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The Best Joint Pain Relief Supplements – Learn The Science Here!

The Best Joint Pain Relief Supplements – Learn The Science Here!

Learn the facts about joint supplements. The best supplements can help control your joint pain.

best joint pain supplement

The best supplements that can help joint pain. Photo (Pixabay)


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Young individuals enjoy great joint flexibility. Their joints are much more resilient to damage and if injured, typically recover more quickly as compared to joints in older adults.

As we age, muscle tone declines, joints lose lubrication, arthritis may develop, and pain, stiffness, and inflammation become daily issues and are all reasons for the loss in mobility.

Arthritis affects more than one-third of the U.S. population and is a primary cause of disability for adults. There are various types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common and there is no cure.

Joint pain supplements are meant to not only ease aches and pains associated with aging but potentially slow down the progression of joint degeneration.

Modern supplements include active ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, or Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) that are meant to relieve pain and inflammation, enhance joint mobility, and potentially preserve joint cartilage.

Some products will additionally contain ingredients like collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, or natural extracts to further support joint health and function. Here’s a look at ingredients and what the existing research says about them.

Joint Pain Supplements – Ingredients to Look For

1. Glucosamine

A natural substance found in cartilage and fluid between joints. Glucosamine is necessary for the synthesis of glycosaminoglycan, which contributes to both the constitution and the actual repair of joint cartilage. It is commonly harvested from shellfish, but there are also artificial versions made in the laboratory.

There are a few different forms of glucosamine used in supplements and there is conflicting research about the effectiveness of them in treating joint pain.

According to the Mayo Clinic and Medline Plus, Glucosamine sulfate appears to show the most promise in reducing pain for those with osteoarthritis and may slow the deterioration of joints.

On the other hand, the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) found glucosamine HCl combined with chondroitin sulfate to significantly improve pain in those with moderate to severe joint pain.

2. Chondroitin

A substance naturally found in cartilage and in supplement form is from animal sources like cows, pigs, or sharks. This ingredient has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

Chondroitin significantly reduced joint pain and the narrowing of joint space, as well as improved overall physical function in those with osteoarthritis, as discussed in this study.

Some research shows taking this on a long-term basis (upwards of 2 years) may even be effective in slowing the progression of osteoarthritis.

3. MSM

A natural sulfur-based chemical found in the body and several types of plants necessary for the formation and repair of connective tissue.

This study discusses how MSM can reduce joint pain and inflammation, enhance joint mobility and range of motion, potentially preserve joint cartilage, and even improve post-exercise muscle soreness.

4. S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)

SAMe is produced by the liver from an amino acid, methionine and is commonly added to supplements to reduce pain, inflammation, and improve overall physical function.

One study found this substance alone to be just as effective in managing osteoarthritis in the knee as Celebrex, a common anti-inflammatory drug.

SAMe may also help treat depression and some liver diseases, but it is not recommended for those who suffer from mental illness, especially bipolar disorder.

5. Turmeric

A popular spice in the Indian cuisine that is believed to have a multitude of beneficial properties. Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to its active compound, curcumin.

This spice has been found to treat symptoms of arthritis just as well as ibuprofen and may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes, colitis, and various cancers.

Turmeric is also commonly used in both Chinese and Indian medicine to modify the response of the immune system and prevent further joint inflammation caused by arthritis.

6. Boswellia

Also known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia is appreciated for its ancient anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties commonly used in Ayurveda medicine.

Several studies have found Boswellia to relieve pain in patients who suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

This study also mentions Boswellia’s potential in reducing the degradation of glycosaminoglycan, preventing further loss of cartilage.

7. Devil’s Claw (harpagophytum)

An herb commonly used in South Africa that is well known for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects mainly due to its active compound, harpagoside. It may be effective in reducing joint pain in those with osteoarthritis, minimally reducing the need for anti-inflammatory drugs.

8. Fish oil

This supplement is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which play a role in the structure of cells, provide useful energy, and is popularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

There are several omega-3 fatty acids, but the most researched are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are highest in salmon.

DHA and EPA can treat different types of arthritis, but have been found to significantly reduce joint stiffness and tenderness specifically in those with rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Tips for Choosing the Best Joint Pain Supplement for You

Choosing a joint pain supplement can be a difficult task, especially since there are several brands with various ingredient combinations and dosages.

