We all get older. And achier. Living with joint pain is, well, a pain in the behind, or knees, or back, or – you get it. And though we’re stuck with the aging process, must we be stuck with the achy joints that accompany it? Well, we don’t think so, and that’s why we searched the web to find the best joint supplements most recommended by experts and listed them here for you. But we do have a bit of bad news, because if you’re someone that prefers to blame your aches and pains on the weather and not your age, we have some research that is going to rain on your parade.
Research shows that the feeling in your bones when rainy weather is on the way is more likely a simple coincidence and not proof of the old wives’ tale linking dreary conditions to achy joints. We know it’s hard to believe this, especially if you’re a person who “feels” the rain coming in your bones, but this study is no joke: Researchers from Harvard Medical School pored through data from 11 million primary care visits in the United States and cross-referenced them with weather statistics from thousands of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stations. The study found no relationship between rainfall and a prevalence of joint or back pain.
We’re pretty sure all of us have wanted to upgrade parts of our bodies at some point, and it turns out there’s data to back it up. A study reveals that seven in 10 people say they experience pain or discomfort during everyday activities. That’s according to a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, which found that nearly 70 percent of Americans wish they could replace one of their body parts with a new one that works better. Surprisingly, joint pain seems to be affecting a younger generation. Millennials are actually more likely to cite pain during daily activities than baby boomers (76% vs. 59%), indicating that working remotely over the past two years may be a contributing factor.
If you weren’t feeling achy before, you may be now. But we’re not trying to be a pain, we want to alleviate your aches and pains, so below is our list of the top five best joint supplements, according to experts. Of course, we want to hear from you. Comment below and let us know which supplement keeps your joints greased up and functioning well!
The List: Best Supplements for Joint Health, According to Experts
1. Glucosamine & Chondroitin
These two supplements were far and away the most recommended on experts’ lists. And because they are so often found as a pair in joint supplements, we’ve decided to lump them together. This allows us to squeeze an extra supplement on this list, which we’re sure your joints will thank us for.
“Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most commonly used supplements for arthritis. They’re components of cartilage—the substance that cushions the joints,” writes Arthritis Foundation. Though they advise that “research on these supplements has been mixed, in part because studies have used varying designs and supplement types. A large National Institutes of Health study called the GAIT trial compared glucosamine and chondroitin, alone or together, with an NSAID and inactive treatment (placebo) in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Glucosamine improved symptoms like pain and function, but not much better than a placebo. Yet a 2016 international trial found the combination to be as effective as the NSAID celecoxib at reducing pain, stiffness and swelling in knee OA.”
MBG Health explains, “glucosamine and chondroitin are structural components of cartilage that our bodies produce naturally, but they can also be consumed in supplement form to provide extra cushioning in the joints. Taken together, they’ve been shown to significantly improve joint comfort and function and decrease stiffness over six months in clinical studies.”
“Glucosamine and Chondroitin are the most recommended options in the market and for a good reason. Both are already a natural part of your bones and joints, so they tend to relieve any stiffness, pain, or inflammation in the joints when supplied externally,” writes St. Paul Rheumatology.
Though there are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of these two supplements, it’s worth attempting them to see if they alleviate joint pain. As always, consult a medical professional before starting any supplement.
2. Fish Oil (Omega 3)
Supplementing with fish oil has become a norm, and for good reason, the list of health benefits is extensive: aiding in heart health, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and possibly even helping to fight off anxiety and depression.
Healthline explains that “fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosatetraenoic acid, which have anti-inflammatory effects. An analysis of clinical research shows that taking fish oil supplements reduces symptoms such as joint pain in those with rheumatoid arthritis.”
“Many studies have evaluated the effectiveness and safety of omega-3 supplements for several inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. For example, a small study showed that taking omega-3 fatty acids, which occur mostly in fish oils, can significantly decrease joint swelling and tenderness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” writes UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Most patients I see have taken these supplements before without good results. For better absorption I recommend incorporating omega-3s into your diet through foods such as tuna, salmon, sardines, tofu, walnuts, and flaxseeds.”
Greatist shares an incredible study: “In fact, a 2016 review of the evidence found that regular supplementation significantly reduced joint discomfort and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis — so much so that they were able to stop taking their pain meds.”
