Published April 10th 2023
Fact Checked By Dr Mark Watson
Supplements for joint pain are fast becoming one of the top selling dietary supplements on the market. In fact, the National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health claim that the health benefits they can offer are as, if not more, effective than prescription medications in certain cases, particularly osteoarthrtis.
As the population get's older joint pain is becoming a more and more common issue that affects a bigger portion of the population every year. The most prevalent form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is often responsible for this chronic discomfort. While pain relievers like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are frequently used for joint pain relief, many individuals seek alternative options to manage their symptoms. One such avenue is the use of natural supplements, which claim to alleviate joint pain. They can relieve joint and muscle pain, reduce inflammation, improve the health and growth of the connective tissues, and even support joint health as a whole. The only problem is, with joint supplements often using unusual ingredients, many people won't know which one to use.
If you truly want to improve your joint, cartilage, and bone health with a natural supplement, it is vital you pick the right one. So, before you waste your money on the wrong product, let's take a look at the best supplements for joint pain around, to ensure you make the right choice.
If you want to skip ahead to the best joint supplement overall, we recommend FlexAgain which you can read about here.
Omega-3 fatty acids have gained popularity for their anti-inflammatory properties and potential benefits in alleviating joint pain. These essential fatty acids, primarily found in fish oil supplements, have been studied extensively for their impact on arthritis symptoms. Research suggests that omega-3 supplements can reduce stiffness and inflammation in people with arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis.  With some studies going as far as to show it can be more effective in treating said pain than NSAIDs.
Omega-3s are generally safe to take, but they may cause mild side effects such as heartburn, nausea, or diarrhea. If you are taking blood thinners, it's crucial to consult with your doctor before starting omega-3 supplementation, as there is a slight risk of bleeding when combined with these medications. Adding omega-3 supplements to your daily routine may not only improve joint health but also provide additional benefits such as protecting against heart disease and dementia.
Turmeric, a vibrant yellow spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, has gained popularity as a natural supplement for pain management, particularly for joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Although research on turmeric's effect on joint pain is limited, a comprehensive analysis of studies found that it improved symptoms more than a placebo and showed comparable efficacy to ibuprofen. To incorporate turmeric into your routine, consider taking a daily dose of 500 mg of curcumin, and remember curcumin is less than 10% of turmeric so be sure to get a supplement that says curcumin specifically. Aside from Omega, curcumin is one of the most well studied joint pain supplements and arguably the best option for an individual supplement if you already get a lot of fish oil from your diet.
Glucosamine is a natural compound found in the body, particularly in cartilage. It plays a vital role in maintaining joint function and mobility. Many individuals turn to glucosamine supplements to help manage pain and reduce symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. As a naturally occurring substance, glucosamine is generally considered safe to take. However, it's important to note that some glucosamine supplements are derived from shellfish, so individuals with shellfish allergies should avoid them. Mild side effects like nausea and heartburn may occur in some cases. If you are taking blood thinners, consult with your doctor before starting glucosamine supplementation to avoid potential bleeding risks. Although research results on the effectiveness of glucosamine vary, many individuals have reported improved joint comfort and reduced pain with regular use.
Vitamin D is well-known for its importance in maintaining bone health. However, recent studies have suggested that vitamin D supplementation may also have a positive impact on joint health and arthritis symptoms. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, a mineral vital for strong bones and cartilage structure. Research has shown that individuals with low vitamin D levels are more likely to experience joint pain and inflammation. While more research is needed to establish a definitive link between vitamin D supplementation and arthritis relief, taking a vitamin D supplement, especially if you have a deficiency, may be beneficial. It's essential to be cautious when adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine, as high levels of this vitamin can interact with certain medications.
Chondroitin is a substance naturally found in cartilage and is often combined with glucosamine in joint health supplements. While research results on chondroitin's effectiveness have been inconclusive, many individuals report positive effects on joint pain and function. Chondroitin supplements are generally safe to take, but caution should be exercised if you are taking blood thinners like Warfarin, as chondroitin may increase the risk of bleeding.