The first thing to do before starting any supplement is to discuss it with your healthcare provider to ensure the supplement will not interfere with any pre-existing health conditions or any medications you are taking.

Start by looking into common supplement brands and review the labels. Check to see if the supplement contains important joint-protective active ingredients.

It is also important to look at the additional ingredients – typically, the longer the “additional” ingredient list is, the more additives and fillers there are.

It would be great if supplements could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the FDA “does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.”

Each company is responsible for ensuring their supplements are safe before selling them. Several companies will have their supplements tested by a third-party laboratory for purity and accurate dosages for safety and reputability. Companies will mention additional testing on their website and/or on their supplement bottles.

It is also beneficial to look into the company itself, see if they are rated by the Better Business Bureau, and read up on as many consumer reviews as possible. Reviews can offer valuable information such as specific pros/cons of taking the supplement, potential side effects, and various timeframes for noticeable benefits.

Lastly, do not get stuck on price. Strive to purchase a supplement from a reputable company. Higher quality supplements will generally be more expensive, but not always. You are usually paying the higher price for the purity of active ingredients and shortlist of additional filler ingredients.

How We Chose the Following Supplements?

In deciding on the best joint pain supplements on the market, we analyzed the formula of each supplement, specifically the active ingredients and doses, as well as verifying whether each supplement is supported by clinical studies or not. We want to ensure the ingredients are helpful in promoting joint health and relieving arthritis-related symptoms.

We have eliminated any joint pain supplements that contain potentially harmful ingredients such as preservatives, artificial colors, fillers, binders, or additives. Such ingredients pose questions about safety and purity and can lead to discomforting side effects or adverse reactions.

Our selection of joint pain supplements is sound, as we have looked at quality first and foremost and it is essential to us that each supplement below has the potential to truly support joint health.

The Best Joint Pain Supplements of 2019

In this comprehensive review about Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Boswellia supplements for joint pain, you’ll learn the pros and cons for supplements mentioned below:

1. FlexoPlex

FlexoPlex is an all-natural supplement that promises optimal support to painful joints. It uses prime and lab-researched ingredients including Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, and the Cat’s Claw Bark Powder among others. This supplement works fast to reduce joint pain and inflammation. When taken regularly in the morning it may improve flexibility by reducing joint stiffness.

Pros

  • It uses the most studied ingredients in the market that are proven to support joint health
  • Can work on different types of joint pain issues including arthritis
  • Might help slow degenerative joint diseases
  • It can improve lubrication and mobility

Cons

  • For long-term benefits, you’ll need to keep using the product as recommended
  • May not help for serious cases of joint deterioration
  • Some people experience delayed results

2. Doctor’s Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM

This supplement contains three of the most important ingredients for joint health (glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM). This supplement prevents the breakdown of cartilage, provides relief from pain and joint stiffness, as well as improves joint weakness.

Pros

  • Contains 3 active ingredients proven to promote joint health and treat arthritis-related symptoms
  • Improves joint flexibility and mobility
  • Contains only clinically-studied and tested ingredients

Cons

  • Cannot be taken by those who take medication for high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease (potential interaction)
  • Contains shellfish (for those with allergies)

3. Zenwise Advanced Strength Joint Support

This supplement is recommended to those who are interested in strengthening their joints and reducing the manifestations associated with joint disease. It is manufactured by a reputable company in the field of joint supplements.

Pros

  • Proprietary formula with active ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid
  • Contains natural extracts – Boswellia and curcumin – Increases joint mobility, flexibility, and strength
  • Does not contain gluten, wheat, peanuts, dairy or eggs
  • Good manufacturing practices & money back guarantee

Cons

  • Contains shellfish (for those with allergies)
  • Can not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing

4. Schiff Move Free Joint Health Advanced

This joint pain supplement is a highly effective solution for those who are suffering from different forms of arthritis. It has a unique formula supporting not only the health of the joints but also of cartilage and bone.

Pros

  • Combination of type II collagen, boron and hyaluronic acid – excellent joint health support
  • Hyaluronic acid – healthy joints and adequate lubrication
  • Beneficial blend of vitamins and minerals for bone health – vitamin D, calcium, magnesium

Cons

  • Contains shellfish (for those with allergies)
  • Cannot be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing

5. Omega XL

Omega XL is another joint pain supplement that contains an extract derived from green-lipped mussel. The mussels are sourced directly from New Zealand, using sustainable practices and are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Pros

  • Natural relief from joint pain and inflammation
  • Safe and effective
  • Additional beneficial ingredients – olive oil, vitamin E
  • Improves joint mobility, flexibility, and strength
  • Easy to swallow soft gel caps with no fishy aftertaste
  • Money back guarantee.

