If your dog suffers from joint pain (or if you want to prevent it), green mussel powder is definitely the natural supplement he needs.
Just last week, a couple drove 1h30 to come and thank me in person (with watery eyes) for helping to bring their dog back to life, who was suffering from joint pain on a daily basis. Two weeks before, during a consultation, I had recommended that they add green mussel powder to their dog’s food. Before starting to give this supplement, the poor dog would go around the square of the house on his walk each day and come limping back. Two weeks after starting the green mussel, the dog was now doing 5 square turns and coming home without any lameness! His parents couldn’t believe it…it’s as if their dog had looked a few years younger…in two weeks!
The green mussel, what is it exactly?
The green mussel is a very special mollusk that is found in only one place in the world: in New Zealand (next to Australia). Its English name is “ green lipped mussel” which would translate to “ green-lipped mussel”: explained by the band of green color surrounding its shell giving the impression that the mussel would have lips. Personally, it also reminds me of a duck’s beak.🙂
Although used in New Zealand by residents since the 1970s, green mussels have only recently begun to be used here and even more recently as a supplement for our dogs. That said, word is quickly spreading about this unique food that is gaining more and more popularity.
What can green mussels do for your dog?
In short: it’s the best natural anti-inflammatory you can find for your dog!
Did you know that over 50% of dogs aged 8 and over develop joint pain like arthritis and osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis) in joints such as hips, knees and elbows? Not to mention the breeds that are predisposed to different joint problems from a young age such as hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament rupture or kneecap dislocation.
Breeds prone to hip dysplasia :
- Golden Retriever
- Bernese mountain dog
- Cane Corso
- Staffordshire Terrier
- German shepherd
Breeds prone to cruciate ligament rupture :
- Golden Retriever
- Bernese mountain dog
- Staffordshire Terrier
- German shepherd
Breeds prone to patella luxation :
- Caniche miniatures
- Cocker Spaniel
- Boston terrier
- Lhasa Apso
- Golden Retriever
- Chow Chow
We can therefore see that joint pain affects a large number of dogs who too often have no choice but to turn to the veterinary community which will relieve the symptoms with injections of pharmaceutical products such as Carthrophen or the prescription of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Metacam, Deramaxx, Rimadyl, Etodolac and Tepoxalin. On the other hand, these products (although effective) often cause other problems in the dog’s body such as the creation of ulcers, irritations, anorexia and vomiting in addition to liver disorders (especially in dogs). Labrador) and kidneys. But above all, the problem with injections is the instability of pain relief: it works very well in the days following the injection but then the effectiveness decreases more and more as we approach the next dose (because yes, it is in many cases a bit like a subscription that we must constantly renew). It is therefore an eternal restart and above all, the pain reappears the further one moves away from the date of the initial injection. Wouldn’t there be a way for our dog to be relieved, in a stable and permanent way? What if mother nature had provided something as (or even more) effective than injections or medication, without the drawbacks? the pain reappears the further one moves away from the date of the initial injection. Wouldn’t there be a way for our dog to be relieved, in a stable and permanent way? What if mother nature had provided something as (or even more) effective than injections or medication, without the drawbacks? the pain reappears the further one moves away from the date of the initial injection. Wouldn’t there be a way for our dog to be relieved, in a stable and permanent way? What if mother nature had provided something as (or even more) effective than injections or medication, without the drawbacks?
This is where the green mussel arrives with its unique combination of omega 3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and above all the secret ingredient: ETA ( eicosatetraenoic acid) which is found in only one product in the world : green mussels .
Green mussel is therefore a natural superfood and one that (unless your dog is allergic to seafood) has no side effects in addition to providing longer lasting relief than pharmaceutical chemicals.
What makes it a super food?
First, it must be said that the waters of New Zealand are among the purest in the world. The quality of the environment is a priority and the government is heavily involved in controlling this wealth.
