OmegaXL Review: Ingredients, Side Effects, Pros and Cons
While there’s evidence to support the benefits of DHA and EPA in OmegaXL, I’m not sold on paying so much for a supplement that doesn’t explain the evidence behind its formulation.
OmegaXL is an omega-3 supplement intended to help alleviate joint discomfort and inflammation.
It is an alternative to fish oil. The formula claims to contain a proprietary complex of 30 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA.
Instead of fish, krill, or algae, this formulation uses green-lipped mussels from sustainable mussel farms off the coast of New Zealand.
OmegaXL contains the aforementioned omega-rich oil blend, plus pharmaceutical-grade olive oil and vitamin E (an antioxidant often used to prevent rancidity).
OmegaXL provides a potent fatty acid blend, including DHA and EPA. According to the brand, while most fish oils only contain two fatty acids, OmegaXL contains upwards of 30.
Omega-3s and omega-6s are the two major categories of unsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in every cell, especially the brain and eyes, as structural components of the phospholipids that form cell membranes.
They’re also used to make eicosanoids, signaling molecules that work within the immune, endocrine, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems.
While the best dietary sources of EPA and DHA are fish and seafood, many Western populations don’t eat many of these and therefore a supplement may be beneficial.
OmegaXL claims to be a more potent source of fatty acids than fish oil.
My initial question about OmegaXL as a registered dietitian is about the high number of fatty acids that are supposedly used.
There are only two essential fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). The other fats the body needs it can make from these two alone.
While it’s common to get DHA and EPA from supplements, I’m unsure why so many other fatty acids are included in OmegaXL without explanation.
EPA and DHA have an enormous amount of research in support of their benefits.
There have been many studies supporting omega-3 for the relief of osteoarthritis symptoms.
Some research has even indicated that omega-3s offer a comparable pain-relief effect to ibuprofen or NSAIDs for nonsurgical pain.
The website states there are “30+ years of published research on unique oil complex”, referring to their proprietary extract, but there are no links.
The research I found on green-lipped mussels and joints is discussed below.
Green-Lipped Mussel Extract
In a 2013 animal study, 23 dogs with osteoarthritis were given a green-lipped mussel (GLM) enhanced diet for 60 days, following a 30-day control diet.
Plasma omega-3 fatty acid concentrations were measured, and gait and motor function were evaluated throughout the study.
The authors concluded that the GLM-enhanced diet had a beneficial effect on the dogs’ improved gait and motor function, and likely reduced some baseline symptoms.
And in a similar study, 81 dogs with the mild-to-moderate degenerative joint disease were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or GLM extract for 56 days in addition to a normal diet.
Their owners offered subjective assessments of clinical joint symptoms, while one veterinarian conducted examinations.
At day 56, dogs who received GLM had improved musculoskeletal scores. However, by day 112 the effects of GLM were the same as the placebo group.
This study suggests that GLM may be helpful in reducing arthritic joint pain acutely, but more research around prolonged therapy is needed.
In a 2012 study among humans, researchers investigated how effective high-dose GLM extract was on symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Over 8 weeks, 21 subjects with knee osteoarthritis took a daily dose of 3,000 mg GLM. Researchers concluded that GLM significantly improved joint pain, stiffness, and mobility.
In another 2013 human trial, researchers found that green-lipped mussel extract was more effective than fish oil in alleviating osteoarthritis-related joint pain over 12 weeks. This included an 89% decrease in pain symptoms and improved quality of life reported among 91%.
Interestingly, another study in 2017 found that fish and krill oils were superior to GLM in terms of protecting dogs against collagen degradation, and were more promising for protecting cartilage.
Overall, the available scientific support for using green-lipped mussel extract for joint relief in humans is limited. More research would be beneficial.
Olive Oil and Vitamin E
The product website FAQ section states that this product also contains pharmaceutical-grade olive oil and vitamin E.
Overall, research on olive oil for joint pain varies in how it’s applied and the reviews for supplemental olive oil are mixed.
One 2005 clinical trial found that combining olive oil supplementation with fish oil may offer greater joint pain relief.
Because solid science behind using these ingredients is lacking, plus the fact that the exact amounts of each included in this product formulation are not shared, it’s difficult to make statements about their potential benefit.
Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of OmegaXL based on the available research:
- Reduces joint discomfortModerate Evidence
- Reduces inflammationModerate Evidence
OmegaXL capsules are to be taken with meals for the first 8 weeks, I assume to minimize potential digestive discomfort often warned with supplements.
