2018's 10 Best
Joint pain manifests itself in a variety of ways and for a variety of people. It seems almost indiscriminate about who it decides to affect and in what ways. This can be extremely frustrating for people who are used to being able to push themselves physically.
It’s almost essential to invest in a joint supplement if you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter, runner, or any kind of athlete. If you’re ready to see our list of the best joint supplements, go ahead and jump straight to our list. If you’d like to know a little more about joint supplements to help inform your decision though, stick around for a bit.
The reasons joints hurt vary. Possible culprits are arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis.
Arthritis shows up in a few different ways. The most common type for athletes is osteoarthritis. This is caused by the wear and tear to your cartilage which directly affects how your joints move . Rheumatoid arthritis is more of a chronic condition caused by an overactive immune system that is known to attack joints.
Bursitis is when the bursae sacks (which are present in all joints) become inflamed and infected. This causes swelling and pain and can make movement much harder. When people talk about things like “tennis elbow” they are experiencing bursitis.
Tendonitis affects bodybuilders especially. Its one of the easiest to treat and prevent, but often goes untreated, which can lead to permanent injury. If you are known to “work through the pain” even when it’s joint pain, it is likely you are experiencing this. It’s caused by micro injuries to the cartilage that go untreated and get overworked.
The first step to treating painful joints is to rest. This means missing a leg day or two so your joints can heal. For example, replacing your evening racket ball session with a slow run around the track so your elbow can heal. If you have rested for quite a while and are not noticing changes, please go see your doctor and make sure your issue is not more serious than tendonitis.
It is worth pointing out that some joint pains can be avoidable with proper warm ups, if the problem isn’t serious. If, however, you have confirmed with the doctor that it is a serious issue, a joint supplement may help to alleviate your pain. Supplements can help rebuild the strength in your joints, but your body needs to be able to absorb the nutrients properly. If you keep pushing an injury, no amount of nutrients or medicine will help it heal.
One of the best things you can do is make sure that your blood is working its way to and through the joint. This allows nutrients from your food, supplements, and medications to make their way to the joint and do some actual work. While walking or running on a bad knee isn’t the greatest idea, going for a swim or rowing might be just what you need to get blood flowing through your joints.
As you probably know, the blood stream is where all the nutrients from food and supplements are carried through your body. They’re broken down in your stomach, the essentials are absorbed into your bloodstream, and then they are carried to the parts of your body that need them. So if you have a good combination of blood flow and the right ingredients, you can be sure that there is a healing process happening.
That being said, finding the right supplements for any ailment can sometimes be annoying. It’s time consuming, confusing, and can be frustrating if you don’t know exactly what to look for. Supplements are typically classified in 3 ways:
- The quality of ingredients
- The bioavailability of ingredients
- The level of interaction ingredients have with a given ailment.
When you’re looking for the right product, the first thing you want to know about is what ingredients are used and how. For joint pains, thankfully, there are a handful of ingredients that have been shown to help all three of the ailments listed above. This makes your job a lot easier, because there are a few places where you really can’t go wrong.
What Should I Look For in a Joint Supplement?
This really is the question of the decade. What ingredients will reduce joint pain and help you rebuild the strength of your cartilage? There are a few crowd favorites that have done favorably in double blind studies throughout the last 10 years or so. There is still so much more research to be done though. Unlike other ailments such as heart problems or diabetes, researchers don’t have a very clear idea of what exactly works and what doesn’t. Joints are still a relatively new area of study.
However, a few ingredients have continued to prove their ability to reducing pain and building strength. Finding the right joint supplement is like finding the perfect sundae. You need to have a few things to make it perfect:
The inclusion of these essentials will ensure you see results and the side effects will be less likely. Aside from those inclusions, the right companies and the right dosages are necessary, but in some respects that falls to being a person to person basis.
Glucosamine comes in several forms, but not all forms are created equal. Each form of glucosamine has a different bioavailability or effect on cartilage, muscle, and bone health. A dose of glucosamine chondroitin (in its several forms) or glucosamine sulfate will be most effective in its impact on your strength and pain.
Glucosamine has been sold for a very long time all over the world as a joint supplement. It is considered to be a drug and nutraceutical. In Vitro and In Vivo studies have proven glucosamine actionable against joint issues, especially in the treatment of articular issues ( i.e. cartilage, synovial membrane, and subchondral bone) (1).
It is mostly known for its impact on joint pain in particular. It has been proven to be better than anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. It doesn’t work as fast, granted, but the effects are longer lasting and impacts are more permanent.
Ibuprofen is the most common form of pain relief. When compared to glucosamine it unsurprisingly failed to provide any lasting impacts. Glucosamine is great for relieving pain and setting up long-term structures for healthy growth. (2)
Glucosamine is typically more bioavailable than other ingredients and has been shown time and time again to work successfully. As with many other supplements, it has a few pals that it works well with and has been shown to have a positive reaction with.
You may already know this one, but omega-3 fatty acids are a fantastic source for joint support. They have been discussed as one of the best natural ways to combat arthritis in any form. This is because of the way it interacts with several parts of your biology.
Omega-3’s are polyunsaturated fats. They are considered separately from other types of fats because of the double bond at the end of the carbon chain. This sets them apart because it makes them more bioavailable for your body, and that helps make every part of them helpful. (3)
Omega-3’s have three parts: ALA, DHA, and EPA. Only DHA and EPA have been shown to have continual positive impacts on the body, and they are the only ones found in sources like fish oil or krill oil.
