Study hints at green-lipped mussel’s ‘original’ omega-3 action

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Anti-inflammatory

Extracts from the New Zealand green lipped mussel may exert anti-inflammatory effects at a protein level, according to new results.

Pulling together the most recent science behind the potential benefits of the commercial product Lyprinol, Georges Halpern from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) reports that the extract may decrease the synthesis of some proteins linked to inflammation.

According to findings published in Progress in Nutrition​, Halpern, who is also the chief scientific adviser of Pharmalink (the company behind Lyprinol), the extract may also control pain associated with arthritis, and improve the levels of compounds called cytokines associated with inflammation.

“These results point to a totally new and original mechanism of action of Lyprinol, explaining, at least in part, its amazing anti-inflammatory efficacy at doses much lower than other PUFAs preparations,”​ wrote Halpern.

The NZ green lipped mussel, ranked among the top 'eco-friendly seafoods' according to the US environmental agency Blue Ocean Institute's list, is already used a source of nutraceuticals.

The extract, a rich source of iron, betain, and glycoaminoglycans (including chondroitin sulphate) has gained a reputation amongst consumers as a natural product with anti-inflammatory properties - an effect that has been attributed to a body of science to its lipid factions.

The majority of green-lipped mussel extracts reportedly retain, to a greater or lesser degree of standardisation, the mussels' natural nutrient profile.

There are also a small number of products that contain high levels of stabilised lipids, such as Lyprinol marketed by Pharmalink, which is claimed to be "125 times more potent than the original freeze dried mussel powder."

Study details

The studies were conducted at the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at the HKPU under the direction of Dr Samuel Lo. Using a rat model of induced arthritis, the researchers randomised animals to four groups. The first group received a normal diet (control), and the other groups had their diets supplemented with Lyprinol (25 mg per kg of body weight), olive oil (300 microlitres), or the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Naproxen (20 mg per kg of body weight).

At the end, the researchers report that pain scores were lowered in the Lyprinol and NSAID group to approximately the same extent, judged by the vocalisations by the animals, compared to the control and olive oil groups.

Furthermore, levels of cytokines associated with inflammation were found to decrease in both the NSAID and green-lipped mussel extract groups, added the researchers. These values were significantly lower than those observed in the olive oil and control groups.

A tendency for increases in levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines was also observed, although Halpern notes that these increases were not statistically significant.

In order to study the effects of the mussel extract on the synthesis of some proteins linked to inflammation, a proteomic approach was adopted. A down-regulation of six proteins linked to inflammation is reported by Halpern, while an increase in malate dehydrogenase (MDH) was reported.

Source: Progress in Nutrition​2008, Volume 3, Pages 146-152“Novel anti-inflammatory mechanism of action of Lyprinol in the AIA rat model”​Author: G.M. Halpern

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