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These Top 5 Supplements Can Help Relieve Joint Discomfort Better than Glucosamine

We have identified the key factors to look for in a top-notch joint support supplement and how you can spot the scams.

If you are over 40 and experiencing painful stiffness and irritation in your joints, the underlying cause may be something more than rest, ice, and a compression sleeve can handle. Bone-on-bone friction may be to blame.

Inside a healthy joint, cartilage coats the surfaces of the bones and cushions them against impact, allowing the joint to smoothly flex and bear weight without any contact between the bones themselves. However, as we grow older, damage from old sports injuries can combine with normal wear and tear to slowly degrade this protective tissue and eventually cause the bones to grind against each other. In addition to the pain and irritation this bone-on-bone friction produces, it can prompt an excessive inflammatory response, resulting in swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility.

However, a balanced diet, low-impact exercise, and a well-rounded supplement can help promote the optimal environment for natural cartilage restoration, allowing you to safely strengthen your joints and return to your active, busy lifestyle.

How Can You Tell a Good Joint Supplement from a Bad One?

Recent studies have indicated that more than 70% of people over age 50 suffer from joint pain. In addition, more than half of these individuals reduce their daily physical activity due to stiffness and discomfort. Unfortunately, this pattern of avoidance can negatively impact long-term strength and mobility. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that public demand for joint support supplements is growing rapidly.

And yet, not all supplements are created equal. The fast-growing market for joint health products has lured many companies to release ineffective supplements containing filler ingredients with little or no proof of efficacy. That's why our staff decided to review all the most popular joint support formulas today and evaluate them for safety and effectiveness. We will show you what to look for, what to avoid, and which products we determined to be the best.

In our analysis, we noticed a number of companies making exaggerated claims about the level of relief their products can provide, not all of which are likely. What kind of results can you realistically expect from a joint supplement?

When Will You See Results?

The ingredients in most joint health products can provide some noticeable relief within 30 days. However, it may take additional time to provide your body with the nutrients necessary to naturally revitalize damaged cartilage and strengthen joints.

Research suggests that 3 months of daily use helps significantly increase the likelihood of lasting improvement. Here is a reasonable timeline to expect:

Month 1: You may experience less joint discomfort during your daily routine at work and while performing household tasks.

Month 2: You may feel your joints growing stronger and more stable with a greater range of motion, allowing you to keep moving comfortably.

Month 3: Peak cartilage support is reached. With improved mobility and stamina, you may notice a newfound confidence in your joints that allows you to once again engage in the sports and activities you love.

Tip: For best results, focus on consistency. Adding an effective joint supplement to your daily routine for at least 3 months promotes exponential improvement, as each dose builds on the benefits of the last.

So, what characteristics distinguish top-tier joint products from the rest of the pack?

The 5 Must-Have Ingredients for a Good Joint Supplement

Type II Collagen

Type II collagen naturally occurs in the body as a major building block of joint cartilage. As a supplement, it is available in 2 forms: undenatured and hydrolyzed. However, they are not the same. Hydrolyzed collagen is processed with a high degree of heat, acid, and enzymes, which severely reduces its therapeutic benefits. Look for supplements with undenatured collagen, which is minimally processed to provide a high concentration of peptides for cartilage restoration.

Boswellia Serrata

Commonly known as frankincense, boswellia serrata is a resin used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to relieve joint stiffness and discomfort. Studies indicate that the boswellic acid compounds contained within this herbal extract are responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because potency can vary widely, it is important to look for boswellia serrata standardized to at least 60% boswellic acids.

MSM

Methylsulfonylmethane, abbreviated as MSM, is an organic compound found in fresh fruits and vegetables that provides a natural source of sulfur, which is an essential structural component of joint cartilage. Frequently paired with glucosamine in clinical studies, it has recently been determined that much of the joint improvement previously attributed to glucosamine is actually provided by MSM.

Curcumin

Curcumin is a polyphenol which gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color. Curcumin has been shown to suppress the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines, immune cells that regulate the body's inflammatory response to cartilage damage and bone-on-bone friction. However, be aware that curcumin is poorly absorbed during digestion if taken alone. It must be paired with piperine for maximum bioavailability.

