OmegaXL Review: Ingredients, Side Effects, Pros and Cons
Medically Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD
Last Updated on November 4, 2021
EPA and DHA in OmegaXL may offer benefits for muscles and joints. However, more research on green-lipped mussel extract is needed to prove that OmegaXL is superior to other omega-3 supplements.
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OmegaXL is an omega-3 supplement intended to help alleviate joint discomfort, muscle soreness, 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 getting DHA and EPA from supplements is common, 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.
This includes their potential to support joint health through anti-inflammatory effects by reducing pro-inflammatory mediators and increasing joint lubrication. (1)
There have been many studies supporting omega-3 for the relief of osteoarthritis symptoms. (2)
Some research has even indicated that omega-3s offer a comparable pain-relief effect to ibuprofen or NSAIDs for nonsurgical pain. (3)
The website states there are “30+ years of published research on the unique oil complex,” referring to their proprietary extract, but there are no links.
Additionally, while there are plenty of redirects to the sales page, no supplement facts label is available on the product website.
The question “what are the ingredients in OmegaXL?” is listed in the FAQ section, but the answer does not tell you how much of each ingredient it contains.
When I navigate to the product on Amazon, I’m able to find an image of the supplement facts label, where all of the ingredients are listed under “OmegaXL Proprietary Blend” and in a single amount of 300 mg.
The research I found on joints and green-lipped mussel extract, the primary source of omega-3 used in OmegaXL, 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. (4)
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 a mild-to-moderate degenerative joint disease were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or GLM extract for 56 days in addition to a regular diet. (5)
Their owners offered subjective assessments of clinical joint symptoms while one veterinarian conducted examinations.
On 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 help reduce 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. (6)
Over eight 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. (7)
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 protecting dogs against collagen degradation and were more promising for protecting cartilage. (8)
Overall, the available scientific support for using green-lipped mussel extract for joint relief in humans is limited. More research is needed.
Furthermore, the brand’s website states that the product “has been shown in clinical research to support joint health, mobility, and muscle recovery.”
However, the only clinical research I could find on this specific product was a study on 20 people with asthma, showing that it helped alleviate hyperpnea-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma. (9)
As for muscle soreness, omega-3 supplements, in general, are helpful. As for green-lipped mussels specifically, a few smaller human studies have demonstrated potential benefits.
For instance, in a 2020 study, 51 untrained men were given 600 mg per day of either green-lipped mussel extract (GLM) or a combination of 75% GLM with 25% krill oil for 26 days prior to and 72 hours following downhill running exercise. (10)
Both were found to help reduce the onset of muscle soreness, especially compared to placebo.
A 2013 study among 32 distance runners, using the same green-lipped mussel extract supplement, found that 400 mg per day of GLM for 11 weeks was effective for preventing muscle soreness onset after a 30 km distance run among men and women, compared to an olive oil placebo. The benefits were more significant for lesser trained runners. (11)
The same GLM was found to be more helpful than a placebo for reducing muscle damage and inflammation following muscle-damaging exercise in a 2015 study, in which 1,200 mg per day was given to 32 untrained men for 26 days before downhill running and continued for 96 hours following it. (12)
Green-lipped mussel extract effectively reduced joint pain in dogs and was shown beneficial in a small human study. Some smaller human studies have also demonstrated its ability to help alleviate the onset of muscle soreness after exercise. But, unfortunately, this isn’t enough evidence to convince me that it’s necessarily a better omega-3 source for people than what’s currently on the market.
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 more significant joint pain relief. (15)
Solid scientific evidence for using olive oil and vitamin E for joint pain is lacking. In addition, the exact amounts of these ingredients in OmegaXL formulation are not provided by the company, so 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 discomfort||Moderate Evidence|
|Reduces inflammation||Moderate Evidence|
|Helps relieve muscle soreness||Moderate Evidence|
While green-lipped mussel extract is rich in omega-3 fats that have documented benefits, there is only moderate evidence available on the benefits of this extract specifically for joints and inflammation, as well as its ability to improve muscle soreness.
OmegaXL capsules are to be taken with meals for the first eight weeks. I assume this is 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, increasing the risk of stroke. (18)
It may also interfere with blood-thinning medications, as well as the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine. (19)
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. (7)
However, some studies have reported liver inflammation associated with toxins in mussels used in certain brands of these products. (20)
While some people have reported mild symptoms of nausea, upset stomach, and fluid retention, more recent studies have found no significant side effects among participants. (21)
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 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 a few others use green-lipped mussels.
OmegaXL costs $1.32 per day, and it appears that this falls on the high-end of a wide range of prices for similar products.
A similar product is Turner New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel Oil, priced at $29.99 for 60 capsules or a one-month supply for $0.50 per day.
