GREEN LIPPED MUSSEL POWDER BUYERS' GUIDE
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Could the green-lipped/greenshell mussel - unique to the waters of New Zealand - be considered a 'miracle' food? Well, according to some marketers, yes it can! Why? Because they believe that Maoris (New Zealand's indigenous people) never get arthritis or aches and pains because a large part of their diet is made up of green-lipped mussels and seafood.
This claim may have been true over 100 years ago, when many Maoris were living off the land and sea, but sadly that is no longer the case today.
There is no such thing as a miracle food (or product for that matter), BUT having said this, the green-lipped mussel is probably the closest you can get to it, given that it is currently one of the most complete whole foods known to man. We say 'complete' because unlike plant-derived foods, green-lipped mussels have a much broader spectrum of nutrients than any plant.
Even the mineral salts present in this type of mussel - which are similar to those found in the ocean - mimic the mineral composition of human blood.
During the last few decades, various forms of the New Zealand green-lipped mussel have been 'discovered' by health-conscious people throughout the world who enjoy the benefits that this shellfish can give. Some people eat green-lipped mussels because they simply like the taste and buy them either frozen or marinated as an occasional treat. Others buy it in a supplement form, either as oil in a soft gel or powder in a capsule.
But unfortunately, green-lipped mussels – like most other shellfish and molluscs - lose their nutritional value very quickly once they're cooked or even frozen. This means that while you may enjoy a taste of the mussel as a meal; its nutritional benefits will more than likely be limited.
To get all of the health benefits that the green-lipped mussel can provide (and there are many) it is necessary to eat it fresh and raw or take it in a supplement form. As a consumer, this can be quite a challenge if you want to ensure that you get the most benefits from this remarkable food.
The purpose of this guide is to give you the transparent facts about green-lipped mussels in their supplement form, what they can do for you and, what you need to look for when selecting that one product that ticks all the boxes on your health list.
Main health benefits of green-lipped mussels
Over the last two or three decades, New Zealand green-lipped mussels have become quite famous for two significant health benefits:
- For helping relieve joint pain.
- For helping reduce inflammation.
Probably the most well-known green-lipped mussel product on the world market today is an oil extract called Lyprinol. Over recent years other products have come on the market, both in powder and oil forms: such as Moxxor, which is heavily promoted by an MLM (multi-level marketing company). The mussels are all sourced from New Zealand.
Apart from the fact that some of these products have 'over the top' claims, they are only two of the benefits that this unique food is capable of. You will learn more as you read further through this guide.
More benefits than just pain relief and reduced inflammation
What is not widely known by most consumers is that the raw green-lipped mussel can not only give you all the benefits that it is commonly known for (and provided for in the oil) but so MUCH more.
What are these additional benefits?
There is much validated talk about the importance of feeding the skin from the inside or 'beauty from within'. Raw green-lipped mussels in their natural form are probably the best and safest way to create beauty from within and improve your overall appearance – particularly the skin, hair and nails. These benefits can be enhanced further when combined with a quality Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil.
The likelihood of having a heart attack or some other circulatory problem is reduced by a regular intake of green-lipped mussels. They may help strengthen arterial walls and improve blood flow resulting in healthy circulation throughout the body to the vital organs and muscles.
Increased resistance to viral and bacterial infection as well as the intensification and acceleration in the formation of antibodies, improving wound healing.
Bones and Teeth
Structural strengthening of teeth and bones ensuring their respective organic matrix systems offer the necessary support to surrounding tissues.
May improve the potential for fertility by increasing the viscosity of seminal fluid in men and the cervical mucus plug in women.
Increased muscle, organ and tissue stimulation due to improved nerve cell functioning throughout the body.
Essential omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and carbohydrates all contribute to the body's total daily nutritional requirements.
All of the above nine 'ticks' should be on your health list! Naturally it makes sense to be able to tick ALL nine of them instead of just two. But, it's very important to understand the following:
The additional seven benefits ONLY come from ingesting raw green-lipped mussels.
