Many people know that green-lipped mussels are good for your joints but they do not know why. Today we will look at why green lipped mussels help recover your cartilage and therefore, help with your joints.
Cartilage and joint metabolism
Before we dive into discussion into the role of Green lipped mussels helping with arthritis, joint pain and cartilage, we must first understand what articular cartilage is. Articular cartilage is the major connective tissue capping the ends of bones around the joint. Cartilage provides a smooth surface for unrestricted joint movement and acts as the principal shock absorber during times of stress on the joint. For example, jumping or running.
Cartilage is made up of 4 major components
- Collagen (Protein)
- Proteoglycans (Complex of protein and glycosaminoglycans)
- Chondrocytes (cells)
As with all components of the body, cartilage is continually broken down and rebuilt in response to the stress placed on the joint. Enzymes secreted by the chondrocytes work to degrade collagen (protein), which is then rebuilt. Proper collagen turnover, including adequate synthesis, is key to proper joint health and function.
The proteoglycans are made up of a protein core and several complex amino sugars known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs, which are naturally rich in Green lipped mussels). Three principal GAGs found in joints are hyaluronic acid (also found in the synovial fluid), keratin sulfate and chondroitin sulfates. The principal function of GAGs is to increase lubrication of the joint with synthesis as it requires a steady supply of glucosamine and other building blocks including a source of sulfate groups. Synthesis of GAGs is the limiting factor in cartilage regeneration.
There are three factors that should be noted in maintaining proper joint function and reversing arthritic damage. First, adequate raw materials need to be supplied to the chondrocytes to rebuild cartilage. Second, there must be a shift in chondrocyte activity from collagen degradation to a greater repair and rebuilding mode. At the same, the production of the proteolytic enzymes that cause cartilage degradation must be reduced and inflammation must be brought under control. The regulation of the inflammation process is known to be the key to enhancing joint repair and regeneration. Green lipped mussel contributes chondroitin sulfates and other building blocks for GAGs synthesis and decreases the inflammation process by down-regulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines. Both aspects help to decrease the loss of cartilage and increase joint repair.
Green lipped mussel and GAGs. Why it helps repair cartilage.
Green lipped mussels are a rich source of GAGs, which are principal components of cartilage and synovial fluid found in the joint. GAGs are synthesised by the chondrocytes and other local tissues and are essential in stabilising the joint and providing shock-absorption. GAGs are complex amino sugars that may contain phosphate or sulfate groups that increase the uptake of water into the cartilage matrix. This “hydration” of joints, which decreases with age, is CRITICAL to the lubrication and shock absorption property of joints. A loss of GAGs leads to greater stiffness in the joint and increased potential for injury.
There you have it! What is there to not love about our green lipped mussels. It is a sustainable and ethical way of looking after your joints! Especially for cartilage support, we recommend our products which is not only rich in GAGs but also contains vitamins A, C, D, E and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc.