A fisherman’s tale that has more than a grain of truth

The Good Life Letter 

8th April 2018

‘Perna canaliculus!’

Sounds like one of those spells that Harry Potter shouts out to fight off the attacking Voldemort doesn’t it?

Actually, it is the Latin name for one of the real powerhouses of natural medication.

It relates to the Green Lipped Mussel found in the waters off New Zealand, a much cherished remedy that the Maoris have used for centuries, and now there is increasing interest in the way high quality extracts from them are achieving a spectacular range of results.

Delving into the published journals it is clear that this unassuming mollusc is getting more than its fair share of attention, and even led one research team to say that the results were so impressive and reliable that pharmaceutical companies would now be seeking to mimic the active compounds in patented preparations.(1)

Well if that isn’t conclusive proof I don’t know what is.

The story about how the beneficial effects of Green Lipped Mussels came to be recognised is one of anthropology rather than medicine though.

A team of researchers were surveying skeletal remains from ancient coastal tribes in New Zealand and began to fear that they were looking at the signs of people who were dying at a very young age.

The bones showed no signs of arthritis which is usually an indicator of age, and the initial theory was that they had not lived long enough to suffer typical ‘wear and tear’ effects.

On eliciting the assistance of anatomists though it became clear that the bones were all fully ossified which showed the remains were of those in mid to late age, normal for the time period.

So why were the joints so perfectly preserved?

By investigating the middens, or piles of food waste, the team saw that much of their diet was of a local mussel – the meat rich Perna Canaliculus, the Green Lipped Mussel.

For more than 40 years, doctors, nutritionists and food technology scientists have studied why the lipid extract from these mussels makes a difference to our joint health.

Initial clinical studies at Glasgow’s Homeopathic Hospital first showed the potential of NZ Green Lipped Mussels as a food supplement for joint health.

And since those early trials there have been many more proving how beneficial this product can be. It is even supported by Arthritis Research UK (AR).

The AR UK website states that the beneficial effects of the omega-3 fatty acids contained in the extract from these mussels help because:

  • it significantly reduces the release of several elements from your white blood cells which cause inflammation

  • it helps produce prostaglandins, which regulate your immune system and fight inflammation in your joints

Protect healthy joints, and minimise pain in affected ones the natural way

But, if you are already using other natural ways to control joint pain and are perfectly happy with them, don’t stop reading yet...

...these amazing shellfish do so much more.

Why scientists continue to be amazed

Having discovered the benefits to joint health scientists began to look further into the effects these molluscs could have.

Further research in the 1970s examined the mussels to see if they were a possible cure for cancer; unfortunately they were not, but the scientists discovered that there were multiple other benefits.

Perhaps the major one of these was to those suffering from asthma, a debilitating and frightening health concern.

This inflammatory condition of the upper airways is one of those that afflicts lots of people and varies in its severity – but the cause isn’t known.

In some cases the fault is laid at the door of air pollution, in others to genetic predisposition and others to allergic reactions to modern life – maybe to something as simple as cooking oil, or perhaps there are multiple reasons why the condition presents for instance in recent times evidence has shown a link between childhood use of paracetamol and developing the condition later in life.(2)

Whatever the cause the standard approach to managing it is through daily use of steroid inhalers, with very little else offered alongside.

Again though the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of Green Lipped Mussel extract has been shown to dramatically improve symptoms and act as a very effective preventative measure.

Could your asthma become a thing of the past by using this natural remedy?

The fact that the natural world offers compounds such as those derived from shellfish that provide such a wide range of health benefits should not surprise us.

But again and again the research shows that what our forefathers knew should not be discounted and if we choose our supplements well, picking those which are of the highest quality and closest to the natural source we will achieve the best outcomes.

Perhaps one of the most surprising pieces of research into a Green Lipped Mussel extract (called Lyprionl®) that I have seen recently was in the support of a very modern health concern.

Many children in the UK now are being diagnosed as suffering from changes in their brain chemistry which affects behaviour, attention and mood and these are classed as part of a spectrum of conditions under the banner Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

These conditions dramatically affect children’s lives and those of parents too and seem to be a scourge of the modern age.

Whether ADHD is a new issue, or whether it has always been there and not been acknowledged is a topic for a newsletter on its own, but the impact on families is considerable, and I have been contacted by many grandparents who are desperate to offer something to help.

Well once again it seems the Green Lipped Mussel extract can help, with a wide-ranging study from 2017(3) indicating that Lyprinol® usage can modify many of the behaviours of the children especially in helping them reduce inattention.

If this is true it means that a simple ancient New Zealand shellfish might hold the key to a very troubling modern issue... who would have thought it?

If you are looking for alternative asthma treatment in a non-medical way, or a remedy for arthritis, or maybe any one of a series of surprising health benefits, Lyprinol® is a genuine alternative to standard medication, fish oils and vitamin supplements.

‘Perna canaliculus!’ Maybe it is magical after all...

...By the way Lyprinol is perfectly safe to give to children too!

Yours, as always



(1)Ahmad, T. B., Liu, L., Kotiw, M., & Benkendorff, K. (2018). Review of anti-inflammatory, immune-modulatory and wound healing properties of molluscs. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 210, 156-178.
(2)Magnus, M. C., Karlstad, Ø., Håberg, S. E., Nafstad, P., Davey Smith, G., & Nystad, W. (2016). Prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure and development of asthma: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. International journal of epidemiology, 45(2), 512-522.
(3)Kean, J. D., Sarris, J., Scholey, A., Silberstein, R., Downey, L. A., & Stough, C. (2017). Reduced inattention and hyperactivity and improved cognition after marine oil extract (pcso-524®) supplementation in children and adolescents with clinical and subclinical symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (adhd): A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology, 234(3), 403-420.



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