Learn about joint pain and the science behind green-lipped mussel extracts


Joint pain has always been a major health problem in modern society. The pain we are having can be in many different types. But, the most prevalent one and the one we are likely to experience at least once in our lifetime is arthritis. The underlying causes for different kinds of arthritis are, to this day, is unknown. The contributors to the pain feeling are mainly inflammation and loss of joint lubricant. By addressing both of these 2 issues, green-lipped mussel extracts can reduce your joint pain and ease the annoyance that it creates.


There are more than a hundred types of arthritis. We can simplify them into two major categories - rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is when your immune system does not behave properly. It starts producing inflammation in places that do not need inflammation. RA can affect any demographic since it is an immune system disorder. To date, there is no known “official” medical treatment for RA. The goal of all common medications and treatments is to reduce pain and discomfort.


The other type is Osteoarthritis (OA) and this type of arthritis is an age-related problem. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cushion layer of your joint (cartilage) starts wearing down. It also has trouble rebuilding itself, adding to the problem. Hence, OA is commonly seen in the older age groups because of the decades of wear & tear, and the declining body repair function. Through deformation in joint, your body reacts by starting inflammation. Thus, causing pain in that joint.

Mussel Oil

For rheumatoid arthritis, mussel oil helps with pain reduction by reducing the inflammation. More specifically, green-lipped mussel oil extracts contain essential omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids. These components have a significant biological impact on the inflammation activities of human joint. Out of those omega-3s present in Green-lipped mussel are EPA & DHA, two common fatty acids. EPA & DHA had been thoroughly studied. They have proven to be effective in reducing inflammation in joints. It is also a growing practice for health practitioners prescribing fish oil to arthritis patients. This can aid with treatment in certain individuals who has trouble with the usual prescription. However, there are more unique omega-3s present in green-lipped mussel oil, the more well-understood one is called ETA. ETA novel anti-inflammatory properties have been shown effective in several pieces of research. Comparing to EPA & DHA, ETA anti-inflammation effect is suspected to be more effective than the former two. The anti-inflammation effect of mussel oil omega-3s and ETA is even thought to be comparable to over-the-counter drugs such as Paracetamol. In short, the mussel oil is suspected to contain a unique omega-3 ETA which exhibits significant anti-inflammatory property. This, in turn, alleviates joint pain conditions.

Mussel Powder

With osteoarthritis, however, mussel powder can be a more cost-effective alternative, as it is cheaper to obtain. It directly helps with rebuilding the cartilage and synovial fluids. In the powder, there is a compound called Glycosaminoglycans (GAG). It may sound long and hard to pronounce, but GAG is simply a broken-down version of Glucosamine. Glucosamine is the most popular joint supplement available commercially. The effect of Glucosamine on repairing joint cartilage has been examined extensively. Its effectiveness is also approved by patients around the globe. However, it is a fact that for human metabolism to break down Glucosamine entering the body, there has to be a presence of an appropriate enzyme. Trouble is that not everyone has this particular enzyme or has the right amount to process the glucosamine in the body. For that reason, it is beneficial to have a direct source of the ‘post-Glucosamine’. So, with GAG, mussel powder can directly repair your cartilage and synovial fluid, the area where the pain from OA originated from.


Two different mussel extracts are used for two different types of arthritis - one for inflammation, one for cartilage. Make sure to consult with your healthcare professionals on what type of arthritis you have. And, what type of joint pain you are experiencing before buying supplements. Be noted that joint supplements such as green-lipped mussel extracts or glucosamine only helps with the pain symptoms. It does not replace your doctor’s prescription and only be uses as a natural & no-side-effect aid to your treatment.

Materials used to assist in writing this article

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- Treschow, A., Hodges, L., Wright, P., Wynne, P., Kalafatis, N., & Macrides, T. (2007). Novel anti-inflammatory ω-3 PUFAs from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 147(4), 645-656. doi:10.1016/j.cbpb.2007.04.004
- Abboud, J. A., & Abboud, S. K. (2008). No More Joint Pain. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- What is Osteoarthritis? (n.d.). Retrieved from
- Glucosamine Benefits the Body in 4 Major Ways — Do You Have Enough? (2018, September 3). Retrieved from
- Grienke, U., Silke, J., & Tasdemir, D. (2014). Bioactive compounds from marine mussels and their effects on human health. Food Chemistry, 142, 48-60. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.07.027