That's correct! When you cook, freeze or extract the oil from the mussel, these valuable additional health benefits are lost. The best way to achieve all of these benefits would be to live near the ocean where these mussels are cultivated and eat a number of them raw every day.
This is just not practical and besides, a raw mussel is not all that palatable. However, cooked or marinated they are delicious. A bit of a Catch-22 situation isn't it?
The logical choice is to try and get the benefits from the green-lipped mussel by way of a supplement. So, what are your choices?
- Use a mussel oil and tick off two of the benefits mentioned above?
- Use a 'normal' green-lipped mussel powder of which there are many different brands and maybe get two or three benefits (but not necessarily) the same as the oil?
- Use the 'special' Xtend-Life Green Lipped Mussel Powder and get all nine benefits? It is special because unlike other mussel powders, this product is equivalent to eating raw mussels – yet more appealing and convenient. The secret is in the way it is processed. More info about this method will be discussed shortly.
These are good for the two benefits mentioned earlier, but they do not give the additional bonus benefits listed above because the health-giving nutrients that provide these extra benefits are removed in the extraction process. They are no longer a 'whole food'. They also tend to be very expensive, particularly those sold by MLM companies.
To assess the efficacy and value for money factors of mussel oil, you need to be aware of the fact that the mussel oil only represents about 8 – 10% of the powder from which it is extracted.
The mussel oil contains lipids which are primarily used because of their anti-inflammatory properties. However, the rest of the mussel powder that is not used for the oil process – between 90 and 92% of it - contains a plethora of other health benefits; although those benefits are normally lost during processing. Xtend-Life's product is an exception to this.
If you are looking at a mussel oil supplement, find out how much mussel oil is truly present within the bottle. Don't look at the size of the soft gel as most manufacturers blend olive oil, grape-seed oil, fish oil or some other carriers with the mussel oil to enable enough oil to be present in order to produce the soft gel. The amount of mussel oil present may actually be very small.
Note: You also need to be aware of what other oils they are mixing with it and if they have done any clinical studies to ensure they are synergistic. Some oils when mixed with mussel oil can have a pro-inflammatory effect!
If you are considering a mussel oil product and the supplier will not tell you how much oil it contains, feel free to contact us as we may have that data to give you.
How to compare Mussel Oils with Mussel Powder
Most mussel oil products only contain between 25mgs and 65mgs of mussel oil per soft gel. The rest of the oils present can be ignored as they provide very little benefit (if any) because of the small quantity and the risk that they may not be synergistic.
Whereas it is difficult to compare oils with a 'normal' green-lipped mussel powder, for reasons that will become apparent later in this guide, you can still compare them with Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder.
This is what you do. (These calculations are conservative and are generous towards the mussel oil products as they are usually based on a yield of slightly under 8%)
Multiply the milligrams (mgs) of mussel oil in the product you are looking at by 12 (this is the constant / number to use in order to roughly equate to an 8% yield of oil from the powder). For example, if a product's label had '50mgs' on it, then your first equation will be: 50mgs x 12 = 600mgs
This would mean that you would need approximately 600mgs of Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder to equal 50mgs of mussel oil based on an oil content of 8% for the powder.
Note: Remember that with some products, the total amount of oil inside each soft gel is NOT the actual amount of mussel oil.
Multiply the milligrams of mussel oil contained in each soft gel by how many are actually in the bottle. For example, if the product had 50mgs of mussel oil per soft gel and there are 50 soft gels per container, the total would be 2 500mgs because: 50mgs x 50 soft gels = 2 500mgs per container
Multiply the 2 500mgs by 12 (remember that this is the constant / number used when working with an 8% oil yield from mussel powder) to find out how much of the Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder you would need to get the same benefits as the amount of oil used in this example: 2 500mgs x 12 = 30 000mgs of Xtend Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder
Note: Each capsule of the Xtend-Life product contains 600mgs of mussel powder and there are 120 capsules per bottle. So, with this in mind, let's see what the total amount of product is present inside each bottle: 600mgs of mussel powder x 120 capsules = 72 000mgs
Based on the above example, it's clear that Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder contains more than double the amount of the mussel equivalent found in the oil product, as well as several additional health benefits. These key factors should always be considered when looking at the value for money element of any mussel supplement. If the mussel oil in this example had the same or even a higher price than the Green Lipped Mussel Powder, it would be an obvious decision to purchase the Xtend-Life product. However, even if the mussel oil was cheaper, most health-conscious consumers would still find value in paying a little extra to get so much more in terms of health benefits and confidence in the product.