But what makes green mussels a superfood is the unique combination of all of this in one element:
- Omega 3: EPA, DHA and especially ETA
- Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) including glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate: used to lubricate and solidify the joints
- Amino acids: glutamine, methionine
- Vitamins: C and E
- Minerals: zinc, copper and manganese
In addition, the green mussel can be used both in prevention and for the treatment of pain.
How are green mussels produced?
Green mussels are farmed in the coastal waters of New Zealand. We are not talking here about fish farming as for salmon (where the majority is raised in swimming pools) but about farming directly at sea (aquaculture) in five very specific places identified on this map:
Green mussels feed on a special variety of subarctic plankton (phytoplankton) rich in antioxidants and made to withstand higher than normal levels of ultraviolet radiation. Holes in the ozone layer over New Zealand allow more radiation from the sun to pass through and have then forced phytoplankton to evolve to protect themselves from that radiation by producing powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that are not found in phytoplankton elsewhere in the world. Mussels absorb these anti-inflammatory compounds when they ingest plankton and in turn become a storage place for these unique fatty acids.
The production of green mussels is a strictly controlled and highly regulated industry in New Zealand. Since it can only take place in the purest coastal areas of the ocean, green mussels live and thrive in an unpolluted natural environment. See for yourself:
Instead of being pulled from the sea floor, the mussels are raised on long ropes suspended in the ocean for 12 to 18 months. The only man-made components of the culture are the floats (seen in the photo above), the ropes and the anchors on the ocean floor, which support the growing mussels. This process does not use any fertilizers, artificial foods or other chemicals. In fact, because this culture method is so clean and environmentally friendly, the US environmental agency Blue Ocean Institute ranks green mussels at the top of their list of the most eco-friendly seafood products.
Like all shellfish, fresh green mussels are very perishable and most traditional methods of preservation would require them to be cooked in some way shortly after being harvested from the sea. Unfortunately, not only cooking completely changes their texture, but heat also breaks down many of their nutrients and other beneficial compounds. To avoid this, green-lipped mussel growers have developed a heatless “cold extraction” process that mechanically extracts the useful parts of the mussel (the inside), then freeze-drys and grinds them quickly so that the nutrients do not oxidize on contact with air. The result is a stable powder that retains all the health benefits of a fresh mussel.
Watch here a video of a marine biologist turned green mussel farmer after falling in love with the beauty of New Zealand. You will see the magnificent landscapes where the mussels are raised and the clarity of the water, which almost makes you want to go and harvest green mussels part-time!
Have studies been done on the effectiveness of green mussel on dogs?
Absolutely! Several studies have been conducted to show the great effectiveness of this natural product.
In 2002, this study was done on 32 dogs which they separated into two groups: 17 dogs to which green mussel powder would be added to their food for 6 weeks and 15 dogs to which nothing would be added. The results are striking: of the group given green mussel, 83% of the dogs (14/17) had an improvement that reflected in reduction of pain and inflammation at levels ranging from 30 to 75% improvement in their condition. In the other group (the one who did not receive green mussel), only one dog (1/15) had a slight improvement in his pain (the cause of which is unknown).
The same study also tested the addition of green mussel as an ingredient in the composition of the food (before cooking during the production of kibbles) but although advantageous, it seems clear from the results that the best way to give the product is in the form of a powder that is added over food. This is normal when you think about it, since the cooking process of kibble always destroys some of the vitamins and nutrients. This is why I never recommend choosing a food for (for example) the level of glucosamine it contains on the bag. Supplements are always best added separately, by you!
Subsequently in 2006, Massey University (New Zealand) conducted a study on 81 dogs suffering from arthritis. What’s interesting about this study is that it was double-blind , which means that neither the researchers nor the dog owners knew which dog was in which group , i.e. which one was receiving green lipped mussel. or the one who received the placebo. The results showed an average improvement of 74% in the dogs that received the green mussel!
