How Green Lipped Mussel Oil is Made and Harvested

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Struggling with inflammation-related disorders such as chronic pain, arthritis, or asthma?  Are you looking for alternative treatments to use in addition to your doctor’s recommendations because you feel there is no end in sight?  While searching for a solution, you may have stumbled across some research showing how effective green-lipped mussels are at relieving inflammation and the subsequent painful symptoms that it creates. What is green-lipped mussel oil, and how is it harvested and manufactured? Here, we take a closer look. 


First, an overview of New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussels 

The New Zealand green-lipped mussel is a shellfish, also known as the green shell mussel (important to note that the proteins that normally trigger a shellfish allergy are not found in the final product of GLX3 oil). Native to New Zealand, this bivalve mollusk is an important species featuring a dark brown or green shell with green edges, hence its name. The distinctive shell coloring may be blended with streaks of brown, red, or yellow which are most commonly found in young mussels. It is one of the largest mussel species; typically, farm-raised mussels grow to be around 15cm in length but have been known to grow up to 20cm. Mussels larger than this are rare, but they do occur from time to time. When consumed, you are providing yourself with numerous health benefits, including its considerable anti-inflammatory properties. 


What do green-lipped mussels eat?

Green-lipped mussels survive by consuming tiny phytoplankton, plantlike microorganisms, from the ocean. The mussels pump large volumes of seawater over their gills which traps phytoplankton, in a process known as filter-feeding. This nutrition is highly beneficial for us for several reasons.  What is fascinating is that New Zealand’s animal life tends to have significantly elevated levels of natural antioxidants as a result of the hole in our earth’s ozone layer. As a result of the exposure to unusually intense UV rays, the phytoplankton evolved in order to protect themselves by developing powerful antioxidants that help fight the stress the radiation causes. Green-lipped mussels receive these extra antioxidants and protective mechanisms when they consume the phytoplankton, and we absorb these benefits when we take GLMO. It’s a very healthy cycle that makes green-lipped mussels one of the best sources of omega-3s in the entire world. 


How are green-lipped mussels farmed? 

Green-lipped mussels grow in four main regions in New Zealand: Marlborough, Stewart Island, Coromandel, and Golden Bay/Tasman Bay. The farming process of green-lipped mussels is both intriguing and historical. Let’s take a closer look at how this complete food gets from the sea to your doorstep. 

Ninety Mile Beach, located just off the east coast of New Zealand where these mussels thrive along a vast stretch of potent and nutrient-rich waters, is the epicenter of the green-lipped mussel species. 

The mussels that we use in GLX3 are raised by experienced and highly knowledgeable farmers who have become experts at harvesting only the highest-quality mussels. During this process, spat (young, not-fully-developed mussels)

(Spat Pictured From Our Boat)

are placed at various depths underwater in farming colonies and raised there until they are ready for harvest. The average growth cycle ranges from 14 to 18 months, depending on factors such as the weather, predation, and farm conditions. 

We use New Zealand green-lipped mussels in GLX3 for health-related reasons, but mussels were initially used as a food source. New Zealand’s native Maori included these mussels as a regular part of their diet for hundreds of years. Mussel farming got its start as a small industry in New Zealand. Today, these mussels are the biggest aquaculture export in the country, even topping the famous New Zealand King Salmon. 

The mussel farming industry in this area began in the late 1960s when overfishing led to the collapse of wild mussel harvesting. Individuals originally set up small mussel farms, shared knowledge, and experimented with new technologies. The first official green-lipped mussel farm was established in 1972, and the industry has been growing rapidly ever since. Now, these Mussels are the most important farmed marine organism in New Zealand, accounting for three-quarters of the total earnings from aquaculture exports (the other 25% comprises mainly of Pacific oysters and King Salmon). 


Is the green-lipped mussel harvesting for GLX3 sustainable? 

GLX3 contains the highest-quality and most sustainably raised green-lipped mussels to create a supplement that is changing the lives of people throughout the world. We neither pillage any ecosystems nor harm any species at all to harvest our mussels. The untouched waters in which our green-lipped mussels grow are free from the pollution and high levels of mercury so prevalent in other areas, allowing these mussels to provide a cleaner source of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon or krill oil. 

You can be confident that our supplements never contain anything from polluted environments nor any ingredients of unknown origins. Because green-lipped mussels can thrive only in New Zealand’s pristine waters – and because of our promise to use only natural products from New Zealand in our supplements, you can trust our product. 