NOW LET'S LOOK AT HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST GREEN-LIPPED MUSSEL POWDER?
We all know how cooking destroys many of the valuable nutrients in food. Some foods also lose their nutrient values from freezing as well. Green-lipped mussels are particularly sensitive to both of these processes. As mentioned earlier, the greatest benefits from green-lipped mussels come from those eaten raw.
As soon as the mussel is cooked or frozen, degradation immediately begins and continues until the final powder is produced. This is a process that normally takes days. During that period, the most valuable part of the green-lipped mussel is normally destroyed. Again, Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder is an exception.
The most valuable component in the raw green-lipped mussel is called mucopolysaccharides (commonly referred to as MPS).
MPS is often referred to as 'The Glue of Life'. Some scientists believe the lack of MPS is a major factor in the aging process.
Figure 1: The amount of MPS lost in the body over time
Is it conclusive that the lack of MPS contributes to aging? Unfortunately, nothing is that 'cut and dried' when it comes to aging but there is strong evidence supporting this theory. Fortunately, it is possible to 'top up' your MPS with no risk by taking Xtend-Life's mussel powder. Unlike trying to top up hormones which are a risky business, there is no such risk using this product as it is a whole food.
MPS has an interesting history. You can read about this in the 'More info' section of this guide.
So, the secrets to producing a mussel powder that truly provides you with the best possible benefits are:
- Using mussels that have been cultivated specifically for converting to powder and harvesting them at the correct time of the year when their nutrient levels are highest. This is very important as many producers only use 'seconds' all year round from the mussels that are produced for food.
- Converting the fresh live mussels into the finished powder in the shortest possible time.
Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder is one of the few products that comply with both of the above requirements.The live mussels are converted into the finished powder within 30 minutes! They are neither cooked nor frozen during this unique process.
30 minutes compared to days for normal mussel processing
Because of the unique and proprietary processing method, the mucopolysaccharides and all the other nutrients are largely kept intact and you are able to receive the benefits of raw green-lipped mussels without the inconvenience of having to find and harvest them yourself.
If you would like to know more about Xtend-Life's manufacturing process and how it compares with others, there are more details at the end of this report, along with extra info on mucopolysaccharides.
Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder is produced using the very best green-lipped mussels harvested from our single preferred grower located in the pristine and pure Marlborough Sound in the South Island of New Zealand. This region is a haven for mussel growers as the waters flowing in and around the Sound ensures that young mussels grow and develop into healthy mature adults.
With the ever increasing global demand for seafood and shellfish - especially green-lipped mussels – wild fisheries cannot cope with the volume and instead of pillaging Mother Nature's seafood stock to the point of total depletion, commercial growers (also called aquaculture) quickly became the industry's answer to sustainable mussel stocks.
These mussel farms have proved to be so successful in green-lipped mussel sustainability that since 2002, this portion of New Zealand's aquaculture industry is growing nationally at a rate of 55 000 tonnes per year.
Xtend-Life fully supports the Marlborough Sound sustainability effort. As with all of our products, we will always source our raw materials from eco-friendly suppliers who are passionate about delivering a quality product as we are, whilst ensuring that future generations can enjoy the ocean's bounty just as much as we are today.
A word from Warren, Chairman of Xtend-Life
"I hope that you have found the information in this guide to be helpful. We are truly proud of the quality of our Green Lipped Mussel Powder and as a whole food it complements not only our Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil but also our other sophisticated supplements such as Total Balance and Not Just Joints".
For those readers who would really like to get down to the 'nitty-gritty' of this product, there is a lot of interesting material in the following sections.