Another study in 2007 this time compared three groups of dogs with osteoarthritis: one group that was injected with Carthrophen, one group that was given green lipped mussel, and a third group that was given a placebo. In the end, the study concluded that although green-lipped mussel does not relieve pain as quickly as the vet’s injection (Carthrophen), once it started to work, green-lipped mussel was greatly helpful in the pain control and highly recommended especially considering it doesn’t have the side effects of Carthrophen .
Finally, another study in 2013 evaluated the speed of muscle recovery (in humans) for runners finishing a 30km race: some supplemented with green mussel and others not. Again this time the green mussel was most effective. How something in humans can be beneficial to dogs, and vice versa. After all, our systems are not THAT different.
This next section, although a little more technical, will help you better understand what makes green mussel such a unique supplement, by the very special way it works in the dog’s body…
What causes inflammation?
When cells in the body are damaged or their membranes have been weakened, the body’s immune cells try to repair the problem and get rid of any foreign bodies that may be present. Such a situation is called acute inflammation . The acute inflammatory response is initiated by inflammatory compounds called leukotrienes , which are part of the immune system. These are released in response to perceived harm or damage and act as alarm bells for the inflammatory reaction to take place.
The inflammatory compounds responsible for creating the local symptoms of inflammation (pain, redness, swelling, and warmth) are called prostaglandins . They are located in the inflamed tissue.
Sometimes the body overreacts and goes into battle when there is no damage or nothing to defend against, leading to excessive production of leukotrienes and so-called chronic (constant) inflammation. This is known to be the cause of many allergies and autoimmune diseases. Examples include psoriasis, cancer, asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
How does green mussel work to reduce inflammation?
If you’ve read my article on fish oil, you’ve learned that in the dog’s body, omega 6s increase inflammation while omega 3s reduce inflammation . This is why obtaining a good ratio between the two omega is essential if we do not want to create an imbalance that will often result in inflammation.
The ETA contained in the green mussel (this is the secret weapon of this product) is an omega 3 unique to the green mussel which works by producing two anti-inflammatory effects.
- First, ETA works by inhibiting (preventing it from working) two enzymes, lipoxygenase and cyclo-oxygenase (also called LOX and COX ). These enzymes use (when there is inflammation) omega 6 arachidonic acid (AA), to produce inflammatory leukotrienes and prostaglandins…and thus create an inflammatory reaction. The reduction of leukotrienes and prostaglandins is key to the anti-inflammatory efficacy of green mussel. Additionally, ETA reduces the production of arachidonic acid (AA) by producing EPA (a beneficial omega 3 found in fish oil). What is extraordinary however is that as long as the body is busy producing EPA (beneficial), it will not produce AA (inflammatory)!
- Second, the green mussel has the characteristic of inhibiting only COX-2 (COX type 2) which are the ones that create inflammation. ETA not only inhibits COX-2 but also reduces its production by acting down to the gene level! The COX-1s are necessary and play a beneficial role in the stomach and the functioning of the kidneys, including the production of the membrane which protects the stomach, hence the advantage of not affecting anything for them.
New drugs have been developed in recent years to act only on COX-2 but these are still at the experimental stage or have serious side effects. It is extraordinary all the same to realize that nature (the green mussel which only targets COX-2, without side effects) succeeds where science (pharmaceuticals) struggles to act, that is only on COX-2! But what’s also important to remember is that even if drugs that only act on COX-2 were safe, they still wouldn’t work on LOX, the other problematic enzyme that causes inflammation. Green mussel is the only product that acts on LOX and COX-2 but without affecting COX-1 (which is beneficial).
To put it simply, you could say that ETA attacks inflammation directly at the source (by binding to the enzymes that compose it) and since it is present only in the green mussel, the results obtained cannot be reproduced by any other. natural product or pharmaceutical.
Finally, the g lycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that are also contained in the green mussel stimulate the production of cartilage and synovial fluid in the joints in addition to inhibiting the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage.
In summary, one could argue that all of the unique ingredients in green lipped mussel work synergistically to reduce inflammation while regenerating damaged cartilage.
