Easing Arthritis Pain With A New Zealand Shellfish Extract
New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori believe that eating green lipped mussel leads to a long and healthy life. Maori were on to something special making mussel part of their daily diet. This delicious shellfish has a special property that coastal Maori benefited from. Arthritis was very rare amongst them while Maori living inland tended to suffer much more frequently. It wasn't until the early 1970s that New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus) was studied earnestly to see if there were indeed anti-inflammatory properties associated with this unique shellfish.
Initially Green Lipped Mussel was dried and powdered before being weighed and encapsulated for testing as a dietary supplement. Initial tests however highlighted some problems in spite of statistically significant improvements in arthritis scores being noted. Green Lipped Mussel is high in sodium and purine. Those on a low sodium diet found green lipped mussel supplementation and those with gout found that the extract triggered an attack. There were also a number that had allergies to shellfish and couldn't participate.
While Green Lipped Mussel is still sold in this same powdered form and many people still reap the anti-inflammatory benefits scientists were very curious to know just what fraction of the powdered extract was responsible for the reduced pain and inflammation. The purpose of the research was twofold in that the scientists wished to found something useful for treating inflammatory conditions and also to find out more about the inflammatory process itself.
Inflammation is caused by a complex series of biochemical reactions in the body. One of the important pathways leading to inflammation is known as the cyclo-oxygenase pathway or the COX pathway. Cyclo-oxygenase is an enzyme that converts Arachadonic acid into inflammatory substances. If the COX enzyme can be blocked then inflammation is vastly reduced. Arthritis drugs like Celebrex block this pathway but there is also another important inflammatory pathway called the 5-lipoxygenase pathway that if blocked will reduce inflammation.
From this research the anti-inflammatory fraction was isolated from Green Lipped Mussel, stabilized and encapsulated. This patented extract is called Lyprinol. Comparisons made between Lyprinol and other anti-inflammatory supplements showed it to 175 times more potent than the plain green lipped mussel powder. Similar comparisons showed Lyprinol 175 times more potent than salmon or evening primrose oil and 200 times more potent than flax seed oil. When Lyprinol was given to study participants at the same dosage level (5mg/kg body weight per day)it outperformed both the anti-inflammatory drugs, indomethacin and ibuprofen by a ratio of 2:1. Lyprinol was discovered to work by blocking the 5-lipoxygenase pathway. What was equally encouraging though was that after excluding those with an allergy to shellfish, side-effects were extraordinarily low.
Results are not instant though. It takes some time for Lyprinol to reach full effect usually around the 2 to 3 month mark. Initial dosages are 2 to 4 capsules taken daily with food in divided doses. After six weeks if improvement is noticed then slowly reduce dose to 1 to 2 capsules daily as a maintenance dose. The daily dose differs from individual to individual. The aim is to find the smallest dose that provides the desired effect.
Those arthritis patients that also had asthma noticed an improvement in both conditions. Asthma is also an inflammatory condition that leads to bronchoconstriction or narrowed airways that make breathing difficult. Reducing the inflammatory pathways in the lungs leads to less bronchoconstriction and easier breathing. Many Lyprinol users report reduced wheeze and less need for bronchodilator use.