Mollusc allergy

Can I safely use green lip mussel for joint problems?

The Green-lipped mussel from New Zealand is becoming more and more common in our country as a remedy against joint complaints. This mollusc – which can only survive in the extremely clean waters of the Marlborough Sounds – contains a wide variety of anti-inflammatory components, which are especially active in and around the joints. Many people with allergies or intolerance to the ordinary Zeeland mussel wonder if they can use the Green-lipped mussel safely.

“There is a chance that allergic reactions will occur with the Green-lipped mussel. Therefore, caution is advised if you are going to try a Green-lipped mussel supplement when you have had a reaction with the ordinary Zeeland mussel in the past. Otherwise, let the doctor take a look”

warns orthopedic surgeon Jan Ide de Jong.

What is the difference between a crustacean and a mollusc?

The crustacean like animals are also called crustaceans. These are often recognizable by a back shield. This includes the shrimp, lobster and crab. A mollusc is an invertebrate. This means that they do not have a spine or spinal column. Usually they also live in one or two shells. This category includes mussels, oysters, cockles and scallops. So a mussel is not a crustacean, but a mollusc. Those who are allergic to shellfish do not necessarily have to be allergic to molluscs. And that also applies naturally to the reverse scenario. However, the chance is increased – so always be careful with what you take in these cases.

What is a mussel allergy?

Mollusc allergy
Crimp and molluscs are one of the biggest causes of food allergies in our country. About 2 percent of adults and half a percent of children are hypersensitive to these eatable animals. This is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to certain substances in crustaceans or molluscs. These are considered to be hostile. As a result, antibodies are produced that cause the allergic reactions.
In mussels, the protein tropomyosin is considered the most important allergen. This is found in the muscle tissue of almost all animals. Usually this cannot hurt. As tropomyosin genetically more closely matches the human variant, we are less susceptible to it. In cows and sheep, the composition of this protein corresponds 99 percent to the human variant. With mussels this is only 51 percent. As a result, the chance of hypersensitivity to tropomyosin increases in some people. Although the Zeeland mussel and the New Zealand Green-lipped mussel differ from each other in many areas, there are some similarities and the presence of tropomyosin is one of them. Incidentally, there is still an important difference between these two types of mussel: the Zeeland variety does not contain ingredients that help to fight inflammation in the joints. The Green-lipped mussel does have these properties!

What are the symptoms of mussel allergy?

The first complaints can sometimes arise within minutes after consuming mussels. However, you may also feel sick hours later. Symptoms can vary from breathing problems to nausea and vomiting and from dizziness to abdominal pain and diarrhea. You may also develop hives, eczema or itching. You have to be careful when the lips, tongue and throat start to swell. This can be life-threatening. These complaints must – as well as serious respiratory problems – be treated urgently.

What to do with mussel allergy?

That is actually quite simple: ban molluscs completely from your daily diet. So do not eat mussels and other molluscs anymore. But you are not there yet. Many products can contain traces of molluscs. This is one of the 14 allergens that are required by law to state on the packaging. Molluscs are often found in snacks, tapas, oyster sauce, Asian and Mediterranean dishes, fish soup, salads, paella, seafood and herb mixes. Carefully study the packaging before you buy a product in the store.

But what if I still want to try Green-lipped mussel?

In case of an allergy or intolerance to the Zeeland mussel, chances are that you will also experience this with the New Zealand Green-lipped mussel. If you experience mild or moderate symptoms after eating molluscs, you might want to try a supplement with green-lipped mussel. Only then will you find out whether you have an allergy or not. Some manufacturers would like to send you a daily dose free of charge to test whether you are allergic or intolerant to this component. Of course it is not meant that you will run serious risks, so if there is a chance that you can really get into shock (unconscious or similar) then it is advisable not to even try a test sample.

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