The Green Lipped Mussel Anti Inflammatory Effect and How it Works

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Inflammation, although a natural defense mechanism against injury, can be extremely painful. Most chronic diseases have an inflammatory component. It’s particularly problematic in the degenerative joint disease, arthritis.

Over the last couple of decades, New Zealand’s green lipped mussel extract has gained world-wide recognition for its powerful ability to reduce inflammation and treat arthritis.

In order to see how the green lipped mussel anti-inflammatory effect works, it’s firstly necessary to take a look at what is inflammation exactly.

What Causes Inflammation?

When cells have been damaged, or had their membranes weakened, the body’s immune cells try and repair the problem and get rid of any foreign materials that might be present. Such a situation is called acute inflammation.

The acute inflammatory response is initiated by inflammatory compounds called leukotrienes, which operate within the immune system. They’re released in response to damage or perceived damage, and act as signalers for the inflammation response to take place.

The inflammatory compounds that are responsible for creating the local, short term, symptoms of inflammation (pain, redness, swelling, and heat) are called prostaglandins. They’re found in the inflamed tissue.

Sometimes the body overreacts and goes into battle when there’s no damage, or nothing to defend, resulting in excessive production of leukotrienes and chronic inflammation. This is recognized to be the cause of many allergies and autoimmune diseases. Examples include psoriasis, cancer, asthma, lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Leukotrienes play an important role in the inflammatory processes associated with asthma and allergic response, particularly to airborne pollens and other airborne allergens.

How Can Inflammation Be Treated?

Conventionally, the only way to deal with inflammation is to take prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. Not only is this harmful to the body long-term (these drugs tend to product severe gastrointestinal side effects), it also doesn’t treat the underlying root of the problem.

Green lipped mussels are a natural wonder food that have been shown to performs two distinct and important anti-inflammatory activities.

In more detail, the mussels are recognized as a potent source of rare omega-3 fatty acids called Eicosatetraenoic Acid (ETA). Scientific studies have shown that the ETA inhibits the body’s metabolic pathways involving enzymes by the name of lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase (also referred to as LOX and COX). These enzymes use Arachidonic acid (a form of omega-6 fatty acid) to produce inflammatory leukotrienes and prostaglandins.

Reducing the levels of inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes in the body is the key to the green lipped mussel anti-inflammatory action.

Most notably, the mussel extract has the ability to inhibit only COX-2 enzyme activity, which takes place in inflammatory conditions. COX-1 enzyme activity performs a necessary and friendly “housekeeping” role in the stomach and kidneys, including the production of protective prostaglandins to line the stomach.

The Problem with Traditional Anti Inflammatory Drugs

Older anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin and cortisone) block both COX-1 and COX-2 pathways leading to reduced inflammation in the short term, but stomach ulcers and kidney damage in the long term. (If you do take these drugs, find out about how green lipped mussel gastroprotective capabilities can help you).

Newer drugs have been developed to only function on COX-2 but severe side effects have been reported, and many have been taken off the market.

What’s important to be aware of is that even if COX-2 inhibiting drugs were safe, they don’t do anything to control the inflammation-causing leukotrienes produced by the LOX pathway. Even more concerning, is that by blocking the use of Arachidonic acid by the COX-2 enzyme, the unutilized Arachidonic acid is available for the LOX enzyme pathway to make more leukotrienes.

So, while the pain of inflammation created by COX-2 prostaglandins is reduced, it has serious ramifications if your inflammation is caused by a dysfunctional immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The extra leukotrienes can end up making your condition worse through longer term immune attacks.

An example is the phenomenon of “aspirin-induced asthma”, seen in about 10-20% of asthma sufferers, where the inhibition of the COX pathway results in increased leukotrienes and flareups of asthma symptoms.

By simultaneously inhibiting both the COX-2 and LOX enzyme pathways, green lipped mussel extract can safely and harmlessly do what synthetic medicine cannot.

The Technicalities of How Green Lipped Mussel Reduces Inflammation

If you don’t have a scientific background, the details of way the green lipped mussel anti-inflammatory effect works can be hard to understand. It’s all based on the ways the body processes fatty acids. All omega-3 fatty acids have the ability, to some degree, act as a “dual pathway inhibitor”. They put the brakes on inflammation by tying up the enzymes that make inflammatory prostanoids and leukotrienes. What’s more ETA is a natural COX-2 inhibitor. Not only does it bind up the enzyme, it actually works at the gene level to reduce its production.

Omega-3s such as ETA also work their magic one step further up the chain, by reducing the body’s formation of Arachidonic acid in the first place. Again, this happens by tying up the enzyme used to make it — delta-5-desaturase (d5d).

So, in short, ETA is more effective than any other type of omega-3s in binding up the key enzymes.

But, that’s not all. d5d actually uses the ETA to make a product that’s beneficial to the body — EPA, the omega-3 found in common fish oil products! As long as d5d is occupied with making EPA, it can’t make Arachidonic acid.

There’s one more thing that gives the ETA in the mussel extract so much anti-inflammatory power. Its chemical structure is very close to that of Arachidonic acid. Scientists think this similarity actually enables it to trick the LOX enzyme into believing that it is Arachidonic acid.

Amazing, huh?

The Importance of Taking a Quality Green Lipped Mussel Supplement

Now, you might be keen to try the mussel extract for yourself but aren’t sure which supplement is best. Something that’s important to keep in mind is that the quality of supplements varies widely, with many manufacturers using low grade mussels and poor manufacturing processes to keep costs low. Obviously, this will affect the nutrients in the supplements and their potency. Cheap is definitely not best!

There’s one product that we think is superior to all others because of the unique way in which it’s made, using especially grown and harvested mussels and state of the art manufacturing that only takes 30 minutes to complete.

The product is Xtend-Life Green Lipped Mussel Powder. Check out how it compares to other popular green lipped mussel brands and see for yourself why we favor it.

Not only is Xtend-Life Green Lipped Mussel Powder manufactured in a superior way that guarantees freshness and potency, Xtend-Life stand by it with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This means that you can try it absolutely RISK FREE.


Sources and further reading:

  • Anti-cyclooxygenase effects of lipid extracts from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus. S. McPhee et al.
  • Anti inflammatory effects of a stabilized lipid extract of Perna canaliculus. Georges M Halpern.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Activity of a Lipid Fraction from the NZ Green-Lipped Mussel. Whitehouse, M.W.
  • The treatment of arthritis with lipid extract of Perna canaliculus: a randomized trial. Gibson S.L.M et al.

We Use and Recommend!

Xtend-Life because they are a family owned company specializing in development of innovative products to meet specific needs.

Xtend-Life combines top quality raw ingredients that are laboratory-tested, with superior manufacturing practices. Satisfaction is guaranteed, or your money back!

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