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June 12, 2015

Best Supplements for Joint Pain

Kelsey Brandin
by Kelsey Brandin

One area of the supplement world that has been accepted by doctors and researchers alike, is the usage of supplements to help treat joint pain. Of the supplement articles I have written, and will be writing, this was (and will be) perhaps the easiest one. There is an abundance of peer-reviewed, legitimate research supporting the usage of joint supplementation. Additionally, my own physiatrist advised me to continue my joint supplement regiment, and even asked for the product so that he could recommend it to other patients! Here are a few examples of the major joint supplements:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
  • Flaxseed Oil/EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids)
  • Ginger Root
  • Tumeric Root

The Winners

Glucosamine and Chondroitin should be any athlete’s “go-to” supplement for their joints. When paired together, the two not only help relieve joint pain, but also help regenerate the joints themselves by narrowing joint space.

What about the others?

Simply because Chondroitin and Glucosamine have been proven to be the best, doesn’t mean anyone should ignore the benefits of other joint supplements.

MSM has been clinically proven to reduce joint pain—though whether or not it helps to reconstruct the joints themselves is yet to be determined.

Flaxseed Oil/EFAs don’t have a wealth of information on them regarding joints—however their reduction of pain and joint swelling (thus increasing movement) has been reported by individuals, and some studies. EFAs should be supplemented anyways, though—which I will address in a later article regarding Fish Oil.

Ginger Root is another example of a supplement that has many benefits—only ginger in particular does have medical studies backing its widespread usage for various ailments. Ginger root is proven to reduce swelling (similar to other foods such as onions, fish, garlic, and tea), while also aiding in digestion, easing of asthma symptoms, anti-nausea, reducing muscle pain, fighting liver damage, in addition to many other documented usages.

Tumeric root has also been proven in six human studies to decrease inflammation, and thus also can provide a boost to an individual’s joint supplement regiment.

How can I take them, and which one do I take?

There are many options available, so it can be very easy to become overwhelmed by products with magical claims of instant satisfaction far superior to other products. The truth is, as long as the product provides ample quantities of proven joint supplements, any product can suffice. A good example of a complete product I personally prefer would be Universals ""Animal Flex”, which provides a clear list of proven supplements at an optimal dosage—however, many other products could more than meet an individual’s need. Consulting a reputable supplement store’s opinion (such as Fitness First) is always a good place to start! Most joint supplements are found in pill form, and some require taking a decent amount each day—but don’t be put off by this! A good way I like to look at it is this: pills are merely powders in a convenient little package that would take me twice as long to drink, that would taste bad anyways!

The Bottom Line/Studies:

If you’re an athlete, or an individual suffering from joint pain, there is no excuse not to begin a regiment of joint supplements. Athletes should be supplementing them anyways as a precautionary measure (like musculoskeletal insurance). With the wealth of information available, and doctors agreeing and prescribing these supplements, there’s virtually no reason whatsoever to avoid purchasing these products.

See our best joint care supplements here

Here are some studies with information regarding the above supplements:

Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa).

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise

Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial.

Glucosamine and chondroitin for treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic quality assessment and meta-analysis.

Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis.

Structural and Symptomatic Efficacy of Glucosamine and Chondroitin in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Comprehensive Meta-analysis"