Joint supplements are often a variety of minerals, vitamins and natural herbs engineered to help alleviate joint pain, arthritis and inflammation as a result of overuse, or aging. The most common joints that experience pain include the knees, hips, hands, shoulders, and elbows. These aches and pains with age are frequently caused by arthritis.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. Often referred to as the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the end of bones wears down.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder, causing pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness around the affected joints.
Both types of arthritis can occur in any joints throughout the body. Many joint supplements have long been considered useful when it comes to decreasing joint pain and inflammation in such cases. In fact, there are an array of different joint supplements supported by scientific studies and research.
Best Joint Supplements
1 VitaBalance ProJoint Plus
ProJoint Plus is formulated with natural herbs that are meant to improve your joint health as well as increase your joint support and flexibility through natural means. The primary ingredients of ProJoint Plus are glucosamine, boswellia, chondroitin, turmeric, quercetin, and several other natural ingredients. This formula from VitaBalance contains 1500 mg of Glucosamine, which is essential for healthy joint care.
JointPlus is made in the USA and contains natural ingredients that have been tested and proven to improve your joint health. Many of such ingredients have been discussed in articles and studies through Harvard Medical School, The Arthritis Foundation, and Health Line.
Naturally rejuvenate and support cartilage, joints, and mobility through this well-made joint supplement.
2 EasyFlex Joint Formula by 1MD
Sometimes you just need fast relief and Easy Flex provides just that solution for your join relief needs. Move MD has created a formula using ingredients that have been tested and researched through clinical means.
Easy Flex is meant to be an advanced solution that will ease your joint issues in as little as 7 days and will maintain and improve overall joint health. This formula effectively improves both mobility and flexibility and repairs tissues in a restorative manner to reduce soreness and stiffness. 1MD Easy Flex contains Zanthin, which is thought to be more effective than glucosamine and chondroitin. Additionally, it is gluten-free, soy-free, and preservative-free.
3 Joint Support + by Nuzena
Joint Support + by Nuzena is a natural supplement designed with anti-inflammatory properties to support your joints. This formula supports your bones and cartilage to improve your joint health directly from the source. Stop struggling with mobility and soreness and try out Joint Support + to get your joints back into a comfort zone.
The ingredients are 100% natural and include items that are proven to provide essential nourishment and rejuvenation properties for your joints. The primary ingredients of the compound are glucosamine and chondroitin but the formula also contains quercetin, boswellia, bromelain, and turmeric, amongst other natural ingredients.
4Fortify by Legion Athletics
Fortify is a joint support supplement that was specifically designed for individuals with a physically active lifestyle. But don’t be deterred by that mention as this joint support supplement from Legion Athletics could work for any joint support needs.
The purpose of this formula is to maintain and improve joint health, working to keep your joints functioning at maximum efficiency. You can expect inflammation to be reduced, easing pain and discomfort you might experience in your joints.
Fortify has a unique formula that consists of Curcumin, Grape Seed Extract, Acetyl-11, Bioperine Extract, and UC-II Collagen. It is made in an FDA-registered facility and the company stands by a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
5Vimerson Health Glucosamine with Chondroitin Turmeric & MSM
Vimerson Health gets straight to business with their joint supplement that helps to increase the lubrication in your joints which will lead to comfortable joint use, reducing pain and inflammation while improving flexibility and mobility.
The primary ingredients of this formula are pretty clear but they are Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Turmeric, and MSM. Additionally, this formula is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, yeast-free and does not contain GMOs, fillers, or artificial flavors and colors.
6Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Shield
Osteo Bi-Flex is a joint supplement that is highly recommended by pharmacists across the nation. This compound only requires you to take one tablet per day for optimal joint function and promises that you could see results within the first 7 days of use.
Osteo Bi-Flex is designed to provide overall health contributions for your joints, including flexibility and mobility. This formula is centered around boosting and maintaining your joint health so you can enjoy life and day-to-day activities free of pain and discomfort.
The primary ingredient of this compound is Glucosamine, but it also contains Joint Shield with Boswellia Serrata Extract. This is a gluten-free supplement.
7Arazo Nutrition Joint Support Advanced Formula
Arazo Nutrition created a powerful joint supplement with this formula. Their intentions were to provide reliable relief that acted quickly and would provide relief that lasts. Not only will you find improved flexibility and cartilage health but you will notice increased cushion for your joints.
With this joint support formula, you get value for money with 180 tablets. Dosage does recommend 3 tablets per day but could potentially be reduced and still achieve results. You can expect to experience improved joint health through lubrication and rejuvenation.
