nutraceuticals. The extract has gained a
reputation amongst consumers as a natural product with
anti-inflammatory properties - an effect that has been
attributed to a body of science to its lipid factions.
The majority of green-lipped mussel extract suppliers offer
material that retains, to a greater or lesser degree of standardization, the mussels' natural nutrient profile. There
are also a small number of products that contain high levels of stabilized
lipids, such as Lyprinol marketed by Pharmalink,
which is said to be "125 times more potent than the original
freeze dried mussel powder.
However, a broad range of processes and different efficacies can
be found amongst green lipped mussel extracts, and while the
New Zealand Mussel Industry Council (NZMIC)
is aware of this the
onus is said to be very much on the industry to pull together
and set standards.
G.M. (2000): Anti-Inflammatory effects of Greenlip mussel oil. All. et
GLMO inhibits inflammations and allergic reactions in a
GLMO moderately inhibits ovine COX-1 and COX-2 pure
enzymes in vitro. The free fatty acid fraction of GLMO and to a
lesser extent the triglyceride fraction are the most active
Hydrolysis of the
extracts using potassium hydroxide or protease enzymes increased
COX inhibition by up to ten-fold. Both COX-1 and COX-2
pathways are involved with inflammatory processes and allergic
reactions. Although inhibition of COX-2 is beneficial to the
reduction of the inflammatory response, there is debate
concerning the safe usage of NSAIDs and selective COX-2
inhibitors as anti-inflammatory agents in relation to
gastrointestinal and cardiovascular events. In the present study,
GLMO exhibited no inhibition selectivity or preference for
either COX-1 or COX-2, and this was apparent for the extracts at
various concentrations. This observation is in contrast to the
NSAID's which are non-selective inhibitors of COX that show
preferential activity against COX-1. The researchers concluded
these results support
the use of GLMO as an alternative for conventional
[non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] NSAIDs and fish oil
treatment in the relief of the symptoms of arthritis.
McPhee, L.D. Hodges, P.F.A. Wright, P.M. Wynne, N. Kalafatis,
D.W. Harney, T.A. Macrides (2007) Anti-cyclooxygenase effects of lipid extracts from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna
canaliculus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B, Volume 146, Pages 346-356.
GLMO contains a novel and unique omega-3 fatty acid that
imitates arachidonic acid (AA)
The free fatty acid fraction of GLMO contains novel omega 3
polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA), originating from the
algae and other micro organisms unique to New Zealand waters.
The most bioactive fractions were identified as C18:4, C19:4,
C20:4, and C21:5. The C20:4 was the predominant PUFA in the
extract, and was a structural isomer of arachidonic acid (AA).
The inflammatory precursor AA is an ω-6 PUFA of 20 carbons in
length and has 4 unsaturated double bonds (positions 5, 8, 11
and 14) with each double bond being separated by one methylene
group. The predominant bioactive PUFA of GLMO identified in this
study is similar to AA in that it also possesses 20 carbons with
four double bonds. However, the first double bond is located at
the seventh position, and the second double bond is interrupted
from the first by two methylene groups resulting in the double
bonds at positions 7, 11, 14 and 17. The interrupted bond
positioning of these structural analogues of AA may account for
their anti-inflammatory behavior, by competitively inhibiting
the active site of enzymes which use AA as a substrate, i.e., LO
and COX, thereby reducing the production of leukotriene (LT) and
prostaglandin (PG) metabolites. The novel compounds may be
biologically significant as anti-inflammatory agents, as a
result of their in vitro inhibition of lipoxygenase products of
the AA pathway.
Studies support green-lipped mussel's anti-inflammatory
Treschow, L.D. Hodges, P.F.A. Wright, P.M. Wynne, N.
Kalafatis, T.A. Macrides (2007): Novel anti-inflammatory ω-3 PUFAs from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna
canaliculus" Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part , Volume 147, Pages 645-656.
inflammation by modulating specific cytokines and proteins
A pioneering research by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has uncovered a previously
unknown complex anti-inflammatory mechanism for easing the pain of arthritis as well as confirming the
effectiveness of GLMO's ability to alleviate conditions associated with inflammation. In a series of studies conducted by professor Samuel Lo and his team, GLMO was shown to relieve pain in adjuvant-induced rats; modulate cytokines with a decrease in cytokines associated with inflammations, and increase IL-10 (a cytokine that controls inflammation). Moreover, GLMO decreased the synthesis of some proteins
associated with inflammation, while increasing the synthesis of the anti-inflammatory enzyme
G.M. (2008): Novel anti-inflammatory mechanism of Lyprinol in the AIA rat model. Progress in Nutrition Vol. 10, N.3, 146-152.
Chi-Ho Lee, John Hon-Kei
Lum, Curtise Kin-Cheung Ng, Janice McKay, Yoki Kwok-Chu Butt,
Man-Sau Wong, Samuel Chun-Lap Lo (2007): Pain controlling and cytokine-regulating effects of a lipid extract of Perna
canaliculus, in a rat adjuvant-induced arthritis model. eCam Advanc Access, September 26, 2007.
Hong Kong Polytechnic
University Press Release, issued January 22, 2009.
