Popular Supplements For Arthritis: What You Need To Know
Learn which supplements and vitamins might help with arthritis symptoms, and what risks some can pose.
Several nutritional supplements have shown promise for relieving pain, stiffness and other arthritis symptoms. Glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, SAM-e and curcumin are just some of the natural products researchers have studied for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis .
Some of these natural remedies may offer arthritis symptom relief, especially when you use them in conjunction with traditional treatments. Heres the evidence on some of the most popular supplements used to treat arthritis, and how they work.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most commonly used supplements for arthritis. Theyre components of cartilagethe substance that cushions the joints.
Research on these supplements has been mixed, in part because studies have used varying designs and supplement types. A large National Institutes of Health study called the GAIT trial compared glucosamine and chondroitin, alone or together, with an NSAID and inactive treatment in people with knee osteoarthritis . Glucosamine improved symptoms like pain and function, but not much better than a placebo. Yet a 2016 international trial found the combination to be as effective as the NSAID celecoxib at reducing pain, stiffness and swelling in knee OA.
How to Take Supplements Safely
Things To Consider When Taking Joint Pain Supplements
Most joint pain supplements you see on the market are derived from natural ingredients and are completely safe. This also means you probably wont have any side effects, which is common with prescription treatments for arthritis.
Talk to your doctor before taking these supplements, especially if you are currently taking other medications.
Another thing you need to consider before taking supplements is label transparency, i.e., that all ingredients are listed including binding ones. This is important, especially if you have certain allergies and want to make sure you dont have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in your joint pain supplement.
Collagen Supplements For Knee Pain
While glucosamine and chondroitin give cartilage its flexibility and resilience, it gets its strength from a strong, fibrous protein known as type II collagen. Collagen is a protein composed of long chains of amino acids. Every third amino acid is glycine, with proline, hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine appearing in between. These last two amino acids are not found in any other human proteins.
Long chains of collagen come together in threes. Hydroxyproline, which needs vitamin C for its synthesis, has a unique shape which allows collagen fibres to twist around each other and form long triple strands for extra strength
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Rehmannia Or Chinese Foxglove
What does it do?Chinese foxglove is an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Its used to treat conditions including asthma and RA.
Chinese foxglove is rich in amino acids and vitamins A, B, and C. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also be effective in reducing joint pain and swelling.
Does it work? There arent any major studies to support whether it works. Because its often added to other herbs, researchers have difficulty pinpointing Chinese foxglove as effective.
Dosage: There have been very few human studies showing Chinese foxglove is a safe and effective treatment. You should talk to your doctor before trying this herb.
The following remedies arent directly meant for RA symptoms. But they may still benefit your health.
How Vitamin C Reduces Knee Pain
Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis and for the metabolism of joint cartilage. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, especially in joint fluid.
Poor intakes of vitamin C can lead to reduced collagen formation and slow joint healing. In contrast, good intakes of vitamin C can reduce cartilage loss and disease progression in osteoarthritis, while its antioxidant action reduces joint inflammation.
Vitamin C stimulates bone-building cells to improve bone mineral density and support the overlying joint cartilage. Vitamin C may even help to prevent damage, cartilage loss and the development of osteoarthritis.
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Are Arthritis Pain Supplements Safe And Effective
In terms of consumer safety, most arthritis pain supplements do not contain controlled substances or other prescription-strength medications. They are classified as food supplements, not medication. However, you should consult with your physicians before beginning a regimen of this type. Diabetics should be careful when using sugar-based ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, and those with severe shellfish allergies should also use caution.
The effectiveness of arthritis pain supplements is a matter of debate. The beneficial effects may not appear for several months, as the body slowly begins to rebuild lost tissue or fluids. Anecdotal testimony from satisfied users indicates a noticeable degree of relief from pain and swelling, but these claims are not fully supported by scientific studies.
What Supplements Are Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis
A top rheumatoid arthritis supplement may reduce the swelling of inflamed joint tissues or might attack pain directly.
Typically, the best rheumatoid arthritis supplements reduce inflammatory agents in the bloodstream, while alleviating the pain from aggravated joints.
If youre curious about what supplements are good for rheumatoid arthritis, read on.
One of the best rheumatoid arthritis supplements, fish oil supplements:
- Come from ocean fish like tuna, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and salmon
- Also come from plant sources, like flax. Plant sources contain alpha-linolenic acid .
- Contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation throughout the body, especially in joints
- Are loaded with eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid
- Help lower the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids from fried and processed foods
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Theyre particularly useful for reducing swelling in the joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
A highly rated fish oil supplement found on Amazon.com is:
Each serving contains 2000 milligrams of inflammation-fighting fatty acids, including:
- 800 mg of EPA
- Enteric coating prevents any fishy aftertaste
- From wild-caught fish from an FDA-registered facility
- Purified oils through molecular distillation mean no heavy metals, no mercury, no other toxins
The highest-rated curcumin supplement on Amazon is:
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How Krill Oil Reduces Knee Pain
While plainomega-3 fish oils and cod liver oil are popular for preventing and treating knee pain, krill oil has the advantage of supplying long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids plus antioxidant pigments for an enhanced anti-inflammatory effect.
The long-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are processed in the body to reduce formation of inflammatory substances known as leukotrienes. These omega-3s reduce inflammation, stiffness, swelling and, in people with different types of arthritis can reduce the number of painful joints, and the long-term need for pain killers.
Both the omega 3s and the antioxidants found in krill oil have an anti-inflammatory action which help to reduce joint pain, stiffness and swelling in people with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. In a trial involving 90 people with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, levels of inflammation were reduced by 19% within 7 days, in those taking 300mg krill oil a day, and by 30% within 2 weeks. In those taking placebo, levels of inflammation increased.
As well as helping your knee pain, krill oil is beneficial for the heart and circulation, too.
Supplements For Arthritis And Joint Pain
Arthritis Joint Pain: Supplements and Herbs
Glucosamine helps keep the cartilage in joints healthy and may have an anti-inflammatory effect. Natural glucosamine levels drop as people age.
Chondroitin is often used with glucosamine as an osteoarthritis treatment. Researchers found that chondroitin appeared to reduce pain, increase joint mobility, and decrease the need for painkillers.
The research into the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis symptoms is mixed. Doctors do not recommend these supplements but are not opposed to their use if a patient gets relief from using them. Doctors recommend against using glucosamine hydrochloride.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil and other foods, encourage the body to produce chemicals that help control inflammation. This supplement may help ease stiffness caused by inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but more research is needed.
Curcumin and/or Boswellia serrata
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Where To Go From Here
These are only a few of the many supplements you can start taking that could be beneficial if you have arthritis. However, they are some of the best.
If you begin taking omega 3 fats in the form of fish oil, protein supplements such as whey and branched-chain amino acids, youll most likely see a big difference.
Test it yourself and keep your own records on what works for you. The answers are waiting for you to discover them!
Any specific supplement products & brands featured on this website are not necessarily endorsed by Donna.
Contents of this Article
How Effective Are Vitamin C Supplements For Knee Pain
In the Framingham Osteoarthritis Cohort Study, who underwent regular knee x-rays, people with the highest vitamin C intakes were three times less likely to see their knee osteoarthritis progress than those with the lowest vitamin C intake. This protection was mostly related to a reduced risk of cartilage loss. Those with high vitamin C intake also had a 70% reduced risk of developing kneepain.
In the similar Clearwater Osteoarthritis Study, those who took vitamin C supplements were 11% less likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than those who did not take vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C may also enhance the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin. A small trial involving 34 males from the U.S. Navy who had degenerative joint disease of the knee or lower back found good results from combing glucosamine HCl , chondroitin sulfate and vitamin C in the form of manganese ascorbate . After 16 weeks, knee pain in those with osteoarthritis was reduced by 26.6% using a pain scale recorded during clinic visits, while their physical examination score improved by 43.3%. The researchers concluded that this combination was effective in relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
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Topical Or Oral Nonsteroidal Anti
Dr. Newsum explains that topical over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications in the form of gels or creams can be even more effective than similar medications taken by mouth.
Since the finger joints are right under the skin, topical anti-inflammatories can deliver the active ingredient quite well and even offer less side effects compared to oral anti-inflammatories.
Though, oral anti-inflammatories can be an effective treatment, too, if needed.
Your doctor can help you determine which is best for you, says Dr. Newsum.
Krill Oil Supplements For Knee Pain
Krill are a tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans found in all the oceans of the world. They feed on microalgae from which they obtain omega-3 fatty acids and two antioxidant pigments, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. These pigments are produced by algae to protect them from ultraviolet light and, when these algae and shrimps are eaten by wild flamingos, give them their attractive pink plumage. Without them flamingos would be grey. These carotenoid pigments, which also cause shrimps, prawns and lobsters to turn red when cooked, are the reason why krill oil has such a vibrant, crimson colour.