The problem with traditional pharmaceutical medication
Older anti-inflammatory drugs (like cortisone) block both COX-1 and COX-2, which yes reduces inflammation but also creates many other gastric problems by “destroying” COX-1.
So unlike veterinary products, the green mussel is not gastro-toxic which means that it does not cause problems with the digestive system. On the contrary, studies have even proven that the green mussel would go so far as to reduce the gastrointestinal irritation caused by the prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
What is the difference between fish oil and green mussel?
So you know that fish oil reduces inflammation by providing omega 3. Knowing this, is there still an advantage to using green mussel? Absolutely!
Although among its many beneficial properties fish oil helps to decrease inflammation in the body, this is not its specialty as such. Think of fish oil as a natural supplement that helps a multitude of things (hair loss, puppy intellectual development, heart health, allergy reduction, etc.) while green mussel specializes in one thing only: reducing hair loss. ‘inflammation.
More precisely: the researchers who evaluate and compare the various products (pharmaceutical and natural) used to reduce inflammation have created a scale in order to grant a “rating” of effectiveness to each product. Oil from (several kinds of) fish has a rating of 0.50, while salmon oil has a rating of 0.32. For its part, the green mussel has a score of: 79! We can therefore say that green mussel is 158 times more effective than fish oil in reducing inflammation . It would therefore be necessary to take 158 doses of fish oil to equal one dose of green mussel, if we are only talking about inflammation! In the end, the green mussel only does one thing (reduce inflammation) but it does it really well!
How should I feed green mussel to my dog?
Several ways exist to give green mussel:
- In powder
- By choosing a food that already contains it
- As a freeze-dried treat
- In capsules
The best way is definitely powder as it is the most natural and least processed way to get the product. All you have to do is add it to your dog’s food, whether he eats kibble or fresh food. In the vast majority of cases, dogs do not look up to it. On the contrary, studies have even proven that the green mussel stimulates the appetite!
As for choosing a food that contains it, it will be almost impossible because it is very rare. In addition, as I said earlier, if it is found in a kibble cooking will have killed a good part of the nutrients, especially the omega 3 which are very sensitive to heat. It is therefore not a good idea to count on the fact that there is a little in the list of ingredients of your croquettes (if you can find any). Exception: there are however two companies that put green mussel in their fresh or air-dried food: K9 Natural and Ziwipeak, which are two foods made in New Zealand and available here. Here I admit that it is more worthwhile, because the product is less (or not) processed. On the other hand, unless you have a very small dog, these foods will however be very expensive if you want to feed your dog with it every day. A jar of green mussel powder will be much more economical!
As for freeze-dried treats, this is a great health treat to give your dog, but again, for a therapeutic dose (especially if you have a large dog), go for powder. That said, it’s personally the treat of choice that I give my dog when I leave the house. K9 Natural makes freeze-dried green mussels and I’m probably their best customer in Quebec for this product since my dog loves them! It really is a treat that deserves to be known.
Finally, as for the capsules, they are mainly made for humans because yes, we too can benefit from the benefits of green mussel. You will even be surprised to learn that I have several customers who come to the store to get powder, not for their dog… but for them! We’re talking about people who have tried every prescription anti-inflammatory drug for their pain and nothing worked…until they tried a dog product! For humans who would like to venture there, it seems that the taste is less pronounced when you put the powder in apple juice…and drink quickly! Otherwise, order capsules…it will be much easier to swallow, without the fishy taste.
What is the right dosage to give to our dog?
15mg of powder for each pound of weight , per day. So if your dog weighs 50 lbs: 15 x 50 = 750mg, per day. It is also possible to double the dosage for the first two weeks.
If in doubt always check with your veterinarian. No side effects have been noted with the use of this product but it is always important to be sensitive to changes in our animal when adding any natural product.
Does it take time to take effect?
