Best Vitamins and Supplements for Joint Health of 2024

By Published On: July 9, 20248.2 min readViews: 550 Comments on Best Vitamins and Supplements for Joint Health of 2024

Feeling aches or stiffness at times is a common experience, but it’s always best to be seen by a doctor who knows your health history so you can make sure you’re addressing the root of the aches as well as doing what you can to manage or minimize them by adding nutrition to your diet or other lifestyle or exercise tweaks. For some people, adding a supplement may be an easy way to ensure you’re doing everything you can to ease the pain, though keep in mind research tends to be mixed on whether even the best supplements or vitamins for joint pain will ease symptoms.

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“Generally, I think it’s hard to find a full-on solution for your joint pain through supplements alone,” said Dr. Navya Mysore, a primary care physician and women’s health expert. But save for a review of someone’s health history and any medications they’re taking that may interact with their supplement of choice, there’s also no harm in adding a supplement for joint health, Mysore said.

Best joint supplements of 2024

While “there’s not a ton of evidence out there to firmly say one supplement is going to help you over another,” Mysore said, glucosamine likely has the most evidence backing its use. Glucosamine naturally occurs in our bodies — it’s in your cartilage and helps your joints function. A glucosamine supplement is believed to help with arthritis in that it can bring down some of the pain brought on by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, glucosamine is commonly sold in combination with chondroitin as a single supplement, and both are two of the most commonly used supplements for arthritis.

Mysore said people with shellfish and iodine allergies need to be careful about taking this supplement, as it’s often made from shellfish, and that it could also affect people with asthma. It has the potential to cause side effects like nausea and heartburn, and there’s also a risk of interaction with blood thinners or anticoagulant medications that could cause bleeding issues. Talk with your doctor or dietician before adding it to your diet.

Omega-3s are fatty acids that may alleviate inflammation and joint pain. Some research has shown that these supplements may reduce stiffness in people with arthritis and also combat joint pain; other research has found they may “prevent experimental arthritis and may decrease disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis.” If you currently take a blood thinner, speak to your doctor before taking an omega-3 because they may interact and pose health risks.

It’s also important to note that it may be more beneficial to get your omega-3s through your food, if possible. One omega-3 rich diet to get you started is the Mediterranean diet.

Turmeric isn’t just a spice used in some cuisines, it’s been used in traditional medicine as a healing spice, and it’s considered one of the more powerful natural ingredients you can add to your meal for a health boost. Specifically, its active ingredient or compound, curcumin, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mysore says that if you’re interested in adding a turmeric supplement for pain relief, make sure it contains curcumin for better absorption. And as an alternative, tastier way to incorporate the spice’s wellness properties into your routine, Mysore suggested a meal that contains turmeric and black pepper, which contains a compound that can help the body absorb turmeric’s important properties. For example, she said, a smoothie with added turmeric and eggs seasoned with black pepper.

As is true with every supplement on this list, check with your doctor if you’re taking prescription medications, as turmeric may interfere with blood thinners and immunosuppressive drugs, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Vitamin D is known to support bone health, which is why some believe a vitamin D supplement could be useful in aiding in joint health. There is some research that suggests taking a vitamin D supplement can help with arthritis pain and inflammation, but the result doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a definitive answer.

Overall, vitamin D is a great resource for the body, which aids in other functions like cognitive function, immune function and mood. Take care when adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine, though, as high levels of this vitamin can interact with several drugs. Most notably, high levels of vitamin D can be highly problematic if you’re on Lanoxin, as it can put you at risk for hypercalcemia. (Unless your doctor recommends it, most health experts seem to recommend not taking more than 4,000 IU per day.) Other medications mixed with a vitamin D supplement can also affect how your body processes the supplement.

People often turn to vitamin E to support their immune systems, as this vitamin is an antioxidant. And there is some research showcasing vitamin E may slow the progression of osteoarthritis and promote the growth of new cartilage cells. However, much of this research requires further study. That being said, vitamin E is a good supplement to keep in your rotation, as it also promotes good vision and brain health. Just note that it can interact with blood thinners and put you at risk for bleeding.

You’ll often see chondroitin mentioned alongside glucosamine, as they’re similarly studied for arthritis and often sold together as a single supplement. Chondroitin is also found in the cartilage in your body, which is why it’s believed to be beneficial in boosting joint health. Research into chondroitin has had largely inconclusive results, but it’s still accepted as a supplement that could be beneficial in aiding joint health. It’s generally viewed as a safe supplement, though, like many others, it can interact with blood thinners like Warfarin and put you at risk for bleeding.

Collagen is a protein your body makes — and as you age, you have less and less of it. It’s what keeps your skin tight and firm and what keeps your joints working smoothly. But as you get older, there’s less collagen in your joints, which is where joint supplements could help. Though there isn’t a lot of research on whether collagen can actually help your joints, doctors largely think that it won’t hurt either — if it makes you feel better while paired with low-impact exercises like swimming, then go for it.

How we chose the best supplements for joint health

We didn’t test any supplements for joint health ourselves. Rather, we rounded up a list of the leading compounds, supplements and vitamins with some research supporting relief for arthritis symptoms and joint health.

Factors to consider when choosing a supplement for joint health

Cause of joint pain: Before you get started on a joint supplement, it’s important to get to the bottom of your symptoms to find the true cause and prevent more health effects. There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The easiest way to find the cause of your symptoms is to go to your doctor, who will also be able to tell you which supplements are recommended and safe for you to take based on your current medications and medical history.

Whether you’re taking medications: Common prescriptions, including blood thinners, may interact with certain supplements taken for joint health and cause serious side effects. Always be sure to clear any new dietary supplement with your doctor or pharmacist before adding it to your daily rotation if you’re taking any medication, even though you can easily get most dietary supplements over the counter.

Food allergies: Some supplements for joint health may include common food allergens, such as fish, so be sure to check the product’s label for ingredients and look into the company from which you want to buy from.

Joint supplement FAQs

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic; arthritis is an umbrella term for joint pain and joint disease. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it tends to cause pain in the hands, spine, hips and knees. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage cushioning bones wears down over time, per the Mayo Clinic.

Do joint supplements really work?

Evidence supporting even the best joint supplements appears to be inconclusive, though some research has shown supplements can improve arthritis symptoms. Supplements aren’t meant to be used as a remedy for a medical condition, but rather as something that will supplement or complement your diet, especially if you’re deficient in a nutrient. The supplements included in this best list were chosen because some research has found a potential benefit for joint health, though whether you decide to take one will depend on the medications you’re prescribed and your individual health concerns.

Does the FDA approve dietary supplements?

No, the US Food and Drug Administration doesn’t sign off on and investigate supplements like it does medications or drugs. “[The] FDA generally does not approve dietary supplement claims or other labeling before use,” it says. However, there are manufacturing practices and marketing rules that companies that make supplements must follow.

For more information, read on about how to read a supplement label.

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