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January 2013

Green-lipped Mussel for Knee Osteoarthritis

A recent study suggests that green-lipped mussel extract may improve knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

The green-lipped mussel is native to the New Zealand coast, and is a staple in the diet of the indigenous Maori culture. Green-lipped mussel products have been proposed as adjunct therapies for a number of inflammatory conditions, including asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA), also called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, occurs when the cartilage in the joints begins to break down. The cartilage serves as a cushion between bones, allowing the joint to move without pain. Therefore, individuals with osteoarthritis experience pain and reduced mobility in their joints where cartilage is degrading.

The new study recruited 21 individuals with knee OA. For eight weeks, all participants received 3000 milligrams daily of green-lipped mussel extract. Throughout the study, participants took questionnaires regarding their OA symptoms and physical function.

Eight weeks of green-lipped mussel supplementation significantly reduced knee joint pain, mobility and stiffness. Furthermore, half of participants reported improved gastrointestinal function after the study. Additional research is warranted.

For more information about integrative therapies for osteoarthritis, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Coulson S, Vecchio P, Gramotnev H et al. Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) extract efficacy in knee osteoarthritis and improvement in gastrointestinal dysfunction: a pilot study. Inflammopharmacology. 2012 Apr;20(2):71-6 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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