Green Lipped Mussel: The Species-Appropriate Superfood

02nd February 2024 8 min read

Guest Blog: Anna Webb

Could Green Lipped Mussel be the species-appropriate superfood that’s set to put a spring in your dog’s step, and reduce or eliminate the need for NSAID’s?

Back to News

We know the expression ‘you are what you eat’, but what does it really mean? And does it apply to dogs too?

It’s a given that certain foods contain specific nutrients, and the reason we’re encouraged to eat a balanced diet is to nourish our bodies’ cells, with appropriate energy, to help them stay in optimum health.

It’s critical that we eat foods that will do their job. These foods should be whole, unprocessed, or minimally so, ethically sourced, even organic.

I like to think of wellness for dogs as being attributed to the three pillars of health (this also applies to humans!):

  • Species-appropriate nutrition
  • A balanced functional immune system
  • A sound resilient physical frame

It’s not just the foods we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, but its over medication, overly processed foods, microplastics, cleaning products, gardening products: the list goes on.

Adding functional ingredients- polyphenols- like fresh herbs, leafy greens, fruits, berries and some other superfoods can make a huge difference to balance the inevitability of environmental stressors.

One ingredient I am a massive fan of is Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) also known as Perna canaliculus, defined by the green edges on its shell.

I’ve added GLM into my dogs’ diets since 2009, and the more I’ve read, the more I love it! Mr Binks my re-homed English Toy Terrier (now 12 years) began GLM the minute I got him home when he was 2 x years old.

He suffers from a degenerative bone condition- Legg calve Perthes Disease. His left hip joint was removed at nine months.

I’m very pleased to say he’s still very mobile, playful and cheeky! This isn’t just down to his daily dose of GLM, but his species appropriate, ethically sourced, raw, balanced and complete diet. Also, regular acupuncture, massage, RED and mobility therapy has kept a spring in his step- and long may this continue!

What is Green Lipped Mussel?

Farmed in New Zealand where high aquaculture standards have been recognised by the International Conservation Organisation Blue Ocean Institute.

The water quality is constantly monitored with tests carried out to the standards set by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, European Union, and NZ Food Safety Authority!

What’s more both the mussels and seawater around the farms are tested for biotoxins, bacteria, and heavy metals, which is interesting in light of the pollution issues with salmon and many other fish and the fish oils.

Over the years the Green Lipped Mussel freeze dried processing has advanced greatly to ensure that its nutrients, especially its broad spectrum of Omega-3 fatty acids remain intact.

Health Benefits of Green Lipped Mussel

For around 20 years, scientists have been studying green-lipped mussels as a safe and effective alternative for dogs (and people) who can’t take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories).

The Green Lipped Mussel contains a powerhouse of Omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), minerals including, zinc, copper, manganese and the key antioxidant vitamins - E and C.

EPA and DHA from Green Lipped Mussel have been scientifically proven to proactively down-regulate COX-2 expression, which is an inflammatory mediator.

Osteoarthritis is created by a ‘self-perpetuating’ inflammatory cycle, caused by ‘inflammatory mediators’ that stimulate the production of more inflammatory mediators.

NSAIDs are routinely prescribed as they are known to break this cycle by inhibiting these mediators, and most notably, the COX-2 enzyme. (Laflamme 2012).

However long-term use of NSAIDS can cause side effects from vomiting, and lethargy, to kidney and liver disease (Bren 2006).

Unlike NSAIDs, green-lipped mussels are rich in glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs). An important GAG found in GLM is chondroitin sulfate.

Chondroitin strengthens your dog’s joint capsules and this allows them to hold more water. More water means more shock absorption leading to less wear and tear on the joints. It means that GLM not only reduces arthritic symptoms but also helps restore your dog’s joints!

Also, unlike NSAIDs, GLM contains LOX (lipoxygenase) inhibitors. These enzymes protect the stomach lining and liver from harm.

Plus, research shows green-lipped mussels keep delivering these health benefits, even a full month after you stop giving them to your dog!

Does Green Lipped Mussel do its job?

There have been several clinical studies proving how GLM has reduced arthritic symptoms in dogs making them more playful, less lame, less stiff and more mobile.

Takeaway points:

  • Green Lipped Mussel is a species-appropriate nutrition-packed superfood for joint support and more!
  • GLM is one of the superfoods added to the Paleo Plus range from Paleo Ridge
  • Studies have proved GLM as an alternative to NSAIDs.
  • In 2013 the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research reported that a diet enriched with Green Lipped Mussel extract significantly improved the gait of dogs afflicted by OA than those without GLM added.
  • Check with the manufacturer that the GLM product has at least 6% fat
  • Dosing: 0-5KG: 200 mg, 6-12 KG: 400 mg: 13-25KG 800 mg: 26-37KG 1,200 mg

Anna Webb is a Canine Nutrition and Behaviour expert, Anna combines her psychology degree, with study at the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) and over 20 years - of experience. Host of the award-nominated A DOG’S LIFE podcast, she lives in London and is owned by Prudence, a Miniature Bull Terrier, and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier.

Further Reading