Treasures From The Sea

Treasures From The Sea

Research shows that an extract from the New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus) is effective in relieving the symptoms of both rheumatoid and osteo forms of arthritis. These important studies used laboratory and clinical trials, and treated both human and animal subjects. How the modest mussel does so is an interesting story, and is one of the indications of the powers of nature, in particular those powers occurring in our seas, to provide remedies for many diseases.

The mussel extract, called GlycoMarine, has natural anti-inflammatory properties; inflammation is linked to all forms of arthritis. The important thing about the extract’s antiinflammatory activities is that it works at a low or moderate level. This sounds strange since it might be thought that having potent, high activity would be ideal. However, a therapy that provides a range of anti-arthritic activities at a lower level can be significantly more effective because it addresses the disease slowly and progressively and, equally important, does not create serious adverse side effects. It is sometimes the extreme power and intensity of a medication that, while giving rapid relief of disease symptoms, triggers other undesirable outcomes. An analogy might be if you replaced the regular gasoline in your car with aviation fuel to speed-up the commute home and in doing so, ruined your engine shortly after in the process.

Most of the anti-inflammatory activity in GlycoMarine is due to a carbohydrate complex which has the ability to stop neutrophils and Tcells from emigrating from blood vessels. This means that your immune system’s soldier cells (neutrophils and T-cells) won’t be able to escape from the bloodstream to mistakenly attack the body’s own cells when an inflammatory stimulus is present. Though the function of neutrophils and T-cells is vital for human survival to ward off invaders, they can “overshoot” requirements, creating inflammation where it’s not appropriate. Reducing their activity therefore helps to lessen inflammation and reduce arthritis symptoms. This same mechanism is performed by some anti-inflammatory drugs.

The second anti-inflammatory activity of GlycoMarine is due to the effect of the natural content of some long chain fatty acids on specific enzymes within the body. The body uses these cyclo-oxygenase (COX and LOX) enzymes to make necessary chemicals called prostaglandins, prostacyclins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes. There are two forms of COX enzymes. COX-1 is a natural component of healthy tissue. It performs important functions in our body. The other form, COX-II, is induced when a disease, such as arthritis, occurs in the tissue and it produces pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Another type of enzyme creates pro-inflammatory leukotrienes. Again though these chemicals are vital to create inflammation, which is the body’s natural method of fighting disease and infection, it is desirable to reduce these enzyme activities when the body is over-reacting and has waged war on its own cells.

Once again, it is very important that inhibiting these enzymes is done at a moderate level, not a high level. The reason is that the COX-1 functions also produce thromboxanes which can cause cardiovascular problems. The COX-II form also happens to produce prostacyclins and these help to reduce the effects of the undesirable thromboxanes! These immune- and enzyme-related functions are critically involved in arthritis; and it is important to help balance the opposing sides, but at a moderate and conservative level.

In addition to these activities, because it is from the sea, GlycoMarine contains natural mineral salts that are soluble and easily absorbed by the body. Some of these minerals such as boron, manganese and copper are anti-inflammatory in their own right.

GlycoMarine has also been found to have natural gastro-protective properties. This means that not only does it not damage the delicate stomach lining as some drugs do, but actually provides protection. Thus the mussel extract is able to relieve the inflammatory symptoms associated with arthritis while protecting the stomach from the damaging effect of some pain-relieving medications.

GlycoMarine also naturally contains glycosaminoglycans, which is the name for a group of polysaccharides (complex sugars). Glycosaminoglycans are used by the body  to create compounds called proteoglycans. The proteoglycans have a very strong affinity for water molecules in the joints, to which they bind and form very large, slippery molecules. The function of these large molecules is to act as shock absorbers and also as lubricants in the joints. There is a possibility that these glycosaminoglycans found in the mussel extract might also help to rebuild the body’s cartilage.

To maximize the effectiveness of this natural medicine, GlycoMarine works well in combination with other ingredients, particularly Kolla2 (unhydrolyzed Type II Collagen), Myrisitn (Cetyl-myristoleate) and Hyaluronic acid. It is the combined effects of the natural bioactive components in these ingredients that provide antiinflammatory activity, protection for joints and the stomach lining, and natural lubrication to reduce the degenerative processes in the joints.

JE Croft, LRCS, MRSNZ, FRSH, is a Licenciate of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London, UK), a Member of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Fellow of the Royal Society of Health (London, UK), a published author and specialist in marine-based natural therapy.

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