The most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent known

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 Australia.

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 anti-inflammatory compounds.

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 anti-inflammatory properties. 


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.

         Halpern G.M. (2000): Anti-Inflammatory effects of Greenlip mussel oil. All. et Immun. 32(7);272-278.


GLMO inhibits inflammations and allergic reactions in a safe way

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 anti-inflammatory compounds. 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.

S. 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 properties

A.P. 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.

GLMO reduces 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 MDH.

Halpern 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 polyarthritis.

Halpern G.M. (2000): Anti-Inflammatory effects of Greenlip mussel oil. All. et Immun. 32(7);272-278.

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 anti-inflammatory drugs)

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%.

Halpern G.M. (2000): Anti-Inflammatory effects of Greenlip mussel oil. All. et Immun. 32(7);272-278.

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 low-temperature
    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 asthma.E

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 anti-inflammatory compounds. 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 anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • 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 eating shellfish.
  • 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.  

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