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Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 2000; 204:99-111

New Research and a Clinical Report on the Use of Perna Canaliculus in the Management of Arthritis

Kendall RV, Lawson JW, Hurley LA.

This thorough review of the literature on GLME describes its anti-inflammatory activity, and the clinical benefits in patients with arthritis. In particular, the report highlights how the components of GLME include glycosaminoglycans (important constituents of joint cartilage and synovial fluid) and anti-inflammatory compounds such as glycogen, certain polyunsaturated fatty acids and lysolecithin. The authors review the evidence showing anti-inflammatory activity in animal models of induced arthritis, and the clinical studies showing symptom relief and improvements in mobility in patients with chronic arthritis.


Perna canaliculus (Perna) is a species of green-lipped mussel found off the waters of New Zealand. For centuries this edible shellfish has been a major part of the diet of the local populations. In 1974 it was found to be a potential natural remedy for arthritis. Numerous animal and human studies, published between 1975 and 1993, have indicated that this product from the sea might offer safe and effective relief from the pain, inflammation, and other debilitating symptoms associated with both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Earlier animal studies focused primarily on the anti-inflammatory properties of Perna mussel and its ability to prevent the onset of induced arthritis. Several human studies gave positive results as to the mussel’s ability to relieve multiple symptoms of arthritis when compared to conventional anti-inflammatory drugs. The beneficial properties of Perna have been linked to the presence of complex polysaccharides known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) but studies have also shown that other components in Perna mussel may also contribute to its therapeutic effects. Recent findings at Clemson University confirmed the earlier anti-inflammatory properties of Perna in both rat and mouse arthritic models. Perna mussel also exerts a strong immune modulating effect which may explain its mechanism of action. A recently completed clinical evaluation on over one hundred patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee demonstrates Perna’s potential in providing effective management of arthritis. Perna canaliculus has been shown to relieve arthritic symptoms and may halt the progression of the condition as well as provide nutritional support for the actual regeneration of connective tissue in the affected joints.