The primary ingredients of this formula are glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, boswellia, and turmeric with additional natural ingredients.
8Life Extension ArthroMax Elite
Life Extension prides itself on offering pure solutions for everyday needs, and this shows in their potent joint support formula. ArthroMax Elite was compounded with arthritic joint relief in mind but can be used for any type of joint supplement needs.
This formula is considered to be powerful and potent, working to promote rejuvenation of cartilage while supporting and maintaining cartilage as well. This supplement is made with all-natural, clinically tested ingredients. This particular blend contains cutch tree extract, mulberry extract, and Chinese skullcap extract but the company does offer blends that host collagen and glucosamine as well.
9Zenwise Health Extra Strength Joint Supplement
Zenwise Health created this extra-strength joint supplement with 5 goals in mind – flexibility, mobility, activity, strength, and comfort. They achieved a formula that delivers in each area in its own unique way.
Using natural means, this joint supplement works to promote healthy hips and joints, improve overall flexibility and mobility, and increase cartilage lubrication and strength. Each of these factors is important in a joint supplement and Zenwise hit the nail on the head with their formula.
The primary ingredients of this joint supplement include Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Boswellia, and other natural ingredients. It is gluten-free and comes from a GMP facility.
10BRL Sports Nutrition Flexify Joint Supplement
Flexify claims to be one of the most intuitive joint supplements on the market, with complete joint relief from pain and inflammation. This supplement was designed with relief in mind and focuses in on mobility, strength, comfort, flexibility, and lubrication.
The ingredients in this compound are clinically tested and the formula was anticipated to support arthritic joint pain as well as active lifestyles that simply need joint supplementation. The primary ingredients in this formula are vitamin D, glucosamine, turmeric, and MSM. The formula also contains chondroitin in a reduced dosage.
How We Rank
The first thing we looked at, when formulating our rankings for the best joint supplements, was the ingredients. Natural ingredients are important but we also wanted to ensure that the supplements did not contain additional ingredients that were unnecessary or potentially harmful. In most cases, the primary ingredients in joint supplements should be some combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and boswellia. However, you will notice that EasyFlex does not contain glucosamine or chondroitin and still made the list. EasyFlex does have Zanthin, which is considered to be better than or equal to those two ingredients.
We also avoided products that claimed to be joint focused and natural but contained additional ingredients that weren’t solely for joint support. For example, BioSchwartz joint supplement contains Calcium Fructoborate and Hyaluronic Acid. While these natural ingredients have multiple health benefits they are not really geared towards joint health and we felt as though they took the place of other ingredients that were more prominent for this particular need, which is why they did not make the list. Nature Made is a popular health brand that did not make the list. The ingredient list for Nature Made contains ingredients that are not natural and are considered processed ingredients.
Next, we looked for fillers. The intention is to eliminate additives that are unnecessary in the compound and don’t contribute anything meaningful to the supplement. Companies like Nuzena and 1MD ranked highly, because thy contained little to no fillers in their powerful formulation.
Third, we looked for companies that provided quality verification in the form of 3rd party testing. Companies, like VitaBlanace, that are willing to have their supplements third-party tested, are clearly willing to go the extra mile to prove they have a quality product available to you. Additionally, we wanted to make sure that the third-party testing information was readily available for each supplement. Transparency is extremely important and third-party testing results made available show us that the company is not trying to hide anything related to their supplement.
After all this, we determined the top 10 best joint supplements on the market.
1Glucosamine can reduce symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. A 2007 study assessed the use of glucosamine sulfate when it comes to decreasing symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis. In the study, 318 knee osteoarthritis patients were involved. These patients received 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate every day for 6 months.
Researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate did make significant changes in the patient’s knee osteoarthritis symptoms, especially when compared to the placebo. Overall, they noted an average of 39% improvements in the patients taking glucosamine sulfate (1).
Another study published in 2006 examined the use of glucosamine sulfate in rheumatoid arthritis patients. 51 participants took part in the study. 25 subjects were in the glucosamine sulfate group and took 1500 mg of glucosamine every day. Meanwhile, the placebo group consisted of 26 subjects. The study occurred over the course of 12 weeks. The patients’ self-evaluation scores and the physicians’ overall evaluation showed significant improvements, which indicated to researchers that it did help with symptoms on some level (2).
A 2005 study performed on rats also showed similar findings with glucosamine. It was found by researchers to help the rat equivalent of rheumatoid arthritis via suppressed synovial hyperplasia, reduced cartilage destruction, decreased inflammation, decreased nitric oxide production, and reduced prostaglandin production (3).