Piperine

Piperine is an alkaloid compound responsible for black pepper's mild heat. Some studies have shown it can relieve joint discomfort in its own right. However, its primary purpose for any joint supplement in capsule form should be to improve the absorption of curcumin during the digestive process. Without piperine, the majority of a supplement's curcumin content is filtered out by the liver and excreted in urine.

Perhaps even more important, there are certain red flags to be wary of when evaluating a joint supplement.

Warning Signs of Potential Scams

Lack of Clinical Studies

Be wary of companies that cite the clinical efficacy of individual ingredients within a product rather than the effectiveness of the product as a whole. The highest indicator of quality in a supplement is the commission of a placebo-controlled clinical study for safety and effectiveness by an independent third party. You expect the same high standard of research and testing before trusting a medication, so why wouldn't you do the same before trusting a supplement?

Unproven Ingredients

There are very few natural ingredients for joint support that are both potent and safe for consumption. Other herbs and compounds billed as anti-inflammatory have little clinical evidence to back their effectiveness. Watch out for supplements that include an extensive list of ingredients to create the illusion of comprehensive support. More is not necessarily better when it comes to your health. Some of the supplements we reviewed contained more than 10 unique ingredients!

Top 5 Joint Supplements of 2024

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the top joint health products available today, which provides a summary of our research and analysis:

Below, we break down our rankings and feature detailed reviews of the 5 best joint supplements we analyzed, beginning with our top pick.

by Nutreance

Our Rating

Overall Grade

Our Rating

Clinically tested against placebo by independent third party

4 out of 5 study participants reported reduced abdominal bloating within 2 weeks*

Contains all 5 must-have ingredients

No fillers or artificial additives

Non-GMO and gluten-free

Made in the USA

Cons

Available online in Pakistan, but not currently sold in retail stores

The Bottom Line

We gave RediMove by Nutreance our #1 ranking because it is the only joint supplement that meets every one of our strict criteria.

RediMove was clinically tested for safety and effectiveness over the course of 30 days in a placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted by Princeton Consumer Research. The study showed that people taking RediMove experienced significant joint pain relief and improved mobility compared with placebo, allowing participants to resume activities they previously avoided. (Click here for the complete study results).

RediMove contains all 5 of the ingredients we consider essential for optimal joint support, including undenatured type II collagen, boswellia serrata standardized to 65% boswellic acids, MSM, turmeric with a curcumin concentration of 95%, and piperine. It is also produced in a GMP-certified laboratory in New York.

It is available on Amazon.com, but we found significantly better discounts and shipping options to Pakistan on Nutreance's website. The company also offers other products to help protect your body and mind as you age, including a bone support supplement and a natural cognitive enhancer.

Overall, RediMove is our top pick for joint health in 2024.

Click here to visit the product website.

* Results may vary and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using this product. Please visit product website for more information.

Our Rating

Overall Grade

Our Rating

Contains 4 out of 5 must-have ingredients

No artificial additives

Non-GMO and gluten-free

Made in the USA

Cons

No clinical study

Does not contain N-acetyl cysteine

Milk thistle only standardized to 58% silymarin

The Bottom Line

ArthroSoothe by Designs for Health contains 4 of the primary ingredients that we look for in an effective joint support supplement, including type II collagen, boswellia serrata, MSM, and turmeric standardized to 95% pure curcumin.

Despite these high-quality components, the formula does not include any piperine for optimal absorption of curcumin. Since studies have shown that piperine can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 30 times, the omission of this key absorption factor significantly limits the anti-inflammatory effects of the turmeric in ArthroSoothe.

While piperine was excluded, Designs for Health made several questionable inclusions, diluting an otherwise potent core formula. The product contains glucosamine, as well as resveratrol and green-lipped mussel. And yet, there is little evidence supporting the efficacy of these ingredients for joint health.

Perhaps most importantly, it has not been evaluated for safety and effectiveness in a placebo-controlled clinical study, which could justify the inclusion of some ingredients with less certain efficacy.

Click here to visit the product website.

* Results may vary and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using this product. Please visit product website for more information.

Our Rating

Overall Grade

Our Rating

Contains 4 out of 5 must-have ingredients

No fillers or artificial additives

Non-GMO and gluten-free

Made in the USA

Cons

No clinical study

Does not contain type II collagen, MSM, or piperine

Contains turmeric with a low concentration of curcumin

The Bottom Line

SynovX Relief by Xymogen includes 2 essential ingredients for relief from joint stiffness and discomfort, curcumin (provided by turmeric) and boswellia serrata.

The formula is free from fillers and additives and is made in the USA.

SynovX Relief does not contain type II collagen or MSM, which are the basic building blocks of healthy cartilage. It also does not contain piperine, which is critical for maximum curcumin absorption in capsule-based supplements. However, since this supplement is provided in softgel form, it ensures proper bioavailability of curcumin by delivering its ingredients via a sesame seed oil base.

While the product provides a significant amount of turmeric, as each capsule contains 500 mg of the proprietary blend, the turmeric that Xymogen included in the formula contains a relatively low concentration of curcumin at only 26.6%. As a result, it may be necessary to take several capsules to achieve the same level of relief as other joint supplements. The size of this effective dose is not known, as they have not tested the product for efficacy in a clinical study.

Click here to visit the product website.

* Results may vary and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using this product. Please visit product website for more information.

Our Rating

Overall Grade

Our Rating

Contains type II collagen

No artificial additives

Non-GMO and gluten-free

Made in the USA

Cons

No clinical study

Does not contain choline, dandelion, or artichoke

The Bottom Line

OsteoVantiv by Metagenics features undenatured type II collagen, the most essential ingredient for effective cartilage restoration, plus 2 other compounds for joint support.

The formula prominently contains Tetrahydro Iso-Alpha Acids (THIAA), an extract derived from hops. A few studies have indicated that these compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory properties for joint relief. However, the most prominent study backing the ingredient was not placebo-controlled and had a small sample size of just 17 participants.

The product also contains magnesium oxide, which has been shown to relieve achy joints and muscle pains for people with a magnesium deficiency. However, most modern diets contain sufficient magnesium, and there is little evidence that supplements can provide additional improvement.

The product does not contain boswellia serrata, MSM, curcumin, or piperine, which provide anti-inflammatory benefits and promote the optimal environment for cartilage rejuvenation. More importantly, the product as a whole has not been tested by an independent, third-party clinical study.

Click here to visit the product website.

* Results may vary and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using this product. Please visit product website for more information.

Our Rating

Overall Grade

Our Rating

Contains curcumin

No fillers or artificial additives

Non-GMO and gluten-free

Made in the USA

Cons

No clinical study

Does not contain 4 out of 5 must-have ingredients

Does not address cartilage restoration

The Bottom Line

Traumeric by Ortho Molecular Products contains a broad-spectrum turmeric matrix, which provides curcumin along with other beneficial compounds naturally present in turmeric root. This complex is paired with quercetin, rutin and bromelain to help promote a healthy inflammatory response. Unfortunately, piperine is not included in the formula, limiting the absorption of its curcumin content.

While the product offers a fairly compelling anti-inflammatory approach to joint discomfort, it fails to present the body with the ingredients necessary to revitalize damaged cartilage. Without type II collagen and MSM, the product cannot provide the raw material necessary to rebuild this joint-protective tissue. For this reason, Traumeric might be best paired with another supplement to collectively provide a two-factor approach that addresses both joint stiffness and structural support.

A clinical study would go a long way to validate the formula's efficacy, but none have been conducted yet for this product.

Click here to visit the product website.

* Results may vary and do not necessarily reflect typical results of using this product. Please visit product website for more information.

References

  1. Havelin J, King T. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2018 Dec;16(6):763-771. doi: 10.1007/s11914-018-0493-1. PMID: 30370434; PMCID: PMC6554716.
  2. Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lau FC, Molina JP, Pakdaman MN, Shamie AN, Udani JK. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Oct 24;10(1):48. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-48. PMID: 24153020; PMCID: PMC4015808.
  3. Yu G, Xiang W, Zhang T, Zeng L, Yang K, Li J. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020 Jul 17;20(1):225. doi: 10.1186/s12906-020-02985-6. PMID: 32680575; PMCID: PMC7368679.
  4. Butawan M, Benjamin RL, Bloomer RJ. Nutrients. 2017 Mar 16;9(3):290. doi: 10.3390/nu9030290. PMID: 28300758; PMCID: PMC5372953.
  5. Shep D, Khanwelkar C, Gade P, Karad S. Trials. 2019 Apr 11;20(1):214. doi: 10.1186/s13063-019-3327-2. PMID: 30975196; PMCID: PMC6460672.
  6. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450. PMID: 9619120.

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