Ginger, a versatile spice known for its distinctive flavor, also possesses potential anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have suggested that ginger may help reduce joint pain and improve overall mobility in individuals with osteoarthritis. The active compounds in ginger, such as gingerols and shogaols, are believed to contribute to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Incorporating ginger into your diet or trying ginger supplements can be a natural and flavorful approach to managing joint pain. it is important to note however, that most stufies have shown you need between 1.2-3 grams, which is more than in the majority of supplements, there is a particular extract which works as well without around 250mg, but the only product we know of that contains this is FlexAgain.
Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties and its role in supporting the immune system. Some research suggests that vitamin E supplementation may slow the progression of osteoarthritis and promote the growth of new cartilage cells. However, further studies are needed to confirm these findings. Vitamin E is generally safe to take, but it can interact with certain medications, particularly blood thinners, and increase the risk of bleeding. Before adding a vitamin E supplement to your routine, consult with your doctor to ensure it is safe and suitable for you.
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is derived from the Boswellia serrata tree and has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that Boswellia extract may help reduce joint pain and improve mobility in individuals with osteoarthritis. The active compounds in Boswellia, known as boswellic acids, are believed to inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules in the body.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic sulfur compound that has gained attention for its potential joint health benefits. It is believed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to joint pain. While scientific research on MSM's efficacy is limited, some studies have shown promising results in terms of pain reduction and improved physical function in individuals with osteoarthritis.
We judge the best joint pain supplements by a few simply criteria, the first being that they contain the effective dosages of the ingredients they contain, the next up will be the volume and quality of the ingredients against their price point. We look at how well optimized they are for joint pain and for joint health. Then we look at customer reviews, our personal experience and the scientific backing of each of their claims. In short we look for:
When it comes to joint pain there are a few main types that supplements look to help with. The most common is osteoarthritis, the second is injury (this covers, sporting and repetitive strain). Most dosages between these conditions and gout are relatively similar and the best supplements for joint pain tend to focus on reducing inflammation and preventing the joints from picking up any further damage.
Other types of joint pain, most commonly RA are often not well served by combined supplements as the dosages of each individual ingredient are often much higher to be effective. In many cases it would take 4 pills of a single ingredient to be effective in this case, meaning that combined supplements are generally not highly enough dosed to tackle these issues.
Physio Flex Pro is generally one of the better joint supplements on the market today. While its lack of omega 3 fatty acids means it will be less effective than options like FlexAgain for many people, it may be one of the very best choices for people dealing with osteoarthritis.
This is thanks largely to a formula that was created with knee osteoarthritis in mind, which features selenium, glucosamine hydrochloride, bromelain, ginger extract, turmeric extract, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and black pepper fruit extract.
Most of the ingredients are the same as FlexAgain, so will produce identical effects, but the lower dosages mean they won't be as prominent.
They have tried to combat this by including black pepper fruit extract though, as it boosts the potency and absorption of all of the other ingredients in the formula (12).
The selenium is what really makes it ideal to treat knee osteoarthritis though. It will reduce inflammation caused by the disease to aid cartilage health and growth, as well as synovial fluid production. This will keep joints flexible and lubricated while preventing joint stiffness (13).
Physio Flex Pro is admittedly one of the pricier joint health supplements around which, when combined with its lower ingredient doses, means it won't be the right choice for many people.
However, if you are looking for a natural supplement that specifically focuses on combatting arthritis pain and symptoms and boosting cartilage health, it is one of the best joint supplements you will find.
Much like with Physio Flex Pro, U.S. Doctors' Clinical Arthro-7 Healthy Joint Support aims to specifically help with arthritis, only this time is is not osteoarthritis but rheumatoid arthritis that is being targeted.
The formula contains vitamin c, collagen, cetyl myristoleate (CMO), lipase 30, MSM, turmeric, and bromelain. Being GMO and gluten free are both nice selling points, as is the fact that it is very reasonably priced, which means it can be used by the majority of people.
