July 30, 2020 4 min read

Written By: Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD, CLT

Many people struggle with joint pain. In fact, it’s reported that 15 million people experience severe joint pain (1). 

Fortunately, there are several supplements that may help provide joint support. 

This article will discuss the importance of healthy joints, and the six best supplements to use for joint support - all of them backed by science.  

The Importance of Healthy Joints

A joint is where two or more bones come together, with the purpose of helping our body move easily.  

Many joints also contain a tissue called cartilage on the ends of the bones where they come together. Cartilage helps cushion joints and allows the bones to glide over one another. 

Over time, cartilage can wear down and cause issues such as stiffness, pain, or a loss of flexibility.  

That’s why keeping joints and cartilage healthy is important to be able to do everyday activities such as walking or cooking, as well as reducing the risk for pain and stiffness (2).

 

The Best Supplements for Joint Health

So now we know why joint health is important, let’s discuss six supplements to help support them. 

 

1. Glucosamine:

Glucosamine is anatural component of cartilage that can be helpful for occasional joint pain. Glucosamine contains anti-inflammatory properties which may have the potential to slow breakdown of cartilage in the joints; resulting in a reduction of pain (3). 

In fact, one study found that a daily dosage of 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate was more effective at treating knee pain than a placebo (4). 

Another study looking at the role of glucosamine in endurance athletes found that glucosamine was effective at preventing collagen breakdown (5).

Oftentimes, glucosamine is used in combination with another helpful joint supplement called chondroitin since they’re both structural components of cartilage.

We include Glucosamine in our Agilen formula. Click here to learn more about it.

 

2. Chondroitin

Chondroitin is a substance naturally found in connective tissues and often used to help with joint health.  

A review of randomized studies with over 9,110 participants found that chondroitin used alone, or in combination with glucosamine, was better at improving joint pain compared to a placebo (6). 

Additionally, one multinational study found the combination of chondroitin and glucosamine was helpful for reducing knee pain and swelling. The authors noted that the combination of these two supplements could be a good natural alternative (7).

We include Chondroitin in our Agilen formula. Click here to learn more about it.

 

3. Collagen

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Collagen plays an important role in building joint cartilage and also may help reduce inflammation. Collagen can be found in food (such as meats, eggs, and bone broth), as well as supplement, form. 

One randomized, double-blind study looked at the role of collagen in athletes and whether it would help with joint discomfort and mobility. Results found an improvement in joint pain in the athletes who took the collagen supplement compared to the placebo group (8). 

Other studies have found collagen to be helpful with not only joint pain but also cartilage synthesis; the regrowth of cartilage in the body (9).

 

4. Fish Oil

Fish oil is a source of Omega-3 Fatty Acid; essential nutrients the body needs for a variety of functions ranging from improving heart health to helping support positive moods.

There are three types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids; ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA comes from sources such as plant oils, chia seeds and walnuts. EPA and DHA can be found in fish, seafood, and marine oils such as fish oil.  

Studies have found fish oil to be helpful at reducing pain, stiffness and tenderness in joints (10). 

In fact, one study found that participants who took a fish oil supplement found a variety of improvements in their joint health (11). 

Although both EPA and DHA are effective, some research has found that DHA may have a greater impact on the inflammatory imbalance of the body (12).

We sell a premium natural triglyceride fish oil supplement on our site, click here to learn more.

 

5. Boswellia (also known as Frankincense)

Boswellia is an herb that has been used for centuries to support a healthy inflammatory balance. 

A small study with 52 rugby players with acute knee discomfort found the use of Casperome® (a patented form of Boswellia) significantly beneficial for overall joint health (13). 

In addition, one meta-analysis study found the use of Boswellia to be a valuable addition for relieving pain and supporting functional improvement in study participants (14).

 

6. Devil’s Claw (also called Harpagophytum)

Devil's Claw is a plant that comes from the sesame family. It contains iridoid glycosides, which are compounds that have been shown to help support inflammatory balance in the body (15).

One study looked at the role of Devil’s Claw in 75 participants for 12 weeks. Results showed a strong reduction in joint pain, as well as improvements in areas such as stiffness, and joint function (16).

Additionally, one randomized, double-blind study found it to be just as effective as taking a prescribed medication for joint support (17).

 

Conclusion

Our joints play a critical role in our ability to do everyday tasks.

If you’re someone who struggles with joint issues or pain, try adding in one of the six supplements mentioned above to help support your joint health. 

 

___________________________________________________________  
Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD, CLT
Autumn Enloe is a registered dietitian in Minnesota. She provides remote nutrition coaching and frequently posts free nutrition content and recipes at her website:  www.autumnenloe.com. In her free time she enjoys chasing around her toddler, laughing with her husband, creating recipes in the kitchen, and practicing yoga.

 


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