OmegaXL contains molluscan shellfish oil and could be problematic for related allergies. It claims to use a proprietary extraction process that removes allergenic proteins.
While concern for vitamin E toxicity from food is extremely low, high doses of supplemental vitamin E could lead to blood thinning that increases the risk for stroke.
It may also interfere with blood-thinning medications, as well as the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine.
There is no information regarding how much vitamin E this product contains.
A 2013 trial among humans using green-lipped mussel extract for osteoarthritis concluded that this substance had no side effects for participants.
Otherwise, I've been unable to find any data on potential side effects from this ingredient.
Overall, it’s best to speak to a healthcare provider before using this product, especially if you have an allergy, or are pregnant, breastfeeding, use medications regularly, or have another medical condition.
One bottle of OmegaXL contains 60 softgels. With a recommended dose of 4 capsules per day, one bottle lasts two weeks, priced at $39.95 per bottle or nearly $80.00 for one month.
However, on your first purchase, you receive a second product for free.
Additionally, you can sign up for an auto-ship program and receive two 60-count bottles monthly for $69.98 plus $4.95 shipping.
OmegaXL comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
You can purchase directly from the brand website or from their Amazon storefront.
However, the best discount is on the brand website as it appears even the Subscribe-and-Save option on Amazon brings you close to $100.00 per month.
Most omega-3 supplements use fish, krill, or algae, but there are a few others that use green-lipped mussels.
OmegaXL costs $0.66/capsule, while similar products with the same dosage are $0.04 to $0.40/capsule.
I even found other green-lipped mussel joint products for $0.01/capsule. Oppositely, some mussel supplements are $0.83/capsule, so there’s obviously a wide range.
OmegaXL is positioned as an innovative source of omega-3 from green-lipped mussels for joints.
There’s evidence in support of DHA and EPA to aid inflammation and pain.
However, most research using mussels appears to have been done using dogs or small studies. Research on olive oil and vitamin E for joint pain is mixed.
I’m confused about why OmegaXL contains so many free fatty acids, what the benefit of including these in the formulation is, and where the research is to support doing so given the cost.
While it’s certainly possible that people could experience joint benefits, I’m wondering what makes it worth the significantly higher investment.
Joint pain could be related to a more serious condition that may require closer medical management.
It’s always best to speak with your doctor if you’re interested in using this product to make sure your pain is properly evaluated and that this intervention is appropriate for you.
As a dietitian, I recommend omega-3 supplements for people who get few dietary sources. As long as you don’t have an allergy, there seems to be low risk.
For people with joint pain, I would advocate for omega-3 with lifestyle, dietary, and medications prescribed by one’s healthcare provider.
However, I also find it important to advocate for a supplement that aligns with one’s budget and has the most evidence.
This product appears to be low-risk but doesn’t provide ingredient amounts, and from what I can tell, the research is mixed as far as their efficacy in alleviating joint pain.
At WellnessVerge, we only use primary references for our articles, including peer reviewed medical journals or well-respected academic institutions.
- Fish Oil and Osteoarthritis: Current Evidence:
- Fatty acids and osteoarthritis: different types, different effects:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain:
- Effect of a diet enriched with green-lipped mussel on pain behavior and functioning in dogs with clinical osteoarthritis:
- Clinical efficacy and tolerance of an extract of green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) in dogs presumptively diagnosed with degenerative joint disease:
- Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) extract efficacy in knee osteoarthritis and improvement in gastrointestinal dysfunction: a pilot study:
- Effects of different omega-3 sources, fish oil, krill oil, and green-lipped mussel against cytokine-mediated canine cartilage degradation:
- Supplementation of fish oil and olive oil in patients with rheumatoid arthritis:
- Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal:
- The Effectiveness of Olive Oil in Controlling Morning Inflammatory Pain of Phalanges and Knees Among Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial:
- Role of Fat-Soluble Vitamins in Osteoarthritis Management:
- Supplementary vitamin E does not affect the loss of cartilage volume in knee osteoarthritis: a 2 year double blind randomized placebo controlled study:
- The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers:
- Vitamin E-drug interactions: molecular basis and clinical relevance:
- Perna canaliculus lipid complex PCSO-524™ demonstrated pain relief for osteoarthritis patients benchmarked against fish oil, a randomized trial, without placebo control: