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Best Supplements for Arthritis, Says Dietitian

While there is no cure for arthritis, some supplements are amazing for creating a more comfortable life.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Are your joints achy, painful, or stiff? Are you one of the 58.5 million Americans who suffers from arthritis? If so, you might be interested in a supplement for arthritis.

Arthritis is a general term that describes more than 100 different joint conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus. About 25% of the population has arthritis, making it one of the most common public health conditions. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it's a progressive disease where the cartilage matrix between joints degrades. While there is no cure, there are diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors that can help slow its progression.

Here are some of the best supplements that you should consider if you have arthritis. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine supplements

Glucosamine is technically a type of sugar, but it also serves as a precursor for the body to make proteins and lipids that play a role in joint health. It's a building block for our tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the fluid around the joints. In the body, it acts as a lubricant to help cushion and absorb shock around our joints, helping to slow the wearing away of cartilage. Additionally, glucosamine can help reduce swelling from active use and support a healthy range of motion.

In a large review article published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, glucosamine was found to help alleviate joint stiffness among study participants who suffered from osteoarthritis. A similar review study reported in JAMA also concluded that preparations of glucosamine (as well as chondroitin) are considered effective, but the quality of the supplement matters.

When choosing a glucosamine supplement, look for one that adheres to third-party standards and undergoes testing to ensure potency and efficacy like NOW Foods 1000 Glucosamine Veg Caps, a vegetarian supplement that provide 1,000 milligrams per capsule. Another option is Puritan's Pride Glucosamine Hydrochloride which provides 650 milligrams of glucosamine per capsule.

Chondroitin

Chondroitin supplements

Chondroitin is a natural substance located in the connective tissues of humans and other animals. As a supplement, evidence suggests that chondroitin helps alleviate symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.

When buying a supplement, look for chondroitin sulfate. A 2019 Advances in Therapy study found that some chondroitin sulfate supplements can activate the immune system in a way that helps reduce inflammation around joints.

While research is still ongoing, it's best to take a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin daily. A good rule of thumb is to look for products providing a total daily dose of at least 1,000 milligrams of glucosamine and chondroitin.

A few of my favorite glucosamine and chondroitin supplements include Life Extension Glucosamine/Chondroitin which provides 544 milligrams of glucosamine and 500 milligrams of chondroitin.

Collagen

collagen supplements
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A review study published in International Orthopaedics reported that collagen supplements helped improve joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. While research is ongoing to determine the best type of collagen and the dosage, two options I like include Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. This powder provides 20 grams of collagen per serving. Another option is NOW Foods Collagen Peptides Powder which provides 10 grams of collagen per serving.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

omega 3 fatty acids
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Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, fish oil, walnuts, and some other plant-based foods are effective to help tamp down inflammation. Arthritis causes inflammation around your joints, which triggers pain and swelling. There are three main omega-3-fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

I like marine-based omega-3s like Life Extension EPA/DHA Fish Oil with 1,250 milligrams EPA + DHA per serving or Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, which provides 1,280 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA.

READ MORE6 Supplements That Really Do Boost Immunity.

Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD
Julie Upton is an award-winning registered dietitian and communications specialist who has written thousands of articles for national media outlets, including The New York Times, US News & World Report, and USA Today. Read more