Both DHA and EPA are influential in reducing inflammation, especially in joints. It does so by improving blood flow through the area. Increased blood flow means you will get more nutrients to that area. Omega-3’s can be helpful because they contain a lot of essential nutrients that are great for cartilage, muscle, and bones. (4)
Omega-3’s can help your joints get feeling back to normal while you improve the way they function.
MSM is short for methylsulfonylmethane. That’s a mouthful though, so we just call it MSM. 🙂 It’s recommended to older generations whose joint problems are associated with degeneration. Studies have shown it capable of rebuilding cartilage quickly and painlessly, while giving relief to its users. (5)
This drug is still being investigated, but it has some of the most prominent joint health research available. (6)
MSM has built a reputation for reducing inflammation and being an antioxidant.This is because of the high sulfuric quality and density in its chemical makeup.
Its antioxidant qualities are especially important because they help reduce the level of free radicals in your system. Free radicals feed into degenerative and immune disorders and can wreck your joints.
Chondroitin is typically used to reduce the feeling of stiffness and swelling in your joints. It can do this because it is an animal-based chemical that improves water absorption in your muscles and joints. It is similar to Glucosamine in that it helps rebuild the flexibility of your joints.
It isn’t as bioavailable as glucosamine, but experts will often recommend taking these two supplementally in combination with each other as a way to improve overall joint health.
Both of these supplemental ingredients are also derived from animal tissue. Chondroitin is especially taken from the joints. It is typically found in the gristle of meats, but at that it is in very low concentrations. You will have better luck getting this from a supplement, and you will see better results than if you just up your meat intake.
What Joint Supplements Work Best?
Most joint supplements have several ingredients that have studies warranting their use. There are a lot of choices, and unfortunately some of them may be less effective than an ice pack and some good old fashioned rest. We took the liberty of compiling a list of things to look for when deciding what works best for most people. This should help you make an educated decision when the time comes.
Do Joint Supplements Work?
Yes, typically the work very well. They are better when coupled with proper dieting and exercise, but many can bring relief without it. They won’t solve all of your problems, especially if your problems are bad enough to warrant medication. When coupled with proper medication and direction from your doctor, you will likely see great results.
Oral Vs. Topical Joint Supplements
Your choice here depends on how your symptoms manifest, and what medications you are currently taking for your joints. If you are taking prescribed medications, a topical cream might work best for you.
Our top 10 only recommends one of those, and that’s because Nutricost’s topical cream is made with MSM, menthol, and lavender. It is a perfect addition because it treats the symptoms of bad or decaying joints but doesn’t interact with other medications. It also works much faster. The effects aren’t as long lasting as some of the other supplements though. It will increase blood flow to the area giving you an excellent way to bring nutrients in, but if you’re looking for something to fix joints from the inside, you might prefer the oral supplements.
We have a lot more oral supplements in our list because even though they’re slower acting, the results are longer lasting.
One Ingredient Vs. Multiple
This is likely the hardest part about picking the right supplement. Most supplements will contain several ingredients. That’s not always a bad thing. For example, take a look at our number one rated supplement. Oxycollasyn contains 13 active ingredients. Each of these has some proven studies behind their abilities to help reduce joint pain and build strength in the area.
Aside from that there are single-ingredient supplements that are great help, but they’re not always the most potent. There’s a benefit to having more ingredients. If one part doesn’t work, you’re not out an entire product. It is more likely that it will work, and it is more likely that there are several pieces that are working towards building strength.
Are There Any Side Effects?
It depends on the product. Mostly this falls to whether or not you’re prone to having reactions to any of the ingredients. Although infrequent, the most typical side effects are mild skin irritations (topical cream) or gut discomfort (oral supplement). Keep in mind that these side effects are not typical or common. Still, if you notice any excessive reaction, I would recommend that you stop using the supplement and call your doctor if the symptoms don’t go away.
BEST JOINT SUPPLEMENTS
Our top 10 list of Joint supplements is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All ten of or top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high quality supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our top ten list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping to ensure that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final capsule.
- Henrotin, Y., Mobasheri, A., & Marty, M Is there any scientific evidence for the use of glucosamine in the management of human osteoarthritis? Arthritis Research & Therapy, 14(1), 201. http://doi.org/10.1186/ar3657
- Müller-Faßbender, Hans, et a Glucosamine sulfate compared to ibuprofen in osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis and cartilage 2.1 (1994): 61-69.
- Carl J. Lavie MD, Richard V. Milani MD, Mandeep R. Mehra MD, Hector O. Ventura MD Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular DiseasesJournal of the American College of Cardiology Volume 54, Issue 7, 11 August 2009, Pages 585-594
- Philip Carder n?3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases 2006 American Society for Clinical Nutrition Am J Clin Nutr June 2006 vol. 83 no. 6 S1505-1519S
- Xu, G., Zhou, T., Gu, Y., Wang, Q., Shariff, M., Gu, P., … Rao, J. Evaluation of the Effect of Mega MSM on Improving Joint Function in Populations Experiencing Joint Degeneration. International Journal of Biomedical Science?: IJBS, 11(2), 54–60. (2015)
- Elsa Mével, Laurent-Emmanuel Monfoulet, Christophe Merceron, Véronique Coxam, Yohann Wittrant, Laurent Beck, Jérôme Guicheux Nutraceuticals in joint health: animal models as instrumental toolsDrug Discovery Today Volume 19, Issue 10, October 2014, Pages 1649-1658