No, this is not about how to make sushi.
RICE is an acronym used by sports trainers and physical therapists. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It is the first treatment recommended for sports injuries. RICE is also recommended for alleviating pain and discomfort caused by degenerative joint problems, such as osteoarthritis.
Although effective, there comes a time when an athlete or active adult is ready to be more proactive than reactive. So you’ve decided it’s time to do some research on the benefits of joint supplements.
That’s a good reason to continue reading.
Maybe you aren’t the one who needs a joint supplement. Are you researching joint supplements for an aging parent suffering from arthritis pain? Are you looking for ways to protect against injury for your young athlete?
You might already know about the different types of knee pain. You understand the causes and are familiar with treatment recommendations.
Perhaps you’ve tried other recommended treatments. These include physical therapy, assistive devices, over-the-counter pain relief, prescription medications, and viscosupplementation.
If you’re considering surgery as your next stop, there may be a helpful detour available.
What’s Next? Joint Supplements
They are organic, naturally occurring substances. Many joint supplement ingredients are produced by the body. It’s important to realize that joint supplements may not offer immediate pain relief. But effective joint supplements offer solutions. They provide long-term repair and possible regeneration of materials necessary for healthy joints.
If you or someone you care about suffers from joint-pain, consider a joint supplement. They are an excellent alternative to the side effects of harsh drugs. And they are worth considering before surgery.
Joint supplements, as they increase in popularity, are flooding the health market. The number of joint supplements available is staggering. Trying to decide which is right for your individual situation can cause frustration.
The key is to know which ingredients to look for.
Important note: like pharmaceutical drugs, joint supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new treatment.
Your Guide to the Best Joint Supplements
The following list offers a sample of some of the more effective dietary nutrients found in joint supplements. These recommendations are based on reviewing the science and research. It is not all-inclusive but is a good start.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
Glucosamine and chondroitin are joint supplements made from natural compounds produced in the body. They are both found in the fluid surrounding knee cartilage.
Glucosamine combined with Chondroitin sulfate offers hope for osteoarthritis sufferers with moderate-to-severe pain. Results from a double-blind study found the combination yielded “statistically significant pain relief.” (See study here)
Glucosamine may reduce cartilage breakdown and relieve osteoarthritis pain. Some research suggests chondroitin curbs cartilage deterioration in knee joints, but experts agree more data is needed. Chondroitin sulfate helps maintain water levels in cartilage.
Glucosamine can be harvested from the shells of shellfish. Chondroitin is extracted from the cartilage of animals such as cows and sharks.
500 mg three times daily for glucosamine; 400 mg three times a day is recommended for chondroitin
Cetyl myristoleate (CMO)
A natural fatty acid first isolated in the 1970s. Dr. Harry W. Diehl, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, has been credited with discovering CMO. Cetyl myristoleate has proved successful in the treatment of dogs suffering from arthritis and joint pain.
In a recent double-blind trial, researchers concluded: “CMO is effective in alleviating knee pain in persons with mild degree arthritis of the knee joint, at an effective dose of 62.4%.”
CMO may act as a lubricant for joints and as an anti-inflammatory. (Note: combined with menthol as a topical blend, CMO shows promise. When applied to the skin, some patients report less pain and improved knee movement.)
Found in the cartilage of sperm whales, mice, and beavers. Cetylated fatty acids can be extracted from beef tallow in a highly purified form.
For osteoarthritis: 350 mg of cetylated fatty acids plus 50 mg of soy lecithin, and 75 mg of fish oil taken 6 times daily.
An organic, sulfur-based compound associated with the adrenal gland. Supports connective tissue maintenance and repair. Has also been shown to have antioxidant benefits.
A Mayo Clinic study reports positive outcomes for osteoarthritis patients given MSM. Patients showed “significant improvement” in range of motion for their knees. They also reported less pain and discomfort in their joints.
Researchers are hopeful that continued studies will confirm the antioxidant capabilities of MSM. This could improve treatments for osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions in the elderly.
MSM stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid. This lubricating fluid is essential for protecting joints from wear and tear.
New research offers promising results for MSM. Daily doses may reduce muscle damage caused by vigorous exercise.
Interesting fact: the anti-inflammatory properties of MSM may offer relief for asthma sufferers. Stanley W. Jacob, M.D., discusses this, and other benefits in his book “The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain.”
One of the few joint supplements found in a variety of foods: fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens), bone broth and raw milk. Trace amounts are found in tomatoes, corn, tea, and coffee.
A maximum of 3 g twice daily is suggested
Chinese medicine has utilized curcumin in treatments for centuries. It is the active ingredient that causes the bright orange-yellow color in turmeric.
Turmeric is a natural root used in cooking. It is an excellent choice for people seeking plant-based ingredients.
An article in the Journal of Medicinal Food evaluated research from several studies. It recommends the need for continued research. But, researchers agree that current studies do provide “compelling justification” for using curcumin. The studies recommended adding curcumin to joint supplements used in arthritis therapy.
Widely accepted as an anti-inflammatory for the relief of arthritis pain. Shown to be as effective as NSAIDs in reducing pain.
Curcumin is harvested from turmeric roots, which belongs to the ginger family. The root is dried and ground into a fine. The powder (now called turmeric) is available in the spice aisle at your local grocery store.
Adding turmeric to recipes is a common recommendation. It’s important to note that the body has difficulty absorbing the substance. Increase absorption by dissolving the powder in hot tea. You can also take it in capsule form in combination with other joint supplements.
