Green Lipped Mussels | BioStar US

Green-Lipped Mussels for Equine and Canine Health

The indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, have for hundreds of years regarded green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) as a food source for health and well-being.   In the 1970s, it was observed that the Māori whose diets were rich in these mussels were less likely to suffer from joint disease than those whose diets were not.  And so began international scientific investigation into green-lipped mussels and their effect on health.

Nutritional components

Green-lipped mussels have been identified as an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, vitamin B-12, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iodine.  The iodine content is particularly important for insulin resistant horses since iodine is essential to the production of thyroid hormones.  Hay analysis often reveals low iodine content.

Low iodine also affects dogs, with some breeds more prone to deficiency than others; Doberman Pinschers, Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Old English Sheepdogs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Boxers, Poodles, and Cocker Spaniels are more predisposed to hypothyroidism than others.  Iodine deficiency also tends to be more common in dogs that have been spayed or neutered.

Support for joints

Green-lipped mussels provide glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are considered the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid. GAGs function in the fluids of the body (blood, mucous, synovial fluids, membrane surfaces) and can increase the synthesis of proteoglycans, hyaluronic acid, and collagen.

One GAG found in green-lipped mussels, chondroitin sulfate, is a vital part of the body’s extracellular matrix (ECM), and is a component of aggrecan, an essential structural protein found in cartilage.  Chondroitin also increases hyaluronan production in synovial cells, helping to maintain viscosity of the lubricating synovial fluid.

Glucosamine, a critical precursor to the synthesis of collagen and GAGs, is another naturally occurring component of green-lipped mussels.

Proteoglycans are proteins found in the ECM of connective tissues.  These are a source of negative charges within the ECM, thereby attracting water molecules that contribute to the resilience of cartilage.  The proteoglycans contribute to the structure and strength of the articular cartilage.

Gastro-protective qualities

Since the 1980s, various studies with rats and pigs have shown that green-lipped mussels can produce gastro-protective actions associated with the lipid factors EPA and DHA.

Anti-inflammatory actions

Other researchers working with animal models and human-controlled studies have focused on the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s from green-lipped mussels and the inhibition of leukotriene and cyclooxygenase (COX). One fascinating study looked at the furan fatty acids (F-acids) which, according to this particular study, are naturally occurring but rarely detected.  Using a rat model, the anti-inflammatory activity of F-acids was reported and it was “confirmed that the lipid extract of the green-lipped mussel includes a fatty acid that is more effective than eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)”.

A 2002 study on arthritic dogs published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that green-lipped mussel powder was effective in reducing arthritic signs in dogs as measured by a total arthritic score that included joint pain and joint swelling.  The researchers also stated that “the reported gastro-protective action of green-lipped mussel powder may provide additional clinical benefit.”

More than the sum of its parts

For me, what makes the green-lipped mussel so profound, is that while the components of this food are important individually, it’s the sum of the components that is essential for its efficacy.  We can give glucosamine derived from exoskeletons of shrimp, lobster and crab, and we can give chondroitin derived from shark and cow cartilage, but in the end we are just giving isolated nutraceuticals without the benefit of the other biological components left in the source.

In nature there is a high degree of connectivity, and so it is with food.  Are green-lipped mussels effective for joints because of the omega-3s and GAGs, or is it because these components are joined in a matrix of protein, fat, nutrients, and some of the mysterious elements such as F-acids?

In the case of the green-lipped mussel, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

You can find green-lipped mussels in these BioStar products:

Green-Lipped Mussels for Equine and Canine Health | BioStarUSBioStar’s Receptor EQ provides green-lipped mussel, which provides chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid, and can increase the synthesis of proteoglycans, hyaluronic acid and collagen. Receptor EQ also contains the super antioxidant astaxanthin and provides important circulatory support from Capros, a patented extract of Indian gooseberry (or amalaki), long revered in Ayurvedic medicine.  Receptor EQ provides support for homeostasis with the inclusion of organic hemp biomass.

Green-Lipped Mussels for Equine and Canine Health | BioStarUSBioStar’s Adaptor EQ is formulated to support the HPA Axis with two adaptogenic mushrooms: Reishi and Cordyceps. It is a suitable USEF show safe alternative to Receptor EQ, which contains hemp biomass. It provides green-lipped mussel, which provides chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid, and can increase the synthesis of proteoglycans, hyaluronic acid and collagen. Adaptor EQ also contains the super antioxidant astaxanthin and provides important circulatory support from Capros, a patented extract of Indian gooseberry (or amalaki), long revered in Ayurvedic medicine.

Trinity K9 | BGreen-Lipped Mussels for Equine and Canine Health | BioStarUSioStar USBioStar’s Trinity K9 is the best choice for dogs that are visibly uncomfortable around the clock, especially those whose mood seems affected by their physical limitations. With green-lipped mussel, carefully processed without heat and freeze-dried.  It is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin plus glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) which are the key components of cartilage and synovial fluid in joints.  GAGS are known to assist in tissue repair and to help provide elasticity and flexibility to articular cartilage. Also included: turmeric, astaxanthin, and CBD from whole hemp, Trinity K9 is a powerhouse of ingredients that scavenge free radicals and support dogs with advanced mobility limitations.


Tigger Montague | BioStar USWith over 30 years experience in the equine and human supplement industry, Tigger Montague knows nutrition from the synthetic side as well as the whole food side. She started BioStar US in 2006 with formulas she created in her kitchen.  Before she started the company, she was an avid rider and competitor with eventing and show jumping, until she got hooked on dressage in the late 1980’s.  She has competed on horses she’s owned and trained all the way from training level to Grand Prix.


Rainsford KD, Whitehouse MW. Gastroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) preparationArzneimittelforschung. 1980;30(12):2128-2132.

Wakimoto T, Kondo H, Nii H, et al. Furan fatty acid as an anti-inflammatory component from the green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculusProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108(42):17533-17537.

Tiffany Linn Bierer, Linh M. Bui, Improvement of Arthritic Signs in Dogs Fed Green-Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus)The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 132, Issue 6, June 2002, Pages 1634S–1636S.

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1 Response

  1. Lila Bett says:

    Green Lipped Mussels article:

    I started giving this to my little dog, Frannie. She had a degenerative disc in her back…hunched over, swollen and walking on her tippy toes. Today, that is all gone. She is running around again..rolling over…and jumping in our lap like she used to. Our vet wanted to know what we were doing for her to heal like that. I had read other reviews of how it really helped other people’s dogs so thought I would try it. She also gets a supplement with MSM, HA, and some Turmeric…Asta Zan….it was the mussels that made the difference…I am planning on trying it with one of my horses and maybe myself!! I buy the capsules and add to the food myself.