In good health
Warren J Matthews
- More about mucopolysaccharides
- Pristine waters = perfect mussel powder
- Give yourself the best by going natural
- What makes our Green Lipped Mussel Powder so fresh
- Why cooking mussels before processing is far from ideal
- Xtend-Life's unique low heat / two step process
- Improved anti-inflammatory properties with Xtend-Life
In order to benefit from the vast number of health factors associated with green-lipped mussels, you need to choose the green-lipped mussel powder that has retained a high proportion of natural mucopolysaccharides (commonly referred to as MPS) during the manufacturing process. MPS are a unique group of complex carbohydrates which play a significant role in human metabolism, growth and health.
Having been accredited throughout folklore for many decades, MPS finally became known to scientists and health professionals during the 1970s. Dr Orville H. Miller, Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University of Southern California, first identified the essential factors of a number of natural medicines in his personal research.
Dr. Miller's research approached the potential health-improving properties of the green-lipped mussel from an historic nutritional view, relating the observed effects of similar nutrients in the library of world knowledge with the recorded and verbal folklore of natural medicines as viewed by modern scientific research. A lifelong student of folk remedies, he travelled across the world, analyzing samples of snakes, iguanas and mussels to determine their reputed health-giving elements. Dr. Miller found the beneficial properties in the carbohydrate – or mucopolysaccharide (glycosaminoglycans) – content of these foods.
Because of their structure and ionic charge, MPS are crucial in the integrity of the body at a cellular level – particularly in organs, loose connective tissue and joints. It is because of this that MPS have been described as 'The Glue of Life'.
The best mussel powder for you is one which contains a high percentage of MPS as well as every other beneficial organic component of the green-lipped mussel. In an industry where there are many products – some good, some bad and some downright unacceptable in terms of health, nutrition and even safety – choosing the best green-lipped mussel powder can be daunting.
In addition to being exceptionally pure and fresh, Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder is also 100% natural and has been produced without using any cooking or high temperatures. In fact, what really is unique is our method of manufacture.
MORE ABOUT MUCOPOLYSACCHARIDES
Green-lipped mussel powders have been widely acknowledged as nutritional gems, containing a myriad of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and complex carbohydrates. However, the past four decades have revealed one key component found exclusively in high percentages within the flesh of raw green-lipped mussels.
In addition to an array of other important functions, MPS help modulate the bio-exchange of the inter-cellular matrix (the millions of gel-like spaces that hold the body's water composition) where oxygen and nutrients are transferred to the individual cells, as well as where metabolites (organic cellular waste) are removed.
MPS are like the nails in a house, the rivets in a ship's hull and the fibers in clothing – small in proportion to the whole but necessary to hold the structure together. In your body, they are the unsung heroes which enable you to perform various daily functions (both voluntary and involuntary) that can easily be taken for granted.
Unfortunately, the amount of MPS in our bodies decreases as we age. We're not talking about the commonly perceived years associated with aging. For example, after your first ten years, you would have already lost over 90% of the MPS in your body. The fact that human tissues are so high in MPS during the young developmental years proves that they are an integral factor in the growth process and overall wellbeing.
It is because of this decline of MPS in our bodies that makes taking daily doses of green-lipped mussel powder so important.
PRISTINE WATERS = PERFECT MUSSEL POWDER
In order to determine the quality of an eco-system, many biologists simply look at the local frog population. A thriving number of frogs will more often than not mean that the environment where they live is free from contaminants and pollutants. The marine eco-system has its own environmental indicator – the mussel.
Located at the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island, the Marlborough Sound is a coastal area reputed to be one of the purest in the world. Green-lipped mussels are harvested in these waters throughout the year and their unrivalled level of purity results in nothing but the very best mussel powder on earth.
However, although 99.9% of the mussels farmed in the Marlborough Sound are very pure, we still insist on sourcing the 0.1% that are at a level of purity beyond what is found naturally anywhere in the world. Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder is the result of using green-lipped mussels sourced from one grower to ensure that our strict specifications are met. This grower is located in the best part of the Sound, closest to the open ocean to ensure the best possible inflow of clean oceanic water.
