There are millions of people worldwide who are suffering from numerous forms of arthritis, of which osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types. Pharmaceutical medications are plentiful in the marketplace to treat the pain, swelling and stiffness that characterize arthritis. However, natural substances such as Perna canaliculus, also known as New Zealand's green lipped mussel, are gaining prominence as an alternative option to conventional drugs in the treatment of rheumatic diseases like arthritis.
This is not to say that the green lipped mussel's health benefits are something new. Anecdotal evidence led scientists several decades ago to discover that members of the Maori people who lived along New Zealand's coast suffered fewer cases of rheumatic disorders than those who lived inland. It was also found that Perna canaliculus was one of the mainstays of the coastal-dwelling Maoris' diet.
Benefits of green lipped mussel for arthritis
But precisely what is it that makes the green lipped mussel seem so beneficial for arthritis sufferers? For one thing, it contains a combination of fatty acids which do not exist in other types of plant or marine life.
One such fatty acid in this shellfish is eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), which belongs to the omega-3 group of fatty acids. Studies suggest that ETA is a more potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent than the commonly prescribed analgesics. They also show that food supplementation with omega-3 improved joint tenderness in arthritis patients, and that some people with rheumatoid arthritis were even able to reduce their intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids.
Moreover, as an omega-3 fatty acid, ETA can also protect against other health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer's disease.
Mucopolysaccharides or glycosaminoglycans are another beneficial component of Perna canaliculus. A number of studies have indicated that mucopolysaccharides can slow down the progression rate of arthritis and alleviate joint pain. These glyconutrients are chains of molecular sugar that the human body uses to form connective tissues. They contribute to the production of chondroitins, which can be found in ligaments, cartilage and tendons. They also help the body manufacture more hyaluronan, a vital component of the synovial fluid lubricant in body joints.
The availability of green lipped mussel nutritional supplements makes it more convenient for arthritis sufferers to avail themselves of the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits of Perna canaliculus. These food supplements come in lipid extract form, such as Lyprinol, or powder form, such as Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder. They are also available in gel form, such as Pernaton Gel. They may be purchased online or over the counter in health food stores.