A 2010 study explored how glucosamine works to reduce symptoms of arthritis in humans. It was suggested that glucosamine slows the progression of the disease by reducing the progressive narrowing of joint space, especially when taken for 3 or more years (4).
2 Chondroitin, a joint supplement, may help reduce the breakdown of cartilage in those with osteoarthritis. In a 2015 review of various research and clinical studies, the authors inferred that 53% of individuals who take chondroitin have upwards of 20% improvement in osteoarthritis symptoms. It was also shown through various studies that it improved pain in osteoarthritis patients, with little or no adverse effects (5).
A 2006 study in The New England Journal of Medicine involved 1583 participants. The participants took either “1500 mg of glucosamine daily, 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, 200 mg of Celecoxib daily, or placebo for 24 weeks.” Knee pain was the primary measurement determining whether treatment was working or not. Alone, glucosamine and chondroitin were found not to have a significant impact on pain levels. However, together they were shown to improve patients’ condition and symptoms (6).
From this study, it’s unclear whether one works better than the other when it comes to glucosamine and chondroitin.
3 S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) may act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for those with arthritic conditions. Previously, SAMe has been explored for the treatment of osteoarthritis, depression, and liver disease (7).
A 2004 study looked at S-adenosyl-L-methionine in conjunction with managing osteoarthritis symptoms. SAMe was compared to Celebrex in the study. 61 adults with osteoarthritis participated in the study for 16 weeks. Researchers found that SAMe had a much slower onset, but in the long-term was just as effective as Celebrex in managing pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis (8).
An older 1987 study had found similar results, with the onset of SAMe much slower and actually continuing to have effects long after the study was completed (9).
4 Turmeric and turmeric extract joint supplements may help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation. A 2016 analysis, overviewing various studies, in the Journal of Medicinal Food, showed that turmeric improved pain in individuals with arthritis more than a placebo. Researchers suggested that it may be a comparable entity to ibuprofen (10).
Another scientific article examined its use in conjunction with rheumatoid arthritis. Authors inferred that its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects may help aid those with arthritic conditions, possibly alleviating their major complaints and symptoms (11).
A 2006 study also observed the use of turmeric and its effects on arthritis. Researchers concluded that their results further supported the use of turmeric in treating rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. It was found to have, again, anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties (12).
5Boswellia is another of many joint supplements that may relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A 2006 study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, observed and explored boswellia and its use on rats with arthritis. Researchers concluded that it did have anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory effects, possibly due to the suppression of proinflammatory cytokines (13).
Another study, conducted in 2014, looked at the potential of boswellia in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on arthritis. It was found, again, to inhibit proinflammatory cytokines, as well as have protective effects. This suggests it may prove useful in decreasing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (14).
A review in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences narrowed down boswellia’s mechanism of action. It was found to inhibit the enzymes responsible for inflammation. In turn, it may reduce the pain levels of arthritic patients (15).
6Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs) may aid in repairing the cartilage in arthritis patients, as well as help reduce pain levels. A 2009 study compared patients taking 500-600 mg of ASUs per day to a placebo group. After 3 months, researchers inferred that avocado-soybean unsaponifiables were superior to the placebo group in reducing arthritis symptoms (16).
A 2002 study sought out to explore ASUs in relation to joint space in those with arthritis. This study was conducted over the course of 2 years. Patients entering the study had a history of at least 6 months of joint pain associated with arthritis. It was found that ASUs did decrease the progression of joint space lost. Consequently, this may slow the progression of arthritic conditions and prevent painful bone-on-bone grinding (17).
Another, but older, study demonstrated the effective use of ASUs in reducing the need for NSAIDs in lower limb osteoarthritis patients, indicating reductions in pain and inflammatory symptoms associated with arthritis (18).
7 Devil’s claw (harpagophytum) may help reduce inflammation in those with arthritis and other joint pain conditions. In a 2000 study, 122 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis took 2610 mg of devil’s claw for 4 months. After 4 months, devil’s claw was found to be just as effective as other more well-known anti-inflammatory medications (19).
A 2004 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology evaluated devil’s claw and its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects in rats. The results presented by researchers showed it did act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic (20).
8 Fish oil is one of many joint supplements that may also reduce inflammatory effects in joint conditions, such as arthritis. A 2017 analysis showed that research indicates that fish oil may reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but possibly not osteoarthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis patients, fish oil moderately impacted and lowered pain levels (21).
9 Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) may improve pain and function in arthritis patients. A 2004 study performed on mice showed MSM modified the immune response, consequently increasing the function of arthritis patients and reducing pain symptoms (22).