You will see the optimal effectiveness of green mussels after approximately 6 weeks of treatment. On the other hand, many customers testify that after 2 or 3 weeks, they already notice a great improvement in the reduction of inflammation and the increase in joint mobility!
Important: you have to give it every day for it to work well. It’s not the kind of supplement you can give once or twice a week and expect results.
The disadvantages of green mussels?
There are very few downsides to using this product, other than it smells a bit…of mussels! Also, as mentioned earlier, this product is not for dogs with seafood allergies.
In the literature, only TWO unique cases have been found where a person with existing liver problems did not benefit from the addition of green mussels. This is why you will find a mention of the type “not recommended for dogs with liver disorders” on certain products. That said, without minimizing…we are talking here about only two cases in the world when these two people already had liver problems. That’s not like saying green mussel CAUSES liver trouble.
Should I continue to give glucosamine and chondroitin if I give green mussel?
In the majority of cases, the green mussel can completely replace what you are already feeding, because it itself contains glucosamine and chondroitin (and much more). Also, since it is a completely natural product, the dog’s body will absorb the benefits of green mussel much better than synthetic glucosamine sulfate.
What about dogs that get injections from the vet?
I invite you to discuss green-lipped mussel powder with your veterinarian. If he does not know that, do not hesitate to refer him this article. He will then be able to consult all the science (studies) that support the unique benefits of this product.
Many clients whose dogs received injections of Cartrophen were able to either increase the time between injections or even stop them altogether following the addition of green mussel to their dog’s diet.
What product am I using?
I use and recommend RawPaw Green Lipped Mussel Powder. It is a Canadian (Montreal) company that has a super nice line of high quality natural products offered at reasonable prices. In addition, their products are approved by Health Canada (Government of Canada).
The 180 g jar. sells for $42, which is equivalent to 180 days of treatment for a 66 lb dog. For a 33 lbs dog, we will talk about 360 days of treatment (one year). So as you can see, you will go a long way with $42 investment!
That said, I would like them to have a smaller format for those with smaller dogs and especially for those who would like to try the product before buying a large pot. A small pot at $20-25 would be ideal in my opinion.
Good news: following the publication of my article, the company informed me that they are currently working on releasing a smaller format!
As you can see, inflammation is a natural reaction of the body which is relatively complex. There is once again a natural and above all effective alternative to pharmaceutical products. Even more important: with the green mussel you will be treating the problem at the source instead of simply covering up your dog’s pain symptoms by opting for pharmaceuticals.
Joint disorders are a real problem in the canine field and the green mussel can definitely help our dogs live healthier lives. After all, we all want the best for our dogs!
Green Lipped Mussels: Why Your Dog Needs Them! – Rodney Habib – Dogs Naturally Magazine.
The Green Lipped Mussel Anti Inflammatory Effect and How it Works – Maya S. Cook
Green lipped mussels for dogs: how they can help – Dr Michael Petty DMV.
Green Lipped Mussels: All the Information You Ever Wanted to Know About Them
Life of a green-lipped mussel – Science Learning Hub
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and gastro-intestinal toxicity: current issues – Shah, Fitzgerald et Murray, 1999.
Improvement of Arthritic Signs in Dogs Fed Green-Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus) – Bierer et Bui, 2002.
Clinical efficacy and tolerance of an extract of green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) in dogs presumptively diagnosed with degenerative joint disease – Pollard, Guilford, Ankenbauer-Perkins, et Hedderley, 2006
Evaluating Complementary Therapies for Canine Osteoarthritis Part I: Green-lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus) – Bjorkman, Tulamo, Salonen et Raekallio, 2007.
Marine oil dietary supplementation reduces delayed onset muscle soreness after a 30 km run – Baum, Telford et Cunningham, 2013.
Which green lipped mussel dog food is best? – Maya S. Cook
Green lipped mussels for dogs
Green lipped mussel supplement for dogs
Moxxor Introduction: Discover the Potent Combination of Omega-3s and Antioxidants
RawPaw – Green Mussel