Our mussels are harvested specifically for us at specific times of the year. Other mussels used in standard powders are purchased from a mussel processing factory sometimes as rejects and they are not treated with the same care. All mussels delivered to us are fresh, healthy and alive right up to the processing stage.
GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST BY GOING NATURAL
Why stabilized (industrial) mussel powders are anything BUT natural
Some green-lipped mussel suppliers promote that their mussels are 'stabilized'. Stabilization refers to the practice of adding chemical preservatives to the mussels before they get freeze-dried and converted into a powder form. Many companies do this and indeed they should when mussel powder is processed via standard methods; however, it is certainly far from desirable when seen from a user's perspective.
Stabilization has been around for a long time. The addition of tartaric acid for example began over 20 years ago with various other industrial preservatives also being used to some degree or another over the years. Tartaric acid is toxic in large doses and similar stabilizers such as oxalic acid are even worse!
It hardly seems justifiable to use a mussel powder that has been stabilized with some sort of chemical or additive. You shouldn't take that risk when a 100% natural and more effective mussel powder is available. Chemicals were meant for industrial machinery, not human beings. You deserve the very best that Mother Nature has to offer. By choosing to go natural and avoiding any mussel powders containing stabilizers and preservatives, you are ensuring that your health is being put first and the wellness of the family is not compromised.
WHAT MAKES OUR GREEN LIPPED MUSSEL POWDER SO FRESH
Professional product management is crucial to maintaining exceptional freshness. We source the best quality mussels from just one preferred supplier who ensures that the mussels meet our strictest quality standards. For example, there are few periods throughout the year whereby the mussels do not contain all of their nutrients. Our mussels are never harvested during these periods, yet many mussel powder manufacturers neglect this critically important area of the entire process.
We have full traceability for all mussels we use and can prove that they come from the purest area of the already pristine Marlborough Sound.
Although the quantity of the MPS found in mussels is vital, another component must always be taken into consideration – the quality of the mussel lipids (which contain omega-3 essential fatty acids). The unusual structure of some these lipids are widely acknowledged by scientists and health professionals to give a considerable amount of health benefits in addition to the already impressive list associated with MPS.
These lipids however are extremely prone to oxidation. Lipid oxidation produces strong mussel odors in the final product and reduces the overall health benefits because the lipid usually ends up breaking down the long chain of fatty acids. The key to maintaining lipid quality in the mussel powder is the secret to preventing oxidation. However, we cannot stress enough the importance of doing this in a natural way without adding any chemicals or stabilizers.
How do we prevent oxidation in a natural and safe way?
In order to explain how we prevent oxidation, we first need to mention the two pathways of oxidation. They are:
- Enzymatic Oxidation
- Chemical Oxidation
This is the principle cause of oxidation during the processing as well as for the first few months of storage. Once a mussel has been harvested – and especially when shucked (meat removed from the shell) – lipoxidase enzymes in the flesh of the mussel start oxidizing the surrounding lipids and other organic compounds. It is almost impossible to prevent enzymatic oxidation from occurring but we have managed to find a method of fast processing that doesn't give these enzymes enough time to start oxidizing.
We could always do what the other manufacturers do – which involves cooking the mussels to open the shells and destroy the lipoxidase enzymes – but then we'll end up having a standard commercial product that offers no health benefits. Most companies steam their mussels to open the shells – a process which takes anything between four to eight minutes (around a quarter of our total production time!).
Our unique low heat / short step manufacturing process converts the raw mussels into powder within 30 minutes. This ensures that our Green Lipped Mussel Powder has the lowest oxidation value and the highest lipid quantity of all the other powders produced worldwide. We graphically explain this process in the next section as well as tabulate the distinct difference between the process and the conventional freeze-drying process used by other powder manufacturers.
This occurs as a result of incorrect packaging as the presence of oxygen accelerates the oxidation process, especially if the powder is held in storage for long periods. To add insult to injury, some of the manufacturers who use chemical stabilizers to prevent enzymatic oxidation fail to consider the likely possibility that some of the substances and elements used in the stabilizers can oxidize themselves in the presence of oxygen.