500 mg three times daily is the recommendation
A fish-oil based fatty acid that is not just a miraculous new trend – it is essential to our health. This naturally occurring fat lubricates joints and delivers well documented anti-inflammatory benefits.
Look for Omega3 joint supplements containing Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) or Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).
Choose brands with verified mercury-free labels.
(A not-so-well-known fact: Omega3s should be refrigerated).
Studies are abundant and comprehensive. The verdict is indisputable. Omega3-fatty acids have anti-inflammatory capabilities, relieve stiffness, and reduce tenderness in joints.
Experts agree Omega3s (popularized due to their benefits in heart and brain health) are highly effective. They are vital to breaking the cycle of inflammation cartilage. And their role in maintaining connective tissue health is promising.
This wonder fat is found in a wide variety of foods: salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts, almonds, seeds, flax, raw soybeans, and leeks, to name a “few!”
Daily intake recommendations vary from 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg depending on the purpose.
This vitamin has recently become the topic of discussion in medical practices. There is strong evidence of widespread deficiency.
Exposure to sunlight is the best-known source for Vitamin D. Unfortunately, the amount gained by sun exposure does not reach recommended daily amounts.
There is a link between autoimmune conditions and Vitamin D deficiency. Disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other degenerative joint disorders may develop.
Solid evidence from the American College of Rheumatology offers hope. They concluded that “achieving vitamin D sufficiency may prevent and/or retard cartilage loss in knee OA.”
Getting the recommended amount Vitamin D on a daily basis decreases knee joint pain. Increasing Vitamin D intake reduces risk factors associated with cartilage loss in the joints.
Created when skin is exposed to sunlight. Some fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) contain the vitamin in its D3 form. Smaller amounts are found in mushrooms, eggs, organ meats, such as liver, and Vitamin D fortified milk.
Joint supplements containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D are recommended as a daily source.
A natural antioxidant, is there anything Vitamin C can’t do?
Medical practitioners recommended Vitamin C for treating a wide variety of conditions. Included on the list: chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.
It is also beneficial in the treatment of many arthritic conditions. This includes collagen depletion, arthritis, pain in the back due to swollen discs, and osteoporosis. Just to name a few.
Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in boosting the immune system.
Beware: Recent clinical studies suggest monitoring daily intake. Excessive amounts (more than 90 mg per day) may actually aggravate osteoarthritis.
The immune system boosting properties can play a key role in osteoarthritis pain relief. It also promotes collagen production, which is important in reversing arthritis conditions.
Also referred to as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C occurs naturally in fresh fruits (especially citrus). It is also available in vegetables such as broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts and red peppers.
90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women
Well-known as a source of frankincense, it is the main ingredient in many perfumes and incense. Used for its anti-inflammatory properties in ancient medicines dating back to Egyptian times.
Research shows promise for boswellia extract as a treatment for arthritis symptoms. A study published in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology showed “All patients receiving drug treatment reported a decrease in knee pain, increased knee flexion and increased walking distance.”
Reduces pain and swelling in inflamed joints. Curtails pain as well as prescription medications used for the same purpose. The results of using Boswellia extract oil as a pain reliever are impressive.
Extracted from the resin (and sometimes bark) of Boswellia. Boswellia are types of trees and shrubs found in of Northern Africa, Middle East, and India. There are about 25 known species of Boswellia.
Varies based on the concentration of boswellic acids. Follow package directions or consult your doctor for dose recommendations.
What About Minerals? Can They Benefit Your Joints?
Needless to say, minerals are a key component of our bodies, so it follows that if we don’t have enough minerals we could have adverse health consequences. First off, what is a mineral. We usually refer to minerals as chemical elements. Everybody knows that we need Oxygen, which is usually a gas, which we don’t even see, yet it is part of the air we breathe. Nitrogen, another gas and Oxygen make up most of the air we breathe, with small amounts of Carbon Dioxide, which is the result of things like wood, natural gas, oil, and so on, getting burned.
More common minerals are iron, which makes up not just so many materials we see around us, such as knives, car bodies, and bars used in reinforcing buildings. However, iron is a key component of our blood, because it attaches oxygen we breathe, and transports all over our body.
In the case of joints, though, there are some minerals that are not so well known, dosages are not necessarily certain, yet numerous studies show how important they are.
Here are some example of mineral you may not be aware of, that can help your joints.
- Boron can improve bone health
- Copper aids in making blood and helps with connective tissues
- Manganese helps joint health and may aid arthritis relief
- Magnesium works with calcium to improve bone health
- Zinc not only helps with immunity, but also supports cartilage
While a detailed discussion of the many different minerals needed for good health is beyond the scope of this article, it’s fair to say that the modern diet, which is generally not organic, can be deficient in various nutrients. I once knew a cattle farmer in Northern California, whose cows were mysteriously not up to par. A study of the soil showed there happened to be a lack of an essential mineral in the soil, which meant that the grass the cows ate was also lacking that nutrient. That’s just one anecdote, but the point is clear, supplementing with some minerals can help with joint health.
The Good News About Joint Pain
There is hope!
You are not condemned to the life of a couch potato, even if you suffer from joint pain in your knees. Many scientific studies prove that joint supplements promote knee health in many different ways.
The key is to find the one that works for you.
To help narrow down your search we reviewed ten of the most popular, reputable and high-quality joint supplements. Our top choice: Joint Regen from A.S. Research.
Check out our review of Joint Regen, plus the nine other joint supplements that made it into our top 10.