GLMO is over 200 to 350 times more potent than other oils
Research has shown GLMO is over 200 to 350 times more potent
than other oils (fish oil, salmon oil, flax oil, evening prmrose
oil) in preventing the swelling associated with adjuvant-induced
G.M. (2000): Anti-Inflammatory effects of Greenlip mussel oil. All. et
Whitehouse MW, Macrides TA, et al: Anti-Inflammatory activity of a lipid fraction
(GLMO) from the NZ greenlip mussel. Inflam Pharmacol 1997(5):237-246
GLMO is more potent than NSAID's (non-steroidal
In a study the effects of GLMO, aspirin and ibuprofen were
compared in a carageenan-induced inflammation in rodents.
Results showed that aspirin reduced inflammatory swelling by
40%, ibuprofen by 60% and GLMO by 90%.
G.M. (2000): Anti-Inflammatory effects of Greenlip mussel oil. All. et
GLMO is safe and effective in the management of arthritis
Several studies show GLMO is safe and effective in the
management of arthritis:
- Eighty patients with knee OA were randomized to receive
either GLMO or placebo for six months. All were allowed
paracetamol rescue treatment during the study and were
reviewed at week 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, 18 and 24 for arthritis
assessment and safety evaluation. Assessment of the patients’
arthritis included the use of a100 mm visual analog scale (VAS)
for pain, patient’s and physician’s global assessment of
arthritis, a validated Chinese version of the Oxford Knee
Score (COKS), a validated Chinese version of the Arthritis
Impact Measurement Scale 2-short form (CAIMS2-SF),
erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein
(CRP). Improvement in almost all of the arthritis assessment
parameters was observed in both groups of patients studied.
However, there was a greater improvement in the perception
of pain as measured by the VAS, and patients’ global
assessment of arthritis in those who took GLMO when compared
with controls from week 4 following adjustment for the
change in the amount of paracetamol used between study
visits. Patients who took GLMO but not placebo also had
improved scores in the CAIMS2-SF physical function and
psychological status domains from week 4. However, changes
in these scores did not differ significantly between the two
groups at various study visits. When used over six months,
GLMO was safe and well tolerated with no serious
side-effects reported. Further, there were no significant
differences in the overall incidence of adverse reactions or
withdrawal from study as a result of trial drug toxicity
between GLMO and placebo treated patients.
Lau CS et al (2004): Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis with a lipid extract of the green-lipped mussel, a double blind placebo-controlled study. Prog in Nutr 6(1),N;17-31.
- A 12 week drug monitoring study evaluated the effects of
GLMO on 50 adult men and women suffering from inflammatory
rheumatoid arthritis. 34 of the 50 patients required
medicinal treatment before and during the study. Upon
completion of the study, for 21 of the 34 subjects (64 %)
current drug therapy could be reduced or terminated. 13 of
those did not even require further therapy. At the end of
the treatment period, 38 % of all subjects were regarded as
being free from disorders and the number of subjects
suffering from severe pain was significantly decreased from
60% (at baseline) to 25 % (at completion of the trial). A
significant positive effect was observed for all
investigated parameters. GLMO was generally very well
tolerated, with only one, non-serious adverse event (mild
nausea) observed, which can probably be related to the study
medication. GLMO therefore, proved to be an effective and
very well tolerated dietary supplement for the treatment of
inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis.
Gruenwald J. et al (2004): Efficacy and Tolerability of a combination of Greenlip Mussel Oil and high concentrations of EPA and DHA in Inflammatory Rheumatoid Disorders. Adv. Ther. 21(3);197-200
- In a multicenter trial, 54 patients with symptomatic
osteoarthritis of the knee and hip were to receive GLMO at a
dose of 2 capsules twice a day. After 4 and 8 weeks
treatment period, the following parameters were analyzed ;
Visual analogue scale, Lequesne index, Global assessment by
patients, Global assessment by doctors and Adverse effects.
GLMO treatment led to significant improvement in the signs
and symptoms of osteoarthritis as determined by all efficacy
measures. After 4 and 8 weeks treatment period, 53% and 80%
of patients experienced significant pain relief and
improvement of joint function. There was no proven adverse
effect during this clinical trial.
Cho CS et al (2002): Korean Multi-Centre Study of Greenlip Mussel Oil for Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee. The New. Med. J. 45 (5);27-33.
- In a series of clinical studies, the efficacy of GLM
powder was evaluated in alleviating arthritic signs in dogs.
The performance of GLM was investigated as a powdered
supplement on top of a standard diet and when incorporated
into one of two processed dietary products, a semi-moist treat and a dry main meal diet. Both of these products used
manufacturing processes designed to retain the efficacy of
the GLM. Total arthritic scores and scores for joint pain
and joint swelling were significantly reduced following 6 wk
of GLM supplementation in all three forms.
Bierer T.L. and L.M. Bui (2002): Improvement of Arthritic Signs in Dogs fed Green-Lipped Mussel. J. Nutr. 132:1634S-1636S.
- A double-blind 3-month parallel comparison of stabilized
green-lipped mussel powder and green-lipped mussel oil was
conducted at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. Sixty
patients wee invited to take part in this trial, 30 patients
with classical rheumatoid arthritis and 30 with clinical and
radiological evidence of osteoarthritis. Progress was
monitored by means of the articular index (AI), morning
stiffness (limbering up time LUT), grip strength in each
hand, pain as associated by the visual analogue scale (VA),
functional index (FI) and the presence or absence of night
pain. The 30 patients in each category were randomly
assigned to stabilized green-lipped mussel powder (1150 mg/day)
or stabilized green-lipped mussel oil (210 mg/day). Results:
76% of rheumatoid and 70% of osteoartritic patients
benefited. AI, LUT and FI improved significantly by 3 months.
The two preparations appeared equally efficacious.
Gibson SLM, Gibson RG (1998): The treatment of arthritis with a lipid extract of Perna canaliculus: a randomized trial. Compl Ther Med 6:122-126.
GLMO is safe and effective in he management of asthma
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways
mediated at least in part by leukotrienes and other lipid
mediators. Experimental studies have shown that lipid extract of
New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus, is effective
in inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase and cyclo-oxygenase pathways
responsible for production of eicosanoids, including
leukotrienes and prostaglandins. The aim of this study was to
assess its effect on symptoms, peak expiratory flow (PEF) and
hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in expired breath condensate as a
marker of airway inflammation in patients with steroid-naïve
atopic asthma in a double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled
clinical trial. Forty six patients with atopic asthma received
two capsules of lipid extract
or placebo b.i.d. for 8 weeks. Each capsule of lipid extract
contained 50 mg v-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and 100 mg olive
oil, whereas placebo capsules contained only 150 mg olive oil.
There was a significant decrease in daytime wheeze, the
concentration of exhaled H2O2 and an increase in morning PEF in
the lipid extract group compared to the
placebo group. There were no significant side-effects. The
authors conclude that lipid extract of New Zealand green-lipped
mussel may have some beneficial effect in patients with atopic
Emelyanov E, Fedoseev G et al (2002): Treatment of asthma with a lipid extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel: a
randomized clinical trial. Eur Respir J 20; 1-5.
GLMO has the potential to reduce the severity and onset of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Twenty-three IMale C57BL/6 mice, aged 6 weeks were assigned
to three treatment groups and administered GLMO, fish oil or
extra virgin olive oil via daily oral gavage, for 13 days.
This study shows GLMO has the potential to reduce the severity
and onset of IBD. GMO was more beneficial for treatment of
colonic inflammation than fish oil , even though the optimal
dose for GLMO administration may not have been achieved.
Tenikoff D, Murphy KJ, Le M, Butler RN, Howard GS, Howe PR (2005): Greenlip Mussel Oil, a potential preventive treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
(IBD)?. J. Gastroenterol 2005; 40:361-365.
Why only use STABILIZED green-lipped mussel powder
and STABILIZED green-lipped mussel oil?
- Research has shown the lipid fractions
of the green-lipped mussel are the biological most active
These lipid fractions are extremely unstable and
vulnerable to rapid oxygen degradation (oxidation). Unless
the mussel powder is stabilized soon after harvesting, there
would be little or no value for use as an anti-inflammatory
agent. By research of professor Kosuge
of the Shizuoka College of Pharmacy at Shizuoka University in
Japan, stabilizing with tartaric acid before freeze-drying is
the only method found to be effective. This method has been patented
by McFarlane Laboratories.
- Several producers of green-lipped mussel powder do not
stabilize the mussels immediately after harvesting. The
powder and oil derived from such mussels will degrade rapidly and loose its biological activity.
Why is green-lipped mussel OIL (GLMO) superior to
green-lipped mussel powder?
- GLMO produced using patented extraction and stabilization processes, guarantee a high quality, stabile oil with high
- GLMO contains in concentrated form a unique mixture of
omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA's), the
biological most active component of the green-lipped mussel.
- The oil-form allows further stabilization of the omega-3
fraction by adding vitamin E, a fat-soluble anti-oxidant. GLMO
soft gels with stabilized oil will maintain their biological
activity even after years.
- It is difficult to stabilize the omega-3 fraction in
powder form. Even after fresh mussels have been stabilized
using tartaric acid, the omga-3 fatty acids will be subject
to rapid oxidation after the mussels have been freeze-dried
and turned into a powder. Oxidated mussel powder has a
distinct, unpleasant smell. .
- Green-lipped mussel powder used for the production of GLMO,
usually ends up on the market after the oil has been
extracted. This so-called 'defatted' mussel powder still
contains some fatty acids, but much less than the original
powder. "Defatted' mussel powder is often offered at much
lower prices than the original mussel powder. No need to
mention this powder has little biological activity left.
- Green-lipped mussel power contains proteins that may -like
all shellfish- cause allergic reactions. Asthma, for
instance, is primarily an allergic reaction. People
suffering from asthma may be more sensitive to shellfish
proteins than other people, and should always be careful
- GLMO is an oil extract without any proteins. GLMO may be
tolerated well by people sensitive to shell fish. Research
has shown GLMO is the only natural ingredient known to be
effective in the management of asthma.
- GLMO is a natural ingredient without any side effects,
even safe for children.