At Xtend-Life, our Green Lipped Mussel Powder is professionally packaged as part of our low heat / short step process. As always, we make every effort to minimize the elapsed time from harvest to the receipt of your capsules.
Before we explain what makes our unique manufacturing process so different and beneficial to the quality of the end product, we must first look at what must NOT be done before processing the mussels.
For example, most manufacturers partially cook the mussels in order to open the shells and remove the meat. This is a tried and tested technique that does work. However, at the same time, by partially cooking the mussels to allow for meat extraction, many manufacturers are sacrificing valuable fractions in the meat – the very same fractions associated with health benefits such as MPS and organic lipids.
WHY COOKING MUSSELS BEFORE PROCESSING IS FAR FROM IDEAL
Pre-cooking mussels as part of the processing is not a good thing; however, it is a common practice when producing mussel powder as it is convenient and doesn't require the necessary running costs to ensure that quality control is being monitored throughout the entire process.
By exposing the mussel meat to excessive heat, mussel powder manufacturers may stop some of the product's degradation by removing the organic lipids inside the tissue; however, at the same time, they're removing the very compounds that provide so many health benefits – MPS being the major loss with the 'cook out water' from the mussel cookers.Ironically enough, the commercial preparation of glycogen or animal carbohydrates from MPS is done by extracting them from waste cooking waters of shellfish processing lines. Maintaining a high MPS level in mussel powder involves not just the careful selection of quality live mussels, but also avoiding cooking operations where cooking waters containing MPS are lost.
The end product may resemble mussel powder but its efficacy has probably been seriously compromised. The best process to produce mussel powder of excellent quality is one that occurs at a low heat in just two steps over a short period of time.
XTEND-LIFE'S UNIQUE LOW HEAT / TWO STEP PROCESS
The Xtend-Life two step process is the true low temperature process. Most freeze-dried product brochures claim a low temperature process for most of the drying cycle. It is however interesting to point out that in order to reduce the moisture content of frozen meats to below 6% (in order to prevent microbial growth) the freeze-dry process requires the kibble (refers to the flaky composition of the mussels as a result of being milled) to be heated at temperatures up to 80°C for roughly six hours.
In comparison, our process utilizes high inlet air temperatures whereby the hot air is acting on a wet product and the product temperature would rarely exceed 50°C and for very short periods – limited to a few minutes. Our Green Lipped Mussel Powder also has a typical moisture analysis of below 5%, ensuring that no microbial growth can occur.
Most companies take several days to manufacture their product as opposed to Xtend-Life's specialized process which takes a little over 30 minutes – from raw product to packaged powder.
The diagram below illustrates the entire process.
MUSSEL POWDER PROCESS COMPARISON
Conventional Freeze-Drying Processes (left and middle columns) versus Xtend-Life Process (right column)
IMPROVED ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES WITH XTEND-LIFE
Unprecedented health benefits when using Green Lipped Mussel Powder in conjunction with Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil
By reading our Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil Buyers' Guide, you will have already learnt about the dangers associated with inflammation and despite most of us hardly showing significant symptoms of it, we are all at risk of the myriad of health conditions and ailments stemming from the destructive root that is inflammation.
The Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil is more than simply the purest, freshest and most uniquely beneficial fish oil in the world – it is also the most effective in reducing inflammation. By using it in conjunction with our Green Lipped Mussel Powder, you will be giving your body the best possible supplements available.
Six reasons why Xtend-Life's Green Lipped Mussel Powder is possibly the best in the world
- Exceptionally pure and fresh.
- 100% natural with no stabilizers or additives.
- Packed with MPSs, omega-3 fatty acids and various other health beneficial properties.
- Manufactured by a low heat / two step process which maximizes the product's overall efficacy through NO cooking or mussel flesh damage.
- The preferred mussel-derived product on the market in terms of efficacy and value for money.
- An extremely potent anti-inflammatory when used in combination with our Omega 3 / DHA Fish Oil.