Cons

  • Contains shellfish (for those with allergies)
  • The exact amount of each ingredient is unknown
  • More expensive than other joint pain supplements
  • No information on clinical trials

6. Osteo Bi-Flex

Osteo Bi-Flex is a joint supplement which works to solve some of the most common complaints associated with arthritis. It contains key ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as natural extracts like Boswellia.

Pros

  • Reduces joint pain and stiffness and supports long-term joint health
  • Potential to reduce further cartilage breakdown
  • Claims to make a difference in 7 days
  • Reputable company

Cons

  • Hard to swallow, due to the large size of the tablets

7. Aleve

Aleve is an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, recommended for arthritis pain. It is also commonly used for headaches and backaches.

Pros

  • Easy to open arthritis cap – beneficial for those who have hand arthritis
  • Active ingredient – naproxen sodium – temporary relief from joint pain
  • Strength lasts up to 12 hours, only two pills per day
  • May also bring down the fever
  • Temporarily blocks the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for pain sensation

Cons

  • May interact with prescribed medications
  • Cannot be taken by those who suffer from cardiovascular disease (risk of thrombotic events), peptic ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding, or liver disease

8. Instaflex Advanced

This is a supplement which promises advanced joint support, containing UC-II collagen as its star ingredient. With carefully-resourced ingredients and clinically proven research, Instaflex Advanced can be used to fight joint disease.

Pros

  • Improves joint mobility and flexibility; improved joint health for an active lifestyle
  • The formula guarantees relief in less than a week, with only one capsule per day
  • Fast and effective for pain relief
  • Potent ingredient – UC-II collagen – more effective than glucosamine; used in combination with chondroitin, it improves overall joint function
  • Natural extracts – turmeric, resveratrol – anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to reduce joint damage

Cons

  • Cannot be taken by pregnant or nursing women
  • Not recommended for those allergic to salicylates
  • May interact with other prescribed medications
  • Not recommended for those with gastric problems

9. NOW MSM Powder

This supplement is a powder and contains MSM as its main ingredient.

Pros

  • Available in the form of powder so it’s very easy to take
  • Supports joint health with the potential to preserve further breakdown of cartilage
  • Does not contain gluten, dairy, eggs, gluten, nuts; non-GMO;
  • GMP quality assured and clinically tested

Cons

  • Can not be taken by pregnant or nursing women
  • May interact with other prescribed medications, such as those for glaucoma

10. Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin

This supplement offers the perfect blend of glucosamine and chondroitin, being recommended to those who are interested in keeping their joints healthy. It is suitable for those who have already been diagnosed with joint disease.

Pros

  • Supports healthy joints and a better range of motion for an active lifestyle
  • Combination of glucosamine and chondroitin – joint lubrication and cushioning
  • Does not contain gluten, lactose, or sugar

Cons

  • Contains shellfish (for those with allergies)
  • Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women
  • May interact with other prescribed medications

11. VitaBalance ProJoint Plus

This supplement is advertised to improve the health of joints. It supports the health of the cartilage and promises to increase overall mobility, thanks to a natural blend of herbal extracts.

Pros

  • Science-backed formula – increased mobility and flexibility in major and minor joints
  • Contains key ingredients such as glucosamine and MSM, but also natural herbal extracts: Boswellia, turmeric, bromelain, quercetin
  • All ingredients are supported by clinical studies
  • GMP quality assured

Cons

  • It may take several weeks before results are observed
  • Must be taken on a daily basis for the full effect
  • Only available online & no trial period offered
  • Quantity of each ingredient is unknown

FAQs

What are the side effects of joint pain supplements?

The potential side effects of joint pain supplements are determined by the ingredients they contain and dosages used. Many people experience temporary gastric discomfort as they become accustomed to the intake of the new supplement.

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Heartburn and abdominal pain may also occur. It is important to read the label of the joint pain supplement before taking it.

As mentioned before, discuss the supplement with your healthcare provider to ensure it will not interfere with any pre-existing health conditions or any medications you are taking.