All of the ingredients, except for vitamin c, being in a single proprietary blend with the doses hidden is admittedly a bit troubling. That said, it is very well received by people in its target market, those with rheumatoid arthritis, so it clearly does what it is supposed to.
Vitamin c and collagen both have anti inflammatory properties that will reduce inflammation and pain in the joints and improve joint health (14). Collagen supplements will then also promote recovery and the growth of new tissues, to repair the damage caused by arthritis (15).
The fatty acid CMO is proven to provide chronic pain relief in the joints, while lipase 30 breaks down triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol, lubricating the joints and providing stiffness and pain relieving effects, all of which is very beneficial to arthritis sufferers (16)(17).
So, while U.S. Doctors' Clinical Arthro-7 Healthy Joint Support may not be one of the most appealing joint supplements for many, it is ideal for those seeking a natural supplement to help with their arthritis.
While many people rely on collagen or fish oil supplements for joint pain, vegans don't have that luxury. While plant based joint supplements aren't that common, Vimerson Health Vegan Glucosamine Chondroitin Phytodroitin MSM & Burdock Root is an example of a very good one.
Its vegan formula contains vegan glucosamine sulfate sodium, vegan MSM, burdock root 4:1 extract, and a vegan version of chondroitin supplements called phytodroitin.
Burdock root extract is a particularly good vegan alternative to fish oil, as it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which will lubricate the joints and improve their mobility (18).
The popular combination of MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin supplements then provides chronic pain relief and promotes healthy joints.
There are, admittedly, a couple of issues with this joint supplement though.
As plant based ingredients for treating joint pain are limited, those that have been used are present in very high doses, which could cause some side effects. Similarly, as less is known about the vegan alternatives, we can't accurately state either their positive or negative effects.
That said, as customers claim it does indeed help to relieve severe joint pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy bones and joints, it is still one of the best supplements for joint support for vegans who want to relieve pain without compromising on their morals.
Burdock root extract is a great vegan alternative to fish oil supplements
Very reasonably priced
All of the ingredients are capable of treating joint pain, reducing inflammation, and promoting joint and bone health
Some of the ingredient dosages are a little high and have the potential to cause side effects
Vegan versions of MSM, chondroitin, and glucosamine supplements are less researched, so it is harder to gauge the potential benefits or side effects they will produce
Nuzena Joint Support + is a natural supplement designed to support overall joint and bone health by boosting mobility and cartilage production and reducing inflammation throughout the body, while not costing a fortune.
It contains many ingredients common in nutritional supplements for joint pain, such as boswellia extract, bromelain, MSM, turmeric, glucosamine, and chondroitin. However, it also contains two quite unique ingredients in quercetin and methionine.
Quercetin and methionine can both reduce inflammation to prevent painful joints and treat autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as their symptoms (19). The latter also works especially well if paired with a glucosamine supplement like it is here (20).
The only issue with Nuzena Joint Support + is that, while it certainly can help with chronic joint pain, outside of glucosamine sulfate all of its ingredients are present in dosages that are far lower than you will see in the best natural supplements of this kind.
This perhaps shouldn't be too much of a surprise though, given its price compared to other oral supplements of a similar nature. As a result, it is a joint supplement that is best reserved for reducing joint pain and inflammation in people who are shopping on quite a tight budget.
All of its ingredients are proven to reduce inflammation and joint discomfort
Has an extremely affordable price tag
Far easier to get hold of than many similar natural supplement options
Other than glucosamine sulfate, supplements are included in far lower doses than you will find in other joint pain relievers
A Joint supplement is a natural dietary supplement that can be bought over the counter or online without a prescription. They can contain everything from common ingredients like vitamin d to more obscure items that most people will likely never have heard of.
They are designed to help improve joint health and lubrication, reduce inflammation and joint pain, even in people dealing with chronic conditions like arthritis, and promote the growth of new tissues.
So, joint supplements are a great way to help reduce inflammation and combat common issues like knee pain. However, countless esteemed medical institutions also suggest that they are a great way to produce a variety of other benefits on the human body.
Arthritis in all its forms is a degenerative disease that causes the erosion of cartilage and leads to painful joints. A natural supplement using things like fish oil, glucosamine, and chondroitin can help to reduce inflammation, promote the growth of new cartilage, and lubricate joints.
This means joint supplements can be used not only for reducing pain caused by the condition, but also for either repairing the damage it has caused or preventing it from getting any worse.
Depending on the ingredients they contain, joint supplements can do anything from reducing inflammation to lubricating your joints. These effects will prevent the bones in a joint from rubbing together, leading to a significant reduction in joint pain.
When you reduce inflammation and lubricate a joint, you not only prevent joint pain but you also create better conditions for healing too.
Throw in ingredients like a turmeric supplement that can also aid the growth of new cartilage, and you can use a joint supplement to restore joint health back to its original condition as well.
Joint supplements may all look very similar, but they can vary wildly from one product to the next, and it is vital that you select the right one if it is going to be successful.
The ingredients are the most important thing to consider, as this will determine both the good and the bad effects a supplement can have. Stick to supplements that use proven ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin you should enjoy great benefits with very little risk.
You also want to look at the number of ingredients used and their dosages. While lots of ingredients can be good as they may produce more effects, make sure to check that they are used in their optimal doses, to ensure the product will actually work.
Finally, analyse some of the more superficial aspects of the product, like the price or if it comes in capsule or powder form. Ensuring that you can afford a supplement and will be happy to take it long term is essential if it is going to be successful.
Joint supplements are suitable for use by virtually everyone. From an athlete dealing with minor knee pain to an arthritis sufferer hoping to reduce inflammation and improve their condition, supplements for joint pain can enhance joint health in virtually everyone.
While there are a variety of great supplements for joint pain out there, none are as effective as FlexAgain. Packed with optimal doses of things like vitamin d, glucosamine, and chondroitin, it can reduce inflammation and joint pain while promoting lubrication and cartilage growth.
If for some reason you don't feel it is the right choice for you, one of the other picks on our list of the best supplements for joint pain certainly will be. However, for everyone else, we highly recommend that you give FlexAgain a try and see the joint health benefits it offers for yourself.
Are joint supplements safe?
As with many supplements and medications, you shouldn't mix joint supplements with other blood thinners to avoid unwanted interactions. If they're safe for you depends on your preconditions such as allergies and of course the ingredients contained.
Do joint supplements work?
As with every supplement, the results from supplementation depend on many factors such as additional lifestyle changes, diet, sports etc. If you're unlucky, you won't notice any effect from it, in rare cases they might literally change your life for the better in a short period of time. It really depends on the exact joint condition you suffer from and other angles than besides supplementation from which you attack the issue.
Do they work for animals like dogs and horses as well?
Yes, joint supplements can work for animals like dogs and horses thanks to key ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM that work to improve joint health and reduce inflammation. They can be particularly useful for larger animals such as horses that place a significant amount of strain on their joints due to their size and weight. Same as for people, it's important to note that the effectiveness of joint supplements will vary depending on the animal's individual health and medical history.
What are the most prominent ingredients?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are used as most joint supplements and have undergone extensive research. Though results are conflicting, certain studies indicate that these supplements can help decrease joint stiffness and pain, enhance joint function, and even slow down the progression of joint damage in people with osteoarthritis. These supplements may benefit individuals who are seeking alternative remedies for joint pain and discomfort. However, it's important to note that they're no cure for arthritis or other joint conditions. Along side that omega 3, vitamins and curcumin are the next most studied and well backed supplements for joints, with gingerols coming up just behind that.
Dr Mark Watson is the founder of Center TRT, having graduated from stamford more than 20 years ago, he is an expert in the field of supplemental health, focusing on long term benefits of complimenary treatment. View Profile