Joint Supplements for Runners: 10 Vitamins Every Runner Needs

Posted by Dr. Ian Stern on

Dr. Ian Stern Dr. Ian Stern Dr. Ian Stern

Joints, like other body parts, wear out. In runners, joint problems are most frequent in the hips, knees, spine, ankles, and big toes. Especially the knees are problematic since they take the greatest pounding.

For every pound of weight a person carries, they have four pounds on the knee when running. That is, if you weigh 100 pounds, there are 400 pounds of force on the knee with each foot strike. The meniscal cartilage in the knee is like a sponge which provides cushioning and helps stabilize the thigh bone on top of the shin bone.

Through overuse, the meniscal cartilage can wear down and lose its sponginess, and the bones begin to pound on each other harder, leading to a greater chance of developing arthritis. To prevent this, runners often take supplements. Below I have put together a list of top supplement for joint support.

1. Turmeric/Curcumin

Traditionally used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis, turmeric/curcumin is not just a healthy and delicious spice, but also one of the most effective anti-inflammatory supplements out there! It blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, boosts the immune system, and provides long-term improvement in joint pain and function.

A 2006 study showed that turmeric was particularly effective in preventing joint inflammation [1].

Another study showed that curcumin worked as well or better than ibuprofen in pain management [2]. Clinically proven forms of curcumin are highly bioavailable and require only 400 mg daily to be effective. Especially when combined with the chemical piperine, found in black pepper, which helps the absorption of curcumin and prolongs its beneficial properties in the body, turmeric/curcumin is a miracle cure for runners.

2. Bamboo stem extract

Bamboo stem extract is taken from Bamboo shoots (the sprouts which spring out beside the bamboo plant). They have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In Japan, they are considered to be the “King of Forest Vegetables.”

According to research conducted by Muniappan and Sundararaj, bamboo shoots possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties [3]. The stem of bamboo contains an abundance of a gel called silica, which strengthens bones, helps with overall joint flexibility, increases connective tissue, and helps maintain the correct calcium-magnesium balance, all of which are essential for runners.

3. L-leucine

L-leucine is an essential amino acid that is used widely by pro athletes for its ability to prevent muscle breakdown and support recovery. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and strongly enhances muscle building and helps slow muscle deterioration.

Leucine is one of the three branched chain amino acids, and it is praised for its incredible ability to boost muscle mass and improve athletic performance. Strong muscles protect joints! Also, studies have found amino acids supplementation for inflammation to be highly effective [4].


4. Hyaluronic Acid

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 is known to support healthy joints and connective tissue. 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 [5].

5. Mumiyo (or Shilajit)

Found inside the cracks of rocks in the high cliffs of the Himalayan mountains, Mumiyo has been used for centuries to support joint, muscle, and bone health. It contains more than 85 important minerals including Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc.

The combination of organic trace minerals, humic and fulvic acids, amino acids, carbon-60, plant-based antioxidants, and many other beneficial acids sets it apart from any other trace minerals. It can help fortify bones and joints, as well as builds resilience against inflammation. Taking it together with turmeric and ginger strengthens the anti-inflammatory effects even further. In addition, Shilajit works as an energizer and a natural recovery solution after a workout.

6. Boswellia (Frankincense)

Frankincense or Boswellia has been used for centuries in African and Asian traditional medicine. 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.

It also is an effective painkiller. Numerous studies demonstrate Boswellia’s beneficial anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. One 2003 study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that all 30 people with knee pain who received Boswellia reported a decrease in knee pain.

They also reported an increase in knee flection and increased walking distance [6]. A more recent study confirmed a decrease in pain after 90 days of taking the product, as well as found that increasing the dosage of enriched boswellia extract led to an increase in physical ability and helped reduce the levels of a cartilage-degrading enzyme [7].

7. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid found in various plant seed oils such as borage oil. It also is found in very small amounts in some leafy greens and nuts. It can also lessen joint pain and stiffness. The body converts it into anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Several studies show GLA is an effective treatment for reducing inflammation. Especially when combined with fish oil, GLA has been found to significantly reduce the need for conventional pain killers [8].

8. Willow Bark

Willow bark extract has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic. Willow bark is the bark from several varieties of the willow tree. Clinical studies support the use of willow bark extracts for chronic lower back and joint pain [9]. The salicin inside willow bark works the same way as aspirin, by reducing inflammation and pain as it enters your bloodstream.

8. Vitamin D3

Research shows that people with low levels of vitamin D may have more joint pain. Vitamin D is crucial for bone and joint health, and it helps regulate the calcium in the body. When taken as a supplement, Vitamin D3 is preferable as it is a natural form of vitamin D that lasts longer in your body.

10. Ginger

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 similar to ibuprofen.

In a 2012 study, a specialized ginger extract reduced inflammation in RA as effectively as steroids [10]. 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.

Do Runners Need Glucosamine?

You may be wondering, what about glucosamine? Glucosamine supplements have long been the talk of the running community, and they seem to be gaining popularity. At the risk of being controversial, I will say that glucosamine supplements are not for everyone, and runners don’t necessarily need them.

Glucosamine is a compound naturally found within the cartilage of your joints. And in the body, it acts as one of the natural shock-absorbents and joint lubricants. However, when taken as a supplement, it is poorly absorbed by the body, and there is very little evidence of its efficacy compared to the supplements mentioned above.

A study was conducted comparing the effects of glucosamine to those of a placebo, and according to the research, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination don’t reduce joint pain, nor do they prevent osteoarthritis [11].

Of all glucosamine products, the ones containing glucosamine sulfate are more effective, but still, there is insufficient evidence of their efficacy in joint stiffness or function, and while they help some people with severe osteoarthritis (particularly of the knee), and they may slow the breakdown of joints after several years of regular use(!) [12], many runners don’t find them very helpful at all.

How to Choose the Best Joint Supplement for Runners

Knowing what’s inside your joint supplement is key when choosing the best one for you. 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 run and 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.

My Regenerate Joint Supplement is the result of my 20+ years of research and practice as a doctor, helping thousands of people like you deal with joint pain. It consists of the best possible and most effective legendary ingredients, which are backed by thousands of years of wisdom and scientifically proven to work! It contains ZERO additives, fillers of any kind, or allergens (No Gluten, No Corn, No Soy, No GMOs). All manufactured right here in the USA in a GMP certified facility.

And there is no risk at all in making a purchase! If you don’t absolutely love the way our product makes you feel, just contact our award-winning customer service team, and

we will refund your money 100%.

And while you’re at it, why not support an honorable cause? A percentage of your purchase goes directly to the Dreamlife Association, a non-profit dedicated to helping impoverished children from broken homes learn the life skills they need to have their fair chance at a happy and healthy life.


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