A 2011 study looked into the use of MSM in patients with knee osteoarthritis. 49 subjects were involved in the study. Each subject took 1.125 grams of MSM 3 times a day for 12 weeks. Another group received a placebo. The patients taking MSM for 12 weeks reported reduced pain and improvements in overall physical function (23).
10Zanthin is a joint supplement proven to be as effective as glucosamine and chondroitin. Zanthin is a form of astaxanthin that is derived directly from microalgae. Zanthin ultimately provides similar results to those of the combined efforts of glucosamine and chondroitin, but with just one ingredient rather than the dual power of those 2 ingredients.
11Joint Supplements provide joint pain support without a prescription. Arthritis and joint pain can easily get people down, but with the use of joint supplements, they don’t have to stay down. Prescriptions for joint pain are often an issue because they can cause a whole host of side effects. Luckily, joint supplements have been shown to be just as effective as prescription medication for treating joint pain – and in some cases, they even work better.
1 Glucosamine and chondroitin have some common side effects, including nausea, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea. Rarer side effects include skin reactions, headaches, and drowsiness.
2 Chondroitin supplementation may cause bloating, diarrhea, headaches, swollen eyelids, irregular heartbeats, skin rashes, and hair loss. Again, most of these side effects are rare.
3 S-adenosyl-L-methionine may reportedly cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, anxiety, sweating, constipation, and irritability.
4Turmeric and boswellia may also cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, or nausea. In rare cases, a person may experience an abnormal heartbeat caused by turmeric consumption.
5 ASUs may also cause stomach issues. Though, it is often well-tolerated by most people.
6 In 8% of people, devil’s claw consumption results in diarrhea. Other possible side effects include vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite and/or taste, and ringing in the ears. Rarer side effects involve menstrual issues, skin reactions, and blood pressure changes.
7Glucosamine could potentially cause excessive eye pressure for individuals who suffer from glaucoma. It is recommended that you work with your medical professional prior to beginning use of joint supplements if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma.
8 Joint supplements can cause allergic reactions. Many of the common ingredients in joint supplement products, specifically glucosamine, are derived from shellfish and could lead to allergic reactions for those prone to being allergic to shellfish of any kind. If you suspect an allergic reaction, call 9-1-1 or your doctor immediately.
To supplement glucosamine, take 300 – 500 mg, three times a day, with food, for a total daily dose of 900 – 1,500 mg. The benefits of glucosamine are dose-dependent, and studies use up to 2,000 – 3,000 mg a day, taken in several doses. Glucosamine sulfate salts are the best way to supplement glucosamine, with glucosamine sulfate as a close second.
A standard dose of chondroitin, if chosen to supplement with, is in the range of 1000-1200mg a day in either one dose or two to three divided doses taken with food.
Studies conducted on humans using Devil’s Claw tend to use a brand called Doloteffin, where 6,000mg of Devil’s Claw root is taken daily which totals 50mg Harpagoside (tends to be used as an indicator of efficacy). It was taken in three divided doses, with 2,000mg taken at each of the three major meals. Benefits of Devil’s Claw extract, as it pertains to arthritis and inflammation, may take upwards of 1-4 months to achieve maximal efficacy.
Studies typically use doses of 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day, often in the form of an extract with a curcumin concentration that is much higher than the amounts naturally occurring in foods.
For general health, 250mg of combined EPA and DHA is the minimum dose and can be obtained via fish intake. The American Heart Association recommends 1g daily. If the goal of supplementation is to reduce soreness, a 6g dose, spread over the course of a day, will be effective.
Do any joint supplements really work? Yes, most substances work to a certain degree assuming other lifestyle factors are in check.
Is glucosamine good for joints? Glucosamine is a popular supplement used to treat the pain and loss of function associated with osteoarthritis (OA). However, most studies assessing their effectiveness show modest to no improvement compared with placebo in either pain relief or joint damage.
What can you take to lubricate your joints? Omega-3’s high in DHA are the best for this. Get them from salmon, trout, olive oil, nuts, and avocados.
Does glucosamine rebuild cartilage? A systematic review of glucosamine sulfate use for osteoarthritis, based on early research (1956–1991), found that it has anti-inflammatory properties and rebuilds damaged cartilage.
Can glucosamine cause liver damage? The use of products containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate has been linked to changes in liver function in people with chronic liver disease, a study reports.
Can glucosamine be taken long term? Long-term studies of safety or effectiveness of glucosamine are not available. However, glucosamine is considered quite safe, especially if you are taking less than the standard dose of glucosamine for arthritis (500 mg taken 3 times each day).