Besides, we are the only manufacturer of green-lipped mussel oil that lists every ingredient on our label. When you buy salmon or krill oil supplements, they are likely to be stuffed with additives and fillers. In contrast, GLX3 offers 30 essential fatty acids that provide more value than any of the cheaper imitations you might find. Our all-natural, essential nutrients include EPA, ETA, DHA, OTA, and many more, providing all the benefits of healthy fatty acids in one convenient capsule. 

Green-lipped mussels are native to New Zealand and are grown and harvested in the pure South Pacific waters found off the islands’ eastern coasts. Qualified mussel farmers use advanced techniques for processing green-lipped mussels to ensure both sustainable long-term practices and safe harvesting. Each farm is carefully monitored and must comply with stringent regulations, including the farms from which we source the mussels used in GLX3. These practices ensure that the entire process, from beginning to end, is sustainable and natural. 


Pre-harvest sustainability practices 

Before our green-lipped mussel oil ever makes it into GLX3, the mussels are harvested in a safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly manner by trained and qualified professional mussel farmers. The low temperature of the waters in this area keeps it free of pesticides and other contaminants. That means that the mussels here are grown in some of the planet’s cleanest waters – their natural environment. 

When it comes to sea-based proteins, green-lipped mussels are one of the world’s most sustainable options. As filter feeders, green-lipped mussels get all the nutrients they need from the surrounding seawater – we never add anything else. Because we use only green-lipped mussels grown in closely monitored farms, you can be sure that the water they grow in is free from pollutants and that harvesting these mussels is not harmful to the environment in any way, nor are the mussels themselves overharvested. On the contrary, the farmers carefully control and monitor their population. 

Juvenile mussels, also known as spats, are washed past Ninety Mile Beach as they cling to clumps of seaweed by the millions. As they wash by, mussel farmers gather them and bring them to their farms. Upon arrival, spats are allowed to grow on ropes in the seawater until they reach about six months of age. Then, they are removed from their ropes and reseeded onto new stretches of rope, this time suspended between buoys several kilometers long. 

The mussels are harvested in mussel barges, highly mechanized, and equipped to remove the mussels from the lines before they are de-clumped, washed, sorted, and packaged. Every mussel farm in New Zealand operates according to high industry standards. They receive their resource consents and approvals from the local councils in the region. Their consent is provided in the form of a license that strictly controls and monitors the size of the farming activities as well as safeguarding the ecosystems nearby. 


Why don’t our green-lipped mussels come from the open ocean? 

The most important reason that we do not harvest these mussels from the open ocean is to avoid depleting their natural population. We know that many of the ocean animals commonly used as food sources are often overfished. Overfishing harms their population, making it a highly unsustainable practice. Overfishing not only reduces the natural populations of many different species – and the amount of food on our tables – but it also impacts fisheries and makes it difficult for fishermen to make a living. 

In addition to avoiding overfishing, we also choose farmed mussels for another reason: These mussels receive continual monitoring throughout their development to ensure proper growth and optimal health. They receive all the proper nutrients from the ocean and remain protected from predators as well. 

Green-lipped mussel farms are situated in areas strategically chosen for their open water circulation, meaning that they never sit in the same stale water day after day. The government monitors these farms strictly to ensure that they comply with all environmental and health regulations. The farms are also protected from dangers such as harmful algae and runoff from the land. The New Zealand Marine Biotoxin Authority makes sure that mussel farms meet all standards and are knowledgeable about any alerts in the area that potentially affect the shellfish. 

For all these reasons, we choose to use farmed mussels in GLX3. They’re healthier, cleaner, and safer for us and the environment. 


How is the oil removed from green-lipped mussels? 

Taking the oil from the mussels is another popular topic of discussion – how are they farmed into oil for supplements such as ours? Trained professionals complete this activity through a biotechnology extraction process. Once the shells pop open, we remove the meat from the mussel’s shell without the use of heat to avoid “cooking” them and wasting their nutritional benefits. Through a cutting-edge type of pasteurization, the mussels remain fresh throughout this process. The result is an extremely pure marine lipid oil that contains the essential nutrients and vitamins (including the all-important omega-3 fatty acids) that offer relief for inflammation and joint pain. 


Choose GLX3 for your green-lipped mussel supplement 

GLX3 contains three types of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and ETA). Fish oil contains only the first two. ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid) is a rare form of omega-3 that works to reduce the production of enzymes that lead to inflammation at the gene level. 

The green-lipped mussel is one of the most natural, effective, and sustainable ways to promote good joint health and a healthy planet. We look forward to you joining us as you discover the benefits of green-lipped mussels, an amazing, natural, and complete food and essential addition to any diet. 

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