A Little "Mussel" for Arthritis

March 2015

By Christine Cheng, R.Ph. and Dr. Henry Cheng

With spring and all the good-weather activities just around the corner, this is a good time to review some nutritional remedies for arthritis. The Green Lipped Mussel (Perna Canaliculus) from New Zealand has proven its effectiveness for 15 years and remains one of the most time honoured natural arthritis remedies. The flesh of the mussel is made of 9 different glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) and is more effective than a glucosamine or a chondroitin alone. In herbal medicine we believe that the adjunct effect of 9 different ingredients in small amounts is more powerful than a large amount of one single ingredient. In the past 20 years, we have seen Perna work better than glucosamine alone. The first generation of mussel supplement was made by dry freezing and lyophilizing the flesh of the mussel and is marketed under the name of “Sea Mussel” by FoodScience. These are still highly in demand. The second generation that is now available in Canada (Maori Miracle®) utilizes an extract from the mussel called GlycoMarine™ that has anti-inflammatory, Cox-2 inhibitory, chondroprotective and lubricating properties. Thus, not only does it bring about pain-killing benefits, it also improves joint structure and mobility. Contrary to drugs, it actually promotes gastro-intestinal mucosal integrity. The glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid contents are reinforced by Collagen Type II (Kolla2®) refined from chicken sternum cartilage. Kolla2 contains Hyaluronic Acid that is a component of cartilage and joint fluid and hence essential for joint repair. The third component in Maori Miracle is a fatty acid ester called Cetyl-Myristoleate (Myristin®). This is not only a joint lubricant but also an immune modulator so it is effective also for rheumatoid arthritis which is a systemic auto-immune disease. The fatty acid ester also mediates histamine and leukotrene response hence it controls the damage caused by inflammation. The fourth component is a popular herbal pain-killing and anti-inflammatory agent called salicin extracted from White Willow Bark. The 4 components in Maori Miracle form a strong team in the fight against arthritis. The only contraindications are allergies or sensitivities to shellfish and aspirin.

If you want to make this combination even stronger, the 2 elements we suggest you can add to Maori Miracle® are MSM and anti-oxidants. Many successful formulae are made of the 3 classical ingredients: glucosamine, MSM and antioxidants. Anti-oxidants reduce the MSM into active sulfonyl groups which in turn activate the glycosaminoglycan pathway in lubricating and repairing the joint. This cascade of events is being utilized in many successful formulae such as Recovery®. What is missing in Recovery® is a direct pain-killer. So if you compare the formula of Maori Miracle with that of Recovery, you will find that the two products are in fact complementary to each other and can be used safely in combination.

In case this combination does not give you enough relief from your sufferings, you can add a catalyst that activates both the healing process and the anti-inflammatory effect. This would be either in the form of an enzyme e.g. Curcumin, Curamed, Wobenzyme, and/or a homeopathic mixture e.g. Zeel Compositum, Traumeel, etc. As well, a topical homeopathic cream like Zeel or Traumeel can speed up the healing process. For those suffering from gouty arthritis, “Cherry Fruit Extract” by Enzymatic Therapy can help in both acute situations and to prevent future flare-ups.

Christine Cheng is a Registered Pharmacist with a passion for Integrative Medicine. She works alongside her father, Henry Cheng, who is a medical graduate of the University of London, England and is now a Natural Products Consultant in Pharmasave Downtown Cloverdale.



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