Chondroitin and glucosamine are two natural substances in cartilage, which tend to decrease around the joints as you age. Supplements containing these components have been found to reduce pain caused by cartilage loss, as chondroitin improves function and glucosamine improves stiffness. Some people use supplements to try to help control joint pain caused by arthritis. Glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 and green tea are just a few of them.
A number of nutritional supplements have shown promise in relieving pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, SAM-e and curcumin are just a few of the natural products that researchers have studied for osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Turmeric is one of the most popular supplements for treating pain, including joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Its pain-relieving effects are attributed to a chemical compound in turmeric called curcumin.
Curcumin appears to have anti-inflammatory effects. While research on turmeric for joint pain is limited, an analysis of the studies found that it improves joint pain symptoms more than a placebo and may be comparable to ibuprofen. Learn more about the benefits of turmeric and curcumin. Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
Glucosamine is a natural component of cartilage, a substance that prevents bones from rubbing against each other and causing pain and inflammation. It may also help prevent the cartilage degradation that can occur with arthritis. Many supplements intended to treat joint pain contain glucosamine, which is one of the best-studied supplements for osteoarthritis. However, despite this research, there are still some questions about how well it works.
When taken for a long period of time, glucosamine sulfate can also help slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Studies suggest that it slows down the narrowing of the joint space, a marker of the worsening of the condition, when taken for up to three years. Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a basic component of cartilage. It can also help prevent cartilage degradation due to osteoarthritis.
Many clinical studies have found that chondroitin can reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis. About 53 percent of people who take chondroitin have a 20 percent or more improvement in knee pain. Chondroitin sulfate can also slow the progression of osteoarthritis when taken long-term. Studies show that it slows down the narrowing of the joint space when taken for up to 2 years.
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a supplement commonly used to help with symptoms of depression and osteoarthritis. The liver naturally produces SAMe from an amino acid called methionine. It has several functions, including helping the production and repair of cartilage. When taken as a supplement, SAMe can help with symptoms of joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
It may be as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex). In a 2004 study, celecoxib improved symptoms more than SAMe after one month of treatment. However, in the second month, the treatments were comparable. Boswellia, also known as Indian incense, is commonly used for pain caused by arthritis.
The chemicals in this extract called boswellia acids have anti-inflammatory effects. Clinical studies have shown that boswellia extracts improve pain symptoms more than a placebo in people with osteoarthritis. A number of vitamins have been studied for their effects on arthritis, including antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and vitamins D and K. The number one supplement I recommend for joint health and overall musculoskeletal health is vitamin D3.
It's helpful for people to keep track of what they eat, as many people discover which foods are most related to joint pain, such as gluten, red meat, trans fats and highly processed foods. Learn what supplements and vitamins can help with arthritis symptoms and what risks some may pose. Some studies have shown no benefit with glucosamine, while others have demonstrated a reduction in joint pain, especially the glucosamine sulfate salt. However, most of my patients over 50 years of age have a low vitamin D level (in blood tests with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test).
Glucosamine has demonstrated some protective benefit for knee arthritis in up to 70% of people in divided doses of 1000 to 1500 mg per day. Several studies have demonstrated the benefit of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, since they show less pain and swelling and narrowing of the joint space, at doses of 800 to 1200 mg per day. An analysis of clinical research shows that taking fish oil supplements reduces symptoms such as joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil), are often the first choice for relieving joint pain.
There is also evidence that women who undergo total joint arthroplasty who receive postmenopausal estrogen do better than those who do not receive hormone therapy. .