Top Joint Supplements for Arthritis (2023)

Joint supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane are used to prevent and treat arthritis pain.

However, many joint supplements promise more than they deliver. A Consumer Reports analysis found 44% of the most popular joint supplements fell short of their ingredients list. It is important to know what to look for when choosing a joint supplement.

This article discusses joint supplements and the research behind the most effective supplements. It also explains what to look for when choosing supplements and a list of quality products.

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What To Look For

In the United States, supplement manufacturers are not subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as the pharmaceutical industry regarding terms of research, quality assurance, or marketing. Because of this, you need to be on guard when reviewing the manufacturer's claims.

With that said, joint supplements have been studied more extensively than other supplements, and, occasionally, researchers have had positive findings. Independent certification by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and ConsumerLab provide further assurance that the product is pure and contains the ingredients listed on the product label.

The following joint supplements are independently certified and may offer benefits if you're seeking relief from arthritis and other sources of chronic joint pain.

Glucosamine Sulfate

Top Joint Supplements for Arthritis (1)

Glucosamine is a substance naturally produced by the body from glucose and theamino acidglutamine. Glucosamine is used to synthesize glycosaminoglycan, a type of molecule central to the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues.

Glucosamine sulfate supplements are taken on the assumption that they will raise glucosamine levels in the body to such levels as to repair (or even reverse) joint cartilage damage.

Though the evidence in support of glucosamine's use is largely mixed, the European GUIDE (Glucosamine Unum In Die Efficacy) study concluded that it was as effective in relieving joint pain as Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Despite those findings, the researchers questioned whether glucosamine supplements used on their own actually improved joint function.

USP-certified glucosamine supplements include:

  • NOW Foods Glucosamine
  • BulkSupplements Pure Glucosamine Sulfate

Dosing

The recommendeddose of glucosamineis 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day for up to six months. At this level, it is generally considered safe.

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Chondroitin Sulfate

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Chondroitin is the most abundant glycosaminoglycan in cartilage and contributes to the resiliency of cartilage. Chondroitin is also important in blocking enzymes that can destroy cartilage.

Chondroitin sulfate supplements are intended to enhance the shock-absorbing properties of collagen and prevent the further breakdown of cartilage. They do so by helping cartilage cells retain water and, when used withglucosamine, may even help reversecartilage loss.

A 2017 study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases suggested that a daily 800-mg dose of chondroitin sulfate was able to provide the same pain relief as a 200-mg dose of Celebrex (celecoxib).

Chondroitin is commonly co-formulated with glucosamine. Reputable brands include:

  • Kirkland Signature Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Spring Valley Triple-Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin
  • Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Health
  • Nature’s Bounty Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex

Dosing

The recommendeddose of chondroitinis 400 mg taken three times a day for up to six months. While considered safe at this dose, there remains a lack of evidence regarding its long-term safety.

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Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

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Methylsulfonylmethane, also known as MSM, is believed by some to support thehealth of ligaments (the fibrous connective tissues thathold a joint together). Research suggests that it may also help reduce joint inflammation and pain.

While glucosamine and chondroitin have scant clinical research to support their use, MSM has even less. People who endorse the product believe that the sulfur contained in MSM helps ligaments maintain flexibility and strength.

MSM is available as an individual supplement but is more commonly found in a supplement containing glucosamine, chondroitin, or both.

Reputable certified brands include:

  • GNC Triple Strength
  • The Vitamin Shoppe Joint Solution
  • Nature's Bounty Extra-Strength Complex
  • Nutramax Cosamin DS
  • Schiff Move-Free Advanced Triple Strength
  • Schiff Glucosamine Plus MSM
  • Healthy Joints System Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM
  • Bluebonnet Vegetarian Glucosamine MSM
  • Solgar Glucosamine MSM

Dosing

MSM is typically prescribed at a 500-mg dose taken two to three times daily for up to six months.

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Other Joint Supplements

Several other compounds show promise for easing arthritis pain. Additional joint supplements include:

  • Avocado soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)
  • Borage oil
  • Boswellia serrata
  • Cat's Claw
  • Dimethyl sulfoxide (DSMO)
  • Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids
  • S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
  • Turmeric
  • Vitamin D

However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes there is a lack of evidence to determine if any nutritional supplements effectively treat osteoarthritis. More research is needed to confirm whether or not these nutritional supplements are effective for preventing or treating joint pain.

A Word From Verywell

It is important to remember that the independent certification of a joint supplement is a stamp of approval of its quality, but it does not mean that it actually works.

Even so, quality matters. To ensure safety and purity, the Arthritis Foundationrecommends buying supplements from reputable national brands and being wary of low-cost alternatives that claim to have the same ingredients ata fraction of the price.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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16 Sources

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Consumer Reports. The facts about joint supplements: Of the 16 products we tested, seven didn't contain all that they claimed.

