Joint health is something that we perhaps take for granted. In our younger years, everything works the way it’s supposed to. But as aging takes its toll, stiff, tight, immobile joints can wreak havoc on your body. If you experience any sort of injury, this can exacerbate the problem further. Healthy nutrition and regular physical activity are key and should take priority. Beyond that, you can give your body a serious boost with supplements. Keep reading for the seven best supplements for joints.
(While it probably goes without saying, be sure to speak with your physician before trying any new supplements, especially if you’re already taking other supplements or prescription medications.)
The 7 Best Supplements for Joints
1. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While DHA appears to be more effective at it, studies suggest that both types are able to reduce inflammation. And inflammation is a common cause of joint pain.
Remember that you can also get a healthy dose of both EPA and DHA by eating fish and other seafood. Otherwise, look for a high-quality and pure supplement. Be sure to do your due diligence and look into how and where the supplement brand is sourcing their materials.
Turmeric seems to be the cure-all for everything, and it’s also one of the most common supplements for joint pain. Does it seem too good to be true? Fear not: Research is suggesting that this is more than a fad.
The reason turmeric is so powerful is thanks to its chemical compound called curcumin, which carries anti-inflammatory benefits. While more research is needed, studies do suggest that turmeric can ease joint pain and might work similarly to ibuprofen.
There are plenty of recipes that incorporate turmeric powder, and some people even put it in their tea. (Watch out — it stains!) If this doesn’t apply to you, look for it in capsule form.
3. Vitamin D
You likely know it as the sunshine vitamin, but vitamin D plays an even bigger role than this.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone and muscle function and might even carry anti-inflammatory properties. So, if inflammation is the cause of your discomfort, taking this supplement for joint pain could be a solution. There have even been links made between vitamin D deficiency and rheumatoid arthritis.
Side note: Some research says that 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, so you might want to look into it even if you don’t have joint pain.
Your liver produces S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) on its own, which serves a number of functions — namely helping to produce and repair cartilage. Thus, taking SAMe as a supplement for joint pain can help ease discomfort, particularly when caused by osteoarthritis.
What’s more, one study suggests that within two months, SAMe is as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex).
If you’ve been battling joint pain for a long time, the odds are that at least one person has suggested you take a glucosamine supplement.
Glucosamine is a part of cartilage, and cartilage is what stops your bones from rubbing against each other. Without it, pain, inflammation, and breakdown ensue.
There are actually two types of glucosamine: glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate. One study found that glucosamine sulfate in particular can improve joint pain. Furthermore, when taken long-term, it can slow down the narrowing of your joint space — a sure sign of osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin is another go-to when dealing with joint pain. In fact, it’s often combined with glucosamine into one supplement. (To be clear, science doesn’t yet know if taking the supplements combined is better than, worse than, or the same as taking them in separate supplements.)
Similar to glucosamine, chondroitin helps build cartilage and can even slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
One study showed that participants who took chondroitin had at least a 20% improvement in their knee pain. If you’re dealing with joint pain or stiffness, this supplement might help.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) often makes it on lists of supplements for joint health, although it’s more commonly used as an ingredient in these supplements. Research is ongoing but one study revealed that compared to a placebo, participants who took MSM experienced improved pain and functioning in regard to their osteoarthritis.
A Note About Taking Supplements for Joint Pain
We want to leave you with one final important note. Remember that even though supplements exist to help us, that doesn’t mean that they all do their jobs.
Because this industry isn’t regulated, anyone can make supplements, slap a label on a bottle, and sell them to the public. Quality control isn’t exactly a strong point.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to do your homework. Spend time looking into supplements you’re considering taking and the companies that produce them. Look for products that are pure, ethically sourced, and free from harmful ingredients. Be mindful of how they make you feel. Not every supplement on the shelves is going to be the right fit for every person.
As an example, if you decide to take fish oil, what types of fish were used to create them? Were they wild-caught? How long did they sit until the oil was processed? These are the types of questions you need to ask before taking a supplement.
And lastly, remember what we said in the beginning. Supplements, by definition, should be an add-on to an already healthy lifestyle — an enhancement. They won’t fix a poor diet or lack of physical activity. Instead, they’re here to help us where nutrition and activity fall short. Supplements can help to fill in the gaps.
Another way to address joint pain — one that doesn’t involve supplements — is electric muscle stimulation (EMS). Electric muscle stimulation works by sending electrical pulses impulses to your muscles in order to promote muscle contractions.
This action provides a number of benefits, including:
- Reduced pain and soreness.
- Faster recovery.
- Injury prevention.
- Improved muscle strength.
- Better muscle endurance.
- Improved blood circulation.
More specifically, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) targets pain. It does this by distracting the brain from any pain signals it’s receiving, therefore intercepting your experiencing of discomfort. Furthermore, TENS encourages the release of endorphins — our bodies’ natural painkillers.
PowerDot is one of the only FDA-approved devices for electric muscle stimulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Get a more in-depth explanation of electric muscle stimulation and how it can help you, as well as how you can use PowerDot’s Smart TENS programming to improve your pain.
Check out PowerDot’s collections today.
Learn more about how to manage chronic pain.