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How Effective Are Turmeric Supplements For Knee Pain
A study involving 367 people with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis found that taking turmeric curcumin extracts for 4 weeks was as effective in reducing knee pain, knee stiffness and improving knee joint function as ibuprofen but with fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
Turmeric can be combined with glucosamine and chondroitin to produce a faster onset of action and improved results.
I recommend selecting a turmeric supplement that provides solubilised turmeric, as this is 185 times better absorbed than normal turmeric powder, for a more rapid onset of action.
Finger Or Hand Splint
One conservative treatment can be a temporary splint worn just at night, says Dr. Newsum.
This can be helpful for individuals who have multiple fingers affected.
Night splints help the hand and fingers rest in a neutral position. It keeps the fingers slightly bent but the hand open. Splinting can be effective for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, he adds.
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What Are Joint Pain Supplements
The most common form of arthritis is osteoporosis. In this disease, the bone and cartilages are worn down, thereby causing pain, soreness, and difficulty in movement.
This can be effectively treated by chemical drugs like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or, to the worse, with surgery.
Recently, scientists have formulated safe and working compositions for arthritis with household supplements like turmeric that can work wonders to relieve joint pain.
In addition to this, many nutraceutical labs worldwide came up with comprehensive natural formulas to treat arthritis pain.
Showing clinical results and made with clinically proven effective ingredients, these supplements have generated a loyal fanbase worldwide.
Health Benefits And Risks
The Arthritis Foundation states that some supplements may relieve pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of arthritis. It also suggests using supplements alongside arthritis drugs, not as a substitute. Medications are the only scientifically proven treatment to slow joint damage.
Furthermore, the AF highlights the importance of consulting a doctor before taking any supplements for arthritis. Some supplements may interact with other medications or cause side effects.
It is also of note that there is little research into the effectiveness of supplements.
Some supplements have different benefits than others. In the sections below, we list supplements and their possible benefits.
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Seeking Help For Your Arthritis Pain
If arthritis has kept you from living the life you want, NJ Spine & Orthopedic is ready to help. Our caring team will empower you with information about the latest conservative treatments and therapies, such as the best supplements for you. If conservative treatments havent been effective in relieving your arthritis pain, we will be happy to discuss minimally invasive surgical options with you.
With the right treatment regimen, you can resume doing the things you love. Schedule an appointment today with one of our arthritis doctors to discover how NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help you!
Virbac Movoflex Joint Support Soft Chews
Another soft chew treat that you can give your dog is the Virbac MOVOFLEX Joint Support Supplement. Its made to combat signs of joint problems at the early stages.
This chew treat has 16 mg of hyaluronic acid and 10 mg of Boswellia serrata. It also contains 132 mg BIOVAFLEX eggshell membrane. All of these help boost your dogs joints in the early stages of arthritis.
Aside from its joint health benefits, this chew treat is also made delicious. It has a chicken meal, dried chicken liver, and potato flour. If your dog has allergies to soybean, this supplement may not be a good choice since it has soybean oil. Anyway, the good thing here is that this supplement doesnt contain shellfish, gluten, salt, and sugar.
Remember that you should only give one of these chew supplements a day on any dog breed or size. With that, the 60-count jar will last fairly long and provide results.
Moreover, many vets trust Virbac MOVOFLEX as one of the best supplements for older dogs with arthritis. It will help reduce the pain of the condition to improve your dogs quality of life.
The good thing about chew supplements like this is that you no longer have to fight with your dog to administer it. Your dog will even beg for more since its tastier than a tablet!
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Why Do People Take Chondroitin
The evidence that chondroitin helps with osteoarthritis is mixed. A number of studies seemed to show that it is effective. Researchers found that chondroitin appeared to reduce pain, increase joint mobility, and decrease the need for painkillers.
However, several more recent studies have been less promising. Several found that chondroitin supplements had only a small benefit, if any. If you’re interested in using chondroitin for arthritis pain, talk to your doctor about the latest evidence.
How To Choose The Best Joint Pain Supplements
Choosing joint pain supplements is not easy. This is mostly because there is an abundance of joint pain supplements on the market with most of them not offering any true measurable benefits.
Because most of these products are designed as dietary supplements, they dont undergo rigorous FDA testing making their ingredient safety and efficiency highly debatable.
Furthermore, the studies on common ingredients in joint pain supplements are inconclusive and contradictory, as stated in a review on joint pain supplements published in Pharmacy and Therapeutics.
So choosing the best joint pain supplements will largely depend on your own research and trust regarding these products.
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