This product also lists everything under a proprietary blend, similar to OmegaXL, but also uses oils and extracts from flax, hemp, kiwifruit, grape seed, and blackcurrant seed, as well as astaxanthin. It’s touted as being high in antioxidants and carotenoids.
Very similar to the Turner product is one called FREZZOR Omega 3 Black - Green Lipped Mussel Oil.
It essentially contains all of the same ingredients and includes a 120 mg combination of green-lipped mussel, flax, grape seed, and kiwifruit oils.
This may be the most expensive of all, priced at $93.99 for two 60-count bottles, coming out at $1.50 per day.
Another competitor is HakaLife GLX3 Green-Lipped Mussel Oil. New customers can buy one 60-capsule bottle and get a second one free, for a price of $59.99 or $0.99 per day.
This company states that it contains 100 mg of green-lipped mussel oil per 2-capsule daily serving. It also contains vitamin E, olive oil, and a proprietary blend.
All of the products above are similar in their high price, with minimal information about their ingredients and a lack of research behind their purpose. If I were to choose an omega-3 supplement for someone, I’d recommend a fish, krill, or algae over green-lipped mussels.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are green-lipped mussels?
Green-lipped mussels are a type of shellfish that gets its name from the bright green pigment around the lip, or edge, of their shell. They live on the shores of New Zealand.
What are green-lipped mussels used for?
The two main health-related uses for green-lipped mussels appear to be for arthritic joint pain and asthma, primarily attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids.
However, human research on both of these remains limited. The green-lipped mussels have also been used in studies for things like delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and ADHD, but more research is needed for these as well.
Are green-lipped mussels better than fish oil?
The green-lipped mussels can offer a fish-less taste that many consumers dislike about fish oil supplements.
However, there’s much more research on the efficacy of fish oil for joint pain in humans than what is currently available for green-lipped mussel extract. That’s not to say it’s not beneficial – it just means it’s too soon to tell.
Are there any side effects from taking green-lipped mussel supplements?
Any supplement comes with an inherent risk for side effects that can vary between individuals. However, according to available research, it appears that the most reported side effects of taking green-lipped mussel supplements are mild cases of nausea, upset stomach, and fluid retention.
Wait, are green-lipped mussel supplements for people or dogs?
Apparently, both. While many studies are showing the benefit of green-lipped mussel supplements on reducing joint pain in dogs, there are only a few using humans. There are both human and dog versions of green-lipped mussel supplements.
OmegaXL is positioned as an innovative source of omega-3 from green-lipped mussels for joints.
There’s certainly evidence supporting DHA and EPA supplements to aid inflammation and pain along joints and muscles, the majority of which comes from studies using fish oil.
Furthermore, most research using mussels appears to have been done using dogs or small studies. Finally, research on olive oil and vitamin E for joint pain is mixed.
It’s also not clear why OmegaXL contains so many free fatty acids, their benefit, and why the research that supports this is not provided, especially considering the product’s high price.
While it’s certainly possible that people could experience joint and muscle benefits from using it, I’m not convinced OmegaXL is worth the significantly higher investment compared to alternative omega-3 products.
I also find it annoying that the supplement facts are so difficult for consumers to find on its website.
Overall, 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 chronic joint pain or muscle pain related to exercise, I would advocate for omega-3 with lifestyle, dietary, and medications prescribed by one’s healthcare provider.
However, I also find it necessary to advocate for a supplement that aligns with one’s budget and has the most evidence.
OmegaXL 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 and muscle soreness.
I’d like to see more human research on green-lipped mussels before recommending it to people over currently available omega-3 supplements.
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:
- Perna canaliculus lipid complex PCSO-524™ demonstrated pain relief for osteoarthritis patients benchmarked against fish oil, a randomized trial, without placebo control:
- Effects of different omega-3 sources, fish oil, krill oil, and green-lipped mussel against cytokine-mediated canine cartilage degradation:
- Marine lipid fraction PCSO-524 (lyprinol/omega XL) of the New Zealand green lipped mussel attenuates hyperpnea-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma:
- Effectiveness of a combined New Zealand green-lipped mussel and Antarctic krill oil supplement on markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation in untrained men:
- Marine oil dietary supplementation reduces delayed onset muscle soreness after a 30 km run:
- The effects PCSO-524®, a patented marine oil lipid and omega-3 PUFA blend derived from the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on indirect markers of muscle damage and inflammation after muscle damaging exercise in untrained men: a randomized, placebo controlled trial:
- 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:
- Supplementation of fish oil and olive oil in patients with rheumatoid arthritis:
- 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:
- An evidence-based systematic review of green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration:
- A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness and safety of a novel green-lipped mussel extract -BioLex® -for managing pain in moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the hip and knee: