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Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus)


Also listed as: Perna canaliculus, Greenshell mussel
Related terms

Related Terms
  • Betain, brevetoxin B analog B4, BTXB4, chondroitin sulfate, eicosatetraenoic acids, freeze-dried mussel powder, glycosaminoglycans, green lipped mussel, Green Lips®, green shell mussel, Greenback®, Greenshell®, Greenshell® Mussel, heparin, Lyprinol®, marine oils, mollusk, Mytilidae (family), New Zealand green-lipped mussel, okadaic acid, pectenotoxins, Perna canaliculus, pernin, shellfish lipid extract, Seatone, sterol esters, yessotoxins.

  • The green-lipped mussel is native to the New Zealand coast and is a staple in the diet of the indigenous Maori culture. The anti-inflammatory effects of green-lipped mussel have been studied since the observation of a lower incidence of arthritis in coastal Maoris compared with European or inland Maori people.
  • Products containing green-lipped mussel are used to treat inflammatory conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Evidence of an effect in asthma and osteoarthritis is unclear, while evidence suggests green-lipped mussel is not effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *

Limited evidence suggests that green-lipped mussel supplementation may help allergic diseases, such as atopic asthma. Additional research is needed before a recommendation can be made.


There is conflicting evidence of the effect of green-lipped mussel supplementation for treating osteoarthritis. Reliable evidence is needed to determine whether green-lipped mussel is effective for this use.


There is conflicting evidence of the effect of green-lipped mussel supplementation for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Overall, the evidence does not support this use.

* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abortion inducing, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, breast cancer, connective tissue disorders, eye disorders (retinal disorders), heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory joint disease (bursitis, ankylosing spondylitis), Lyme disease, menstrual pain, mucositis (inflammation of mucus membranes of the digestive tract), multiple sclerosis, nerve disorders, prostate cancer, psoriasis, skin inflammation (atopic dermatitis), sports injuries, systemic lupus erythematosus (prevention), ulcers (NSAID-induced).


Adults (18 years and older)

  • Two capsules of Lyprinol® (containing 50 milligrams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and 100 milligrams olive oil per capsule) has been used twice daily for eight weeks for asthma.
  • For the treatment of osteoarthritis, the following doses have been used: 1,050 milligrams green-lipped mussel extract (three capsules) daily for three to six months; six capsules Seatone daily for six months; 210 milligrams Lyprinol® (or 1,150 milligrams green-lipped mussel powder) daily for three to six months; four capsules Lyprinol® daily for two months followed by four months of two capsules daily.
  • For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the following doses have been used: 210 milligrams Lyprinol® daily for three to six months; Sanhelios Mussel Lyprinol® Lipid Complex (containing Lyprinol and omega-3 fatty acids) for 12 weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for green-lipped mussel in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid with allergy or sensitivity to green-lipped mussel or other shellfish. Allergy symptoms may include rash (itching and hives), swelling of the face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Green-lipped mussel is generally considered safe. Adverse effects that have been associated with green-lipped mussel include metallic taste, nausea, stomach upset, intestinal gas, skin rash, fluid retention, gout, lung dysfunction, respiratory symptoms, heart failure, abnormal liver function, toxic hepatitis, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, and temporary worsening of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
  • Use with caution in patients taking anti-inflammatory drugs, herbs, or supplements, as green-lipped mussel may enhance both the effects and the side effects of these agents.
  • Use with caution in patients with asthma due to the risk of lung dysfunction and other respiratory symptoms. Avoid in patients with liver disease due to potential toxic hepatitis associated with green-lipped mussel.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Green-lipped mussel is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.


Interactions with Drugs

  • Green-lipped mussel may add to the effects of anti-asthma agents, leukotriene receptor antagonists, agents that affect the immune system, uterotrophic agents, and antihistamines. In addition, green-lipped mussel may interact with corticosteroids, particularly pentoxifylline (Pentoxil®). Green-lipped mussel may add to the effects and side effects of anti-inflammatory agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Green-lipped mussel may add to the effects of anti-asthma herbs and supplements, leukotriene receptor antagonists, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, antihistamines, and uterotrophic herbs and supplements. In addition, green-lipped mussel may interact with omega-3 fatty acids. Green-lipped mussel may add to the effects and side effects of anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. Cho SH, Jung YB, Seong SC, et al. Clinical efficacy and safety of Lyprinol, a patented extract from New Zealand green-lipped mussel (Perna Canaliculus) in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee: a multicenter 2-month clinical trial. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol 2003;35(6):212-216.
  2. Butters DE, Whitehouse MW. Treating inflammation: some (needless) difficulties for gaining acceptance of effective natural products and traditional medicines. Inflammopharmacology. 2003;11(1):97-110.
  3. Ferreira SH. Proposal to use pentoxifylline and Lyprinol therapy for chronic inflammatory diseases. Inflammopharmacology. 2005;13(5-6):429-430.
  4. Gruenwald J, Graubaum H, Hansen K, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of a combination of LYPRINOL and high concentrations of EPA and DHA in inflammatory rheumatoid disorders... eicosapentaenoic acid... decosahexaenoid acid. Advances in Therapy 2004;21(3):197-201.
  5. Halliday J. Not all green lipped mussel extracts are created equal. Europe 2008.
  6. Ishida H, Nozawa A, Nukaya H, et al. Confirmation of brevetoxin metabolism in cockle, Austrovenus stutchburyi, and greenshell mussel, Perna canaliculus, associated with New Zealand neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, by controlled exposure to Karenia brevis culture. Toxicon 2004;43(6):701-712.
  7. Lau S, Chiu PK, Chu EMY., et al. Treatment of knee osteoarthritis with Lyprinol, lipid extract of the green-lipped mussel - a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Progress in Nutrition 2004;61(17):17-31.
  8. Mani S, Lawson JW. In vitro modulation of inflammatory cytokine and IgG levels by extracts of Perna canaliculus. BMC Complement Altern Med 2006;6:1.
  9. McPhee S, Hodges LD, Wright PF, et al. Anti-cyclooxygenase effects of lipid extracts from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol.Biol 2007;146(3):346-356.
  10. Miles CO, Wilkins AL, Munday R, et al. Isolation of pectenotoxin-2 from Dinophysis acuta and its conversion to pectenotoxin-2 seco acid, and preliminary assessment of their acute toxicities. Toxicon 2004;43(1):1-9.
  11. Tenikoff D, Murphy KJ, Le M, et al. Lyprinol (stabilised lipid extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel): a potential preventative treatment modality for inflammatory bowel disease. J Gastroenterol 2005;40(4):361-365.
  12. Torres DM, Tooley KL, Butler RN, et al. Lyprinol only partially improves indicators of small intestinal integrity in a rat model of 5-fluorouracil-induced mucositis. Cancer Biol Ther 2008;7(2):295-302.
  13. Yuan G, Wahlqvist ML, He G, et al. Natural products and anti-inflammatory activity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006;15(2):143-152.
  14. Whitehouse MW. Prostanoids as friends, not foes: further evidence from the interference by cycloxygenase-inhibitory drugs when inducing tolerance to experimental arthritigens in rats. Inflammopharmacology. 2005;12(5-6):481-492.
  15. Whitehouse MW. Anti-TNF-alpha therapy for chronic inflammation: reconsidering pentoxifylline as an alternative to therapeutic protein drugs. Inflammopharmacology. 2004;12(3):223-227.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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