New Zealand's world famous green lipped mussels have again been hailed as a new "super food", which can now be used to ease arthritis pain.
A new scientific trial found that more than half of all patients who took the freeze-dried mussel powder, produced by a Christchurch family firm, had knee joint pain "significantly reduced".
The findings add scientific credibility that mussel extract helps reduce joint pain and increase joint mobility, says Ben Winters of Aroma NZ.
"We believe green lipped mussel extract is the next super food," said Mr Winters. "It not only helps with arthritis pain but also supports gut health and may act as a pre-biotic lowering bacteria levels in the gut."
The University of Queensland's School of Medicine said the clinical study confirmed significant relief for 59 per cent of arthritis sufferers who took mussel power product during a landmark eight-week trial.
Mr Winters, a director of the company launched more than 50 years ago by his grandfather, said the study published in the UK-based Inflammopharmacology Journal confirmed what they always knew: "that green shell mussel powder gave great results to people and animals who suffered from joint pain and inflammation."
"This was the result we were looking for, and confirms that our green shell mussel product definitely contains significant anti-inflammatory properties," he said.
Such is the growth in their business, Aroma NZ have, in between earthquakes, opened a bigger new factory in Bromley which allows them to extract omega-3 fatty acids and high quality lipids from marine and botanical ingredients using super-critical fluid extraction without using toxic chemicals or solvents.
The firm, which already exports to 30 countries, now expects an increase in global sales, Mr Winters said.
"This means increased turnover for the company and increase in staff numbers to cater for increased demand.
"Green lipped mussel extract can now be positioned as a natural joint relief alternative to prescription drugs which can cause side effects such as stomach cramps and pain.
"We are so encouraged by the study being published that we are now looking to carry out larger clinical trials on people. Larger trials with placebo will carry more weight when pitching to pharmaceutical companies."