What vitamins help with muscle and joint pain? Vitamin D is vital for bone and muscle function and may have anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, many people believe that vitamin D plays a role in relieving joint pain, particularly where inflammation is the cause.
How can I improve my joint health naturally? Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish, such as salmon and mackerel, can help keep your joints healthy. In fact, studies show omega-3s can reduce the pain and inflammation of stiff joints in people with arthritis. Some studies suggest that it may contribute to cartilage repair.
Can glucosamine cause high blood pressure? There is some concern that glucosamine might increase blood pressure in some people. Glucosamine might increase insulin levels. High insulin levels are associated with increased blood pressure.
Is glucosamine bad for kidneys? Glucosamine is extensively metabolized in the liver but has some renal excretion. Acute interstitial nephritis has been reported as a possible adverse effect of glucosamine. It is advisable to avoid glucosamine for patients with severe renal impairment and those on dialysis until more data are available.
Is walking good for knee cartilage? Yes, weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone health. Discuss your exercise options with your doctor and physical therapist when you have any condition that is causing knee pain.
Are joint supplements safe to take? Joint supplements are essentially safe and there are no concerns for taking them long term. However, it is recommended that you work closely with your medical professional to ensure that you are not allergic to any ingredients and that ingredients will not react badly with any other medications you may be on.
Are their specific vitamins to take for joint pain? In addition to Glucosamine and Chondroitin that are commonly found in joint supplements, you can find joint relief from vitamins like Omega-3, fish oil, Vitamin D, and green tea. You can also obtain many of these vitamins through foods in your natural diet.
Are their ways to lubricate joints without supplements? Supplements are provided to boost what your body does naturally or may not be doing well. However, you can lubricate your joints naturally through foods contained in your diet. Eat a diet that is high in olive oils, nuts, avocados, salmon, trout, and similar foods.
These are all foods that work to boost your joint health but will specifically contribute to the lubrication of your joints.
Can joint supplements help slow the progress of arthritis? Yes, studies show that joint supplements can slow the progress of arthritis. Specifically, chondroitin and glucosamine help slow the pace of joint space narrowing, which is a classic sign of the progression of arthritis.
What is collagen? Collagen is a biological compound in the extracellular matrix in the various connective tissues in the body, like your skin and joint cartilage. Making up to 35% of the whole-body protein content, it is the most prominent protein in mammals. Collagen is a biological compound that is a critical building block for the structural components of your body, whether that’s your bones, skin, or joint cartilage.
Is collagen an effective joint supplement? Yes, collagen is an effective joint supplement according to various studies. It helps to improve bone density and joint cartilage growth.
There are various joint supplements used to treat joint pain, inflammation, and arthritis symptoms. Glucosamine is a particularly popular joint supplement, with many scientific studies and a ton of research backing up its usage. In particular, it’s been shown to significantly reduce symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis, including pain and inflammation – two of the main symptoms involved in arthritic conditions.
Chondroitin is thought to slow the breakdown of cartilage in those with osteoarthritis, as well as reduce inflammation and pain; ultimately, improving arthritis patients quality of life and condition.
It should be noted that chondroitin and glucosamine combined may have more powerful effects than when taken separately.
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) has long been studied in relation to treating depression, liver disease, and osteoarthritis. It acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and proven pain-reliever.
Turmeric is a joint supplement that has been compared to similar effects as ibuprofen. It may help reduce pain in those with arthritis.
Boswellia has been narrowed down specifically for its mechanism of action when it comes to reducing inflammation and improving arthritis symptoms. Boswellia works to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines. In turn, this decreases the inflammatory response from the immune system and subsequently, decreases pain associated with inflammation in arthritic conditions.
In addition, avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs) are thought to help repair the cartilage in arthritis patients and decrease their symptoms. Devil’s claw and MSM are further thought to help relieve pain and inflammatory symptoms associated with arthritis.
Before choosing a joint supplement, consider discussing your options with your family doctor. They know you and your situation and health best and will be able to give you an informed opinion and recommendation relating to your specific condition. It is also important to check the label of any product and be well-aware of possible side effects that may occur, even if they are rare. The label will also indicate what other ingredients are in the supplement. It’s rare that a supplement contains solely one ingredient. Do your research and determine the interactions between ingredients before purchasing or consuming.
Your local pharmacist may further help you choose a proper supplement suited to you and your condition. With all the options in the supplement aisle and expensive prices, it helps to get an expert’s opinion to ensure you select the right one. Further, talking with your doctor and pharmacist may help you determine if any adverse reactions may occur with other medication you are currently taking. For instance, blood thinners may react with some supplements, so it is always best to ensure these reactions are limited and eliminated.