Green lipped mussel products are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in humans and animals but which form has the best result ?
This marine-based product contains omega -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) glucosamine and chondroitins which evidence shows rivals that of the more popular supplements and has led to its use as a powder, or additive blended into feed.
Not coincidentally, the bivalve mollusc contains EPA and DHA, the prized PUFA usually sourced from fish oil, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, - have all been identified as possibly key to GLM’s anti-inflammatory and cartilage-sparing effects.
Coastal Maori communities that regularly consumed GLM experiencing less arthritis than their inland peers, a lyophilised (freeze-dried) concentrated powder was commercially developed and marketed for the condition in 1974. However studies of GLM conducted through the 1980s returned inconsistent results which is now attributed to unstable extracts sourced from human food processing that typically involved high temperatures.
From 1986, GLM preparations have become more stable with the addition of antioxidant organic acids (eg tartaric) and patented temperature controlled cold processing and lyophilising. This stabilised GLM was found effective in treating clinical arthritis in humans and more recently also in dogs and horses.
The chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate act as building blocks for chondrocytes in cartilage formation, helping the joint capsule retain water and conform to pressure changes, absorbing shock from abnormal joint stress.
Which product is best?
The quality and activity of a Perna canaliculus (GLM) product is reliant on the raw materials, as well as the processing method used. A recent study published in November 2015 discussed the importance of characterising each batch of Perna canaliculus to ensure reproducible quality of the final formulation, with large variations in concentrations of key fatty acids (EPA and DHA) found between preparations, which would result in varying levels of anti-inflammatory efficacy.
Water and lipid content, as well as fatty acid and microbiological analysis, are aspects to be considered for batch characterisation, providing objective measures reflecting back on the raw materials as well as the processing method. The provision of this information should provide an accurate picture of quality and therefore the efficacy of product, enabling clinicians to have confidence to recommend and expect anti-inflammatory as well as chondroprotective benefit for their patients. It is therefore important to know not only the source of the raw product but also the processing method to assure the efficiency of a GLM Product.