Always follow instructions to the letter. If concerning side effects appear, discontinue the supplement and see your doctor.

What is the recommended dosage?

These are some of the recommended dosages for ingredients contained in joint pain supplements:

  • Glucosamine sulfate – 1500 mg per day
  • Chondroitin sulfate – between 800 and 1200 mg per day
  • MSM – 1500 mg per day
  • Same – between 600 and 1200 mg per day
  • Boswellia – between 900 and 1200 mg per day
  • Fish oil – 1000 mg per day
Note: your doctor or pharmacist may recommend specific dosages for joint pain. Do not exceed those recommended dosages.

Do joint supplements really work?

The answer is yes, BUT they may not work well for everyone. Although supplements contain active ingredients that reduce joint pain and support overall joint health, not all joint-related issues or diseases can be managed by supplements alone. Patience and consistency are also key. Most supplements will take time to work and will only work if taken on a regular basis.

Who should buy a joint supplement?

Joint supplements are generally recommended for those who have had joint/ligament types of surgeries, those beginning to exhibit the first signs of arthritis, and overall for the older population due to normal wear and tear on joints with age.

Joint supplements may also be taken for preventative measures to support the already healthy functioning of joints and potentially delay the aging process and painful symptoms related to joint degeneration.

Final Verdict

Joint pain supplements are meant to help improve the health of joints, reduce pain, and enhance mobility to continue living an active lifestyle.

All of the joint supplements mentioned above contain active ingredients beneficial for typical aches and pains with the potential to preserve cartilage and slow down the progression of joint degeneration.

Do not hesitate to try a variety of supplements to find the one that works best for you. Everyone’s body is different and has different needs, which is why there are so many joint supplements available.

When trying new supplements, it may be a good idea to keep a diary of how you feel each day and any differences you notice in order to eliminate supplements that either do not work for you or cause negative side effects.

Unfortunately, arthritis is a progressive condition and drastically affects the overall quality of life. With the help of joint supplements, you may find some relief from your symptoms. Choose the best Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Boswellia, and MSM for Joint Health.

Feedback:

References

Arthritis | How CDC Improves Quality of Life for People With Arthritis. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/arthritis.htm
Int J Clin Pract. 2013 Jun;67(6):585-94. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12115. Efficacies of different preparations of glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.
Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Feb;56(2):555-67. Glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using acetaminophen as a side comparator.
Rheumatology International. January 2010, 30:357| Cite as Effect of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate on the osteoarthritis progression: a meta-analysis
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 May 26. Published in final edited form as: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015; 1: CD005614. Published online 2015 Jan 28. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005614.pub2 PMCID: PMC4881293 NIHMSID: NIHMS781262 PMID: 25629804 Chondroitin for osteoarthritis
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2004; 5: 6. Published online 2004 Feb 26. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-5-6 PMCID: PMC387830 PMID: 15102339 S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe) versus celecoxib for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms: A double-blind cross-over trial. [ISRCTN36233495]
J Med Food. 2016 Aug 1; 19(8): 717–729. Published online 2016 Aug 1. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2016.3705 PMCID: PMC5003001 PMID: 27533649 Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Joint Bone Spine. 2000;67(5):462-7. Harpagophytum procumbens in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Four-month results of a prospective, multicenter, double-blind trial versus diacerhein.
Nutrients. 2017 Jan; 9(1): 42. Published online 2017 Jan 6. doi: 10.3390/nu9010042 PMCID: PMC5295086 PMID: 28067815 Marine Oil Supplements for Arthritis Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011; 11: 50. Published online 2011 Jun 27. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-50 PMCID: PMC3141601 PMID: 21708034 Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study
Arthritis Foundation: "Tip-offs to Rip-offs, Common Therapies to Consider, Supplement Guide-Osteoarthritis, Supplements to Avoid."
Natural Standard: "The Authority on Integrative Medicine."
Harvard Health Publications: "Online Medical Dictionary."
Consumer Reports. "The facts about joint supplements: Of the 16 products we tested, seven didn't contain all that they claimed." Published online August 2013.
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Jaime Buffie, MS, RDN, LDN

Jaime began her career as a Dietitian at the St. Cloud, Minnesota V.A. and later transferred to the Orlando V.A. in Florida. Jaime thri...

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