  2. Salazar J, Bello L, Chávez M, Añez R, Rojas J, Bermúdez V. Glucosamine for osteoarthritis: biological effects, clinical efficacy, and safety on glucose metabolism.Arthritis. 2014;2014:1-13. doi:10.1155/2014/432463

  3. Jerosch J. Effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on cartilage metabolism in OA: outlook on other nutrient partners especially omega-3 fatty acids.Int J Rheumatol. 2011;2011:969012. doi:10.1155/2011/969012

  4. Scholtissen S, Bruyère O, Neuprez A, et al. Glucosamine sulphate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: cost-effectiveness comparison with paracetamol. Int J Clin Pract. 2010;64(6):756-62. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02362.x

  5. Reginster JY, Neuprez A, Lecart MP, Sarlet N, Bruyere O. Role of glucosamine in the treatment for osteoarthritis.Rheumatol Int. 2012;32(10):2959-67.doi:10.1007/s00296-012-2416-2

  6. Jung YK, Park HR, Cho HJ, et al. Degrading products of chondroitin sulfate can induce hypertrophy-like changes and MMP-13/ADAMTS5 production in chondrocytes. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):15846. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52358-4

  7. Vasiliadis HS, Tsikopoulos K. Glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis.World J Orthop. 2017;8(1):1-11. doi:10.5312/wjo.v8.i1.1

  8. Reginster JY, Dudler J, Blicharski T, Pavelka K. Pharmaceutical-grade Chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: the ChONdroitin versus CElecoxib versus Placebo Trial (CONCEPT). Ann Rheum Dis. 2017;76(9):1537-1543. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210860

  9. Singh JA, Noorbaloochi S, MacDonald R, Maxwell LJ. Chondroitin for osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database System Rev. 2015;1:CD005614. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005614.pub2

  10. Butawan M, Benjamin RL, Bloomer RJ. Methylsulfonylmethane: applications and safety of a novel dietary supplement. Nutrients. 2017;9(3) doi:10.3390/nu9030290

  11. Debbi EM, Agar G, Fichman G, et al. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study.BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11(1):50. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-50

  12. NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Osteoarthritis: In depth.

  13. Arthritis Foundation. Supplements and herb guide for arthritis symptoms.

  14. Kostoglou-Athanassiou I, Athanassiou P, Lyraki A, Raftakis I, Antoniadis C. Vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2012;3(6):181–7. doi:10.1177/2042018812471070

  15. Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin D deficiency.

  16. Castrogiovanni P, Trovato FM, Loreto C, Nsir H, Szychlinska MA, Musumeci G.Nutraceutical supplements in the management and prevention of osteoarthritis.Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(12):2042. doi:10.3390/ijms17122042

Top Joint Supplements for Arthritis (4)

By Jonathan Cluett, MD
Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men's and women's national soccer teams.

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FAQs

What is the best joint supplement for arthritis? ›

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most commonly used supplements for arthritis. They're components of cartilage—the substance that cushions the joints.

What supplements can I take to lubricate my joints? ›

Glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3, and green tea are just a few of them. Glucosamine has been touted as an anti-inflammatory that helps keep the cartilage in joints healthy.

What are the top 10 joint supplements? ›

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • GNC Triple Strength.
  • The Vitamin Shoppe Joint Solution.
  • Nature's Bounty Extra-Strength Complex.
  • Nutramax Cosamin DS.
  • Schiff Move-Free Advanced Triple Strength.
  • Schiff Glucosamine Plus MSM.
  • Healthy Joints System Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM.
  • Bluebonnet Vegetarian Glucosamine MSM.
Aug 28, 2022

Is there a vitamin that helps with joint pain? ›

Vitamin D. Scientists who study rheumatoid arthritis have found that people who have the condition often lack vitamin D. Low levels of this essential nutrient may lead to chronic pain. When you take it as a supplement, it could help your arthritis treatment work better.

Is there a joint supplement that really works? ›

Glucosamine sulfate might provide some pain relief for people with osteoarthritis. The supplement appears to be safe and might be a helpful option for people who can't take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While study results are mixed, glucosamine sulfate might be worth a try.

What do old people take for arthritis? ›

Tylenol 325 mg—the most common over-the-counter dose—has antipyretic properties, but not analgesic [properties]. Tylenol arthritis or regular Tylenol at 650 mg or more provides an adequate analgesic effect.

What vitamin deficiency causes arthritis? ›

Reduced vitamin D intake has been linked to increased susceptibility to the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with disease activity in patients with RA.

What is the best thing for joint pain? ›

Ice: Apply ice to your joints to relieve pain and swelling. Ice the joint for 15 minutes several times a day. Heat: After a day or so, try a heating pad to address any muscle spasms around the joint. Rest: Rest the joint during the first day and avoid any activities that cause you pain.

How do you stop arthritis from progressing? ›

Slowing Osteoarthritis Progression
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. ...
  2. Control Blood Sugar. ...
  3. Get Physical. ...
  4. Protect Joints. ...
  5. Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.

How can I naturally lubricate my joints? ›

Consuming healthy fats can increase joint health and lubrication. Foods high in healthy fats include salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods will assist in joint lubrication.

How can I reduce inflammation in my joints? ›

Keep a healthy weight. Exercise regularly. Don't smoke. Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Which is best glucosamine or chondroitin? ›

Some find chondroitin to be superior, others favor glucosamine, while still others prefer a combination of the two. “Evidence would favor the two,” D'Adamo says. “They're typically bundled that way when you buy them.” The ideal form of glucosamine has also caused dissent in the research community.

How can I naturally lubricate my joints? ›

Consuming healthy fats can increase joint health and lubrication. Foods high in healthy fats include salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods will assist in joint lubrication.

What vitamin deficiency causes arthritis? ›

Reduced vitamin D intake has been linked to increased susceptibility to the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and vitamin D deficiency has been found to be associated with disease activity in patients with RA.

How do I reduce inflammation in my joints? ›

Keep a healthy weight. Exercise regularly. Don't smoke. Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids.

How do you stop arthritis from progressing? ›

Slowing Osteoarthritis Progression
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. ...
  2. Control Blood Sugar. ...
  3. Get Physical. ...
  4. Protect Joints. ...
  5. Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.

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