3. Turmeric & Curcumin
Turmeric, and curcumin that’s contained within it, have become quite popular in the last few years. They are now seen as a remedy for a variety of ailments. The NIH explains that “turmeric is a common spice and a major ingredient in curry powder. Curcumin is a major component of turmeric, and the activities of turmeric are commonly attributed to curcuminoids (curcumin and closely related substances). Curcumin gives turmeric its yellow color.”
“In your body, curcumin can help address inflammation and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. You can take curcumin as a supplement or cook with its powdered turmeric form. Either way, you’ll want to ingest curcumin with some fat, as that will help absorption,” writes Michael’s Health.
Medical News Today shares that “one study found that taking around 1,000 mg of curcumin per day may help reduce some symptoms, including joint pain. This effect is similar to those of over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.” And an interesting point they share: “Many supplements containing turmeric will also contain black pepper, which may help the body absorb and use the turmeric effectively.” But they do also note that “there is currently not enough strong evidence to make definite claims about curcumin’s benefits for joint pain. However, many people note the anti-inflammatory effect and take the supplement for its potential to relieve joint pain.”
Lastly, MBG Health explains, “turmeric has a long history in Ayurvedic tradition, and modern research supports its impressive ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response in the body. Turmeric’s primary bioactive curcumin has been shown to directly interact with pro-inflammatory cytokines, causing improvements in joint and muscle health.”
4. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
MSM is a naturally occurring chemical found in the human body, animals, and some green plants. NIH explains that “it has been well-investigated in animal models, as well as in human clinical trials and experiments. A variety of health-specific outcome measures are improved with MSM supplementation, including inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity.”
Greatist shares, “MSM contains sulfur, which your body uses to build healthy bones and joints and to produce anti-inflammatory compounds. They go on to say that “some research suggests MSM could be effective in reducing arthritis-related joint pain and inflammation.” But they do note that “one thing to keep in mind: Experts don’t know much about the long-term safety of MSM. Short-term studies have found that it may cause stomachaches, diarrhea, and headaches.”
But MDPI states: “As a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, MSM is well-tolerated by most individuals at dosages of up to four grams daily, with few known and mild side effects.”
“Sulfur helps your body make connective tissue,” according to WebMD, and they write that “taking 1,000 to 3,000 mg or more of this natural chemical every day may help with symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, such as pain and swelling.” Though they do remind you that “supplements, like any medicine, come with risks,” and to “talk to your doctor before trying supplements of any kind — even if you’ve heard they’re good for joint pain.”
When recommendations are mixed it’s best to do your own research that includes checking with your doctor. Starting with less than a recommended dosage is a great way to assess how your body reacts to a new supplement.
Very Well Health writes: “Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an extract from the Boswellia serrata tree that is found in parts of Asia and Africa. It is an herbal remedy that is often used in Ayurveda, one of the oldest alternative health practices in the world.” They go on to explain that Boswellia is rich in boswellic acids that are thought to have anti-inflammatory effects. The herbal extract is made with the Boswellia resin from inside the tree, which contains boswellic acid.”
This herbal remedy may work well when used with curcumin, according to Medical News Today: “Boswellia may also work in tandem with other compounds, such as curcumin. A 12-week study comparing a curcumin supplement with a curcumin and Boswellia combination supplement found that the latter was more effective in managing osteoarthritis-related pain. The combination of curcumin and Boswellia may be helpful for people with joint pain or osteoarthritis who are worried about the potential side effects of NSAIDs.”
UT Southwestern Medical Center notes that “several studies have shown that the extract from the bark of the Boswellia tree, which is native to India, can improve pain and physical dysfunction caused by chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. Boswellic acid might prevent musculoskeletal pain by interfering with cell-level functions that cause both pain and inflammation.”
And from Healthline on dosing this supplement: “Studies looking at the use of Boswellia for joint pain have used doses ranging from 100 mg once per day to 333 mg three times per day.” Of course, as with all of these supplements, first speak to a medical professional and follow their dosing recommendations.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Glucosamine Supplements
- Best Vitamins for Healthy Skin
- Best Stress Supplements
- Best Vitamins for Hair Growth
- Best Probiotic Supplements
- Arthritis Foundation
- Medical News Today
- MBG Health
- UT Southwestern Medical Center
- Michael’s Health
- St. Paul Rheumatology
- NIH Turmeric
- NIH MSM
- Very Well Health
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.