Many people experience chronic joint pain in the knees, arms, elbows, shoulders, and elsewhere. In most cases, this is caused by the most common arthritis, osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis occurs almost a quarter people in the US.
Painkillers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil) are usually the first choice to relieve joint pain.
There are also dozens of supplements that can help with joint pain, but which ones actually work? Here’s a look at the top 5 options and what current research has to say about them.
TOP 5 Food Supplements for Joint Rehabilitation
1. Glucosamine for joints
Glucosamine is a natural component of cartilage, a substance that prevents bones from rubbing against each other, if they are low, can cause pain and inflammation. It can also help prevent cartilage breakdown that can occur in arthritis.
Many supplements for joint pain contain glucosamine, which is one of the best studied osteoarthritis supplements. However, despite this study, there are still questions about how it works.
Two types of glucosamine are found in supplements: glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate.
In one meta-analysis source establishedthat products containing glucosamine hydrochloride do little to improve osteoarthritis-induced joint pain. Next research shows that glucosamine sulfate improves these symptoms, so it may be a better choice than glucosamine hydrochloride.
With long-term use, glucosamine sulfate may also help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Research indicates that this slows down the narrowing of the joint space - the condition of the marker deteriorates after up to three years of use.
Give it a try: Glucosamine sulphate is usually taken once a day at a dose of 1500 milligrams (mg). If this upsets your stomach, try spreading it over three 500 mg doses.
Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a component of cartilage. It can also help prevent cartilage breakdown from osteoarthritis.
In many clinical trials establishedthat chondroitin can reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis. About 53 percent of people who take chondroitin improve their knee pain by 20 percent or more.
Chondroitin sulfate may also slow the progression of osteoarthritis with long-term use. Studies show that it slows down the narrowing of the joint space when done for up to 2 years.
Joint supplements often combine chondroitin with glucosamine. However, it is still unclear whether it is better to take a combination supplement than to take one or the other.
Give it a try: Chondroitin is usually taken at doses of 400 to 800 mg two or three times a day.
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a supplement commonly used to help with the symptoms of depression and osteoarthritis. Your liver naturally produces SAMe from an amino acid called methionine. It performs several functions, including cartilage production and repair.
When used as an additive, SAMe can help with joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. It may be as effective as the anti-inflammatory medicine celecoxib (Celebrex). In one of the 2004 Done research celecoxib symptoms improved more than SAMe after one month of treatment. However, until the second month, treatment was similar.
Give it a try: SAMe is usually taken in doses of 200 to 400 mg three times a day. Keep in mind that it may take some time to notice the results.
Turmeric is one of the most popular supplements for pain including joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. The analgesic effect is attributed to a chemical compound in turmeric called curcumin. Curcumin appears to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Although turmeric has been studied for joint pain, there are few studies analysis it has been shown to improve joint pain symptoms more than placebo and may be similar to ibuprofen.
Give it a try: Turmeric is usually taken at a dose of 500 mg two or four times a day.
5. Bosvelia Sanariams
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is most commonly used for pain caused by arthritis. The chemicals in this extract are called Boswellia acids have anti-inflammatory effects.
Clinical research showed that Boswellian extracts improved pain symptoms more in people with osteoarthritis than placebo.
Give it a try: In studies of Boswellia for joint pain, doses ranging from 100 mg once daily to 333 mg three times daily were used.
Tips for choosing the right dietary supplement
When choosing a dietary supplement for joint pain, you may be surprised at the number of products available on the market. Many of these products contain several ingredients. Remember that a long list of ingredients does not always provide a better product.
In some cases, the additional ingredients do not have a proven benefit to joint health. Others may have many beneficial ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin. However, there is little evidence that the use of multi-ingredient supplements is more effective than the use of individual ingredients. Also, some of these products have too few of one or more ingredients to be beneficial.
Before choosing a supplement, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any other medicines you are taking so that they can check for possible interactions. Some joint health supplements may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners.