Do Joint Supplements Work?

Posted by Dr. Ian Stern Admin on

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. [1] It occurs more frequently as we age, and there are over 100 different types.

Common joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Severe arthritis can lead to chronic pain, making it difficult to walk, perform daily activities, and severely hinders the quality of life leaving us unable to do the things we love to do.

In part due to the fact that modern medicine has failed to find a cure for arthritis and the side effects of prescribed medications, many patients seek natural supplements to help them with their symptoms. I have put together a list of some of the most potent natural supplements, backed by science, and proven to work.

Joint Supplements for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which unfortunately is also becoming more widespread among younger people nowadays. It is characterized by loss of cartilage in the joints, with a prominent inflammatory component. There are phytonutrients in plants that appear to decrease the degradation of cartilage, inflammation, and oxidative damage. Here are a few of the most powerful ones.

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)

MSM is an organosulfur compound, which is derived from dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), an organic sulfur compound. It helps form connective tissue and repair joints, tendons and ligaments. It is proven to help decrease joint inflammation and restore collagen production, thereby improving flexibility.

Research shows that many patients with arthritis and joint pain experience a reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life when taking an MSM supplement. A clinical trial testing the effects of MSM on joint pain in 118 patients with osteoarthritis found that MSM supplements taken over 12 weeks resulted in more improvements in pain, swelling and joint mobility than in a control group given a placebo. [2] 

Turmeric /curcumin

Traditionally used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis turmeric/curcumin blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes and prevents inflammation. Obesity is a contributing factor in increasing the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Fatty tissue in the joints is a source of pro-inflammatory chemicals that have been shown to increase cartilage degradation. Curcumin may not only help the release of these inflammatory chemicals, but it may also help delay the development of the fatty tissue.

The most comprehensive and ambitious study to test the long-term efficacy and safety of curcumin, where 100 OA patients were investigated for eight months, showed that the patients who took curcumin showed a far greater improvement in their symptoms than the control group and curcumin was tolerated extremely well.

The patients were able to decrease their drug use with all the accompanying side effects of those drugs. [3]  In another study, a group of OA patients was given curcumin while a control group was given ibuprofen. The study showed that curcumin worked as well or better than ibuprofen. [4]


Frankincense, or Boswellia, was used in many ancient civilizations for many ailments and its abundant benefits include reducing inflammation and helping treat conditions like osteoarthritis. It can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules and prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue. The Cardiff scientists believe they have been able to demonstrate that in their research [5].  


Joint Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

While the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not yet known, it is a chronic inflammatory disorder, where the white blood cells destroy the cartilage. The following supplements have been proven to be effective.


Ginger has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Ginger contains Gingerol, a substance with powerful medicinal properties and has anti-inflammatory properties are similar to ibuprofen.

In a 2012 study, a specialized ginger extract reduced inflammation in RA as effectively as steroids [6]. Due to the fact that ginger suppresses leukotrienes (inflammatory molecules), it can be said that this powerful food and supplement is more effective than conventional pain relievers.


Capsaicin is a chili pepper extract with analgesic properties. Its pain-relieving properties have been demonstrated in many studies. In a 2010 German study, joint pain decreased nearly 50 percent after three weeks' use of 0.05 percent capsaicin cream. [7]

Capsaicin is available as a topical cream, gel, or patch. It works by activating specific nerve receptors, causing local heat and stinging. Prolonged activation of these receptors causes them to lose their ability to process pain signals for extended periods of time. 

Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid found in various plant seed oils such as borage oil. The body converts it into anti-inflammatory chemicals. In one trial, 56 patients with active RA showed significant improvement in joint pain, stiffness and grip strength after six months and progressive improvement in control of disease activity at one year.

A smaller study found that a combination of GLA and fish oil significantly reduced the need for conventional pain relievers. [8] It works best when taken orally.

Joint Supplements for Inflammation and Injury

In addition to all the powerful supplements for inflammation mentioned above, here are a few others that are proven to work:

Bamboo stem extract – 

Taken from Bamboo shoots (the sprouts which spring out beside the bamboo plant). They have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In Japan, they are considered as the “King of Forest Vegetables”. According to research conducted by Muniappan and Sundararaj, bamboo shoots possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties. [9]

Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced by your body. It helps keep the joints lubricated, preventing the bones from rubbing against each other and causing pain. Hyaluronic acid supplements have been shown to be effective at reducing joint pain. Studies showed that taking 80–200 mg daily for at least two months significantly reduced knee pain in people with osteoarthritis. [10]

Mumiyo - Found inside the cracks of rocks in the high cliffs of the Himalayan mountains, it has been used for centuries to support joint, muscle, and bone health.  It contains more than 85 important minerals including Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc, as well as a substance called “Shilajit,” which in ancient Sanskrit texts was described as a “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness.”

Joint Supplements for Prevention

The joint supplements mentioned also are beneficial for preventing inflammation or injury. In addition, the following supplements have been found helpful for prevention:

L-leuicine - An essential amino acid that has been widely used by pro athletes for its ability to prevent muscle breakdown and support recovery. Studies have found amino acids supplementation for inflammation to be highly effective [11].

Cat’s Claw

Derived from the Amazon rainforests in South and Central America, the Cat’s Claw is dried root bark of a woody vine. It has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In a clinical trial, where 40 participants were given Cat’s Claw supplements, 53% reported a significant reduction in painful joints after 24 weeks, and significant beneficial effects on all clinical aspects were observed in participants who were given cat’s claw for an additional 28 weeks [12]. Cat’s Claw is available as capsules, tablets, liquid, and tea bags.


Quercetin is a chemical that is found in various foods and herbs, including grapes, apples, onions, buckwheat, citrus fruits, broccoli, and red wine. It has a wide range of health benefits, including its ability to reduce inflammation and eliminate pain. Quercetin blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins. Studies have found it to be very effective on inflammation and immune function [13]

How to Buy Joint Supplements

Many supplements out there contain the same generic formulas with low-quality ingredients, fillers, and GMOs. If you want your product to be effective in helping you stay healthy and active, so that you can continue to do what you love, it’s important to research the ingredients contained within, their side effects, as well as where they are sourced and manufactured.

Stay away from fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy. Look for products that are doctor formulated, which have been clinically tested and manufactured in the United States in a GMP certified facility. 

The Bottom Line

Everyone is different and the effects of supplements may vary from individual to individual. However, generally, knowing what’s inside your supplement, where it comes from, how it is made, and the clinical testing that it underwent are crucial to choosing a potent and effective product. I hope that you have found the information above helpful, and I wish you success in maintaining healthy joints, which is imperative to living a full, happy, and active life.

If you need a high quality joint supplement, check out my Regenerate formula.  It has already helped thousands of people deal with joint pain so that they can enjoy life again.   Click the link above to order.