Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are considered safe, but long-term use has been associated with raising the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as gastrointestinal problems. That's led some people to look for alternatives like green lip mussel oil and krill oil. Both supplements have also been gaining attention for their high omega-3 fatty acid content. The differences between green lip mussel oil and krill oil are slight, but worth noting.
Green lip mussel oil is extracted from a species of mussel (Perna canaliculus) native to New Zealand. The extract began being commercially produced, first in powdered form, when it was observed that Maori tribesmen and women who ate the mussels exhibited good health. Krill are tiny, extraordinarily abundant crustaceans similar to shrimp that reside in the deep, unpolluted Arctic and Antarctic waters.
Both green lip mussel oil and krill oil are dietary supplements marketed as having anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve arthritis and muscle pain. Because both oils are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they are thought to contribute to heart health by lowering cholesterol. Krill oil, which has been touted as helping to relieve premenstrual syndrome as well, contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin, an especially potent weapon against inflammation.
Some evidence backs up manufacturers' claims. According to a 2009 Australian study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Lyprinol, a brand of green lip mussel oil, has been shown to decrease inflammation in animals and consequently may work in humans. A 2003 Korean study found that Lyprinol did in fact help arthritis patients after eight weeks. Other uses of green lip mussel oil, though, have not been sufficiently researched yet and the FDA has warned the makers of Lyprinol against making exaggerated claims.
In 2007, a Canadian researcher found that patients who took 300 mg of krill oil for seven to 14 days had significant decrease in inflammation and reduced symptoms of arthritis. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Another study, this one from the Australian Heart Research Group, also found that krill oil improved the glucose and cholesterol levels of rats, an indication that it may help people with metabolic syndrome.
When subjects in the Canadian study included krill oil in their diets for 30 days, no adverse effects were reported. An evaluation of the oil by the researchers found that the oil is safe. Similarly, no adverse affects from green lip mussels have been reported, although its safety has not been thoroughly researched.
Refer to product labels for proper dosages, but bear in mind that the USDA recommends getting no more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from fish per day. Talk to your doctor first if you have diabetes, are at a higher risk for bleeding or have other medical conditions.