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Supplements for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Question:
Which supplements can help with arthritis?

Answer:
There are a number of supplements that may modestly reduce pain or improve other symptoms of osteoarthritis (inflammation caused by damage or "wearing away" of cartilage in joints) or rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease causing joint pain, stiffness and inflammation). Use the links below for more information, including dosage, about supplements for each type of arthritis:

For osteoarthritis:

SAMe has been shown to be effective as a treatment for osteoarthritis and associated joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

Ginger may modestly reduce pain and disability from osteoarthritis.

Several small studies suggest collagen hydrolysate may reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. A branded form of undenatured type II collagen, UC-II, has been found to improve knee stiffness and/or pain.

Boswellia has been associated with significant pain reduction and improved physical function in people with osteoarthritis.

There is also evidence that ashwagandha extract can reduce pain, stiffness and disability in people with knee osteoarthritis.

A branded enzyme supplement containing bromelain, trypsin and other ingredients, Wobenzyme, was found in one clinical study to reduce pain from knee osteoarthritis.

Research suggests that vitamin D supplementation does not benefit osteoarthritis of the knee in people not deficient in vitamin D, but may help those who are deficient in vitamin D, particularly when taken for more than one year.

Tart cherry juice has been found to reduce markers of inflammation, but not pain, in people with osteoarthritis.

There is limited evidence that hyaluronic acid may be helpful.

There is mixed evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA from green-lipped mussel (such as in Omega XL) may be helpful. Similarly, there is mixed evidence for white willow.

Although glucosamine and chondroitin are popular supplements for joint health and some early clinical research suggested a benefit, more recent and larger clinical studies have tended to show little or no benefit for osteoarthritis of the knee. 

The evidence is mixed for MSM, another compound commonly found in supplements for joint health.

Higher fiber intake from the diet is related to a lower risk of suffering symptoms (i.e., pain, aching, stiffness) from knee osteoarthritis, although not with improvements evident on radiographs. Risk of symptoms was 30% to 61% lower among people consuming about 22 to 27 grams of fiber daily compared to those consuming about 9 to 14 grams (Dai, BMJ 2017).

See the Encyclopedia article about Osteoarthritis for more information.

For rheumatoid arthritis:

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA from fish oil may help reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, or treat symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease, but do not appear to slow the progression of the disease.

A branded liquid form of undenatured type II collagen, Vital 3, may modestly improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis when taken along with standard treatments. 

Cinnamon may help reduce pain and the number of swollen and tender joints in people with rheumatiod arthritis who are taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

There is limited evidence vitamin E may reduce discomfort caused by rheumatoid arthritis. 

In women, low levels of vitamin D are associated with a higher risk developing rheumatoid arthritis, although it's not clear if supplementing with vitamin D in people who are not deficient has any benefit. 

Similarly, low selenium levels have been associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis — although selenium supplements don't seem to help rheumatoid arthritis once it has developed. 

See the Encyclopedia article about Rheumatoid Arthritis for more information.

For osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:

Supplements which may be helpful for both types of arthritis include curcumin, cat's claw and rose hips (a source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids).

It's also worth noting that olive oil has an anti-inflammatory effect; however, it would be difficult to consume enough olive oil to provide relief comparable to a medication such as ibuprofen.

See ConsumerLab.com's Webinar on Supplements for Joint Health for more information.

Learn more about supplements for arthritis and joint pain:



Does collagen taken as a supplement help with arthritis? I'm seeing it in products for joint health. >>

What is UC-II and does it help joints?  >>

Someone told me glucosamine might be helpful for back pain - is that true? >>

What are the benefits of tart cherry juice? >>

Is hyaluronic acid helpful for osteoarthritis? >>

What are the health benefits of olive oil? >>

Do Vital 3 collagen drops really help for joint pain? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

SUSAN16827   May 10, 2018
Black currant seed oil capsules have helped my arthritis, only 600mg a day but u can take much more!

Neville16608   March 18, 2018
Borax (boron) solved my arthritis problems. It may be difficult to source in the US. Pharmaceutical companies have done their best to ban it.

ConsumerLab.com   March 19, 2018
Hi Neville - Thank you for sharing your experience with this. There is some preliminary evidence that boron may be helpful for osteoarthritis. Please see this CL Answer https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/why-are-there-boron-nickel-and-tin-in-my-multivitamin/boron_nickel_tin/ and Encyclopedia article https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21616 for more about boron.

Kathleen15772   October 18, 2017
What strength of curcumin is safe to take with “Doctors Best” high absorption with BioPerine. I am taking 1000mg and would like to take stronger

Arch14060   May 28, 2017
MSM has worked for me.
It provides sulfur and perhaps if your blood is insufficient in this, the MSM will work until cartridge's need for sulfur is satisfied.

Elizabeth15922   October 22, 2017
MSM has been helpful for my son and me for knee pain.

David14057   May 28, 2017
It's a shame that glucosamine/chondroitment tablets gets such bad press simply because a study found it doesn't help with knee arthritis. I and 4 other people I know swear by it for our shoulder and hand arthritis. I wish someone would do a more thorough study.

lynne15778   October 18, 2017
I agree it works well for myself and my husband!

peggy14027   May 12, 2017
I have been using magnesium oil to rub on my feet at night and it has helped with the pain of a severely arthritic foot. I have also noted that I no longer get cramps in my feet at night. I'm 78 so I think that I was not absorbing the Magnesium that I had been taking in a pill. As a side note, magnesium oil is actually not an oil but water combined with Magnesium which becomes oily. The only side effect is a slight tingling in the area which goes away. The combination of magnesium oil and Boswellia has allowed me to continue my daily walks with little pain.

lyn15763   October 18, 2017
I have found the same type of benefit from direct application of magnesium oil onto the skin surface despite taking magnesium in capsule form.

peggy11592   January 11, 2017
I am so thankful for Boswellia which has reduced my joint pain significantly.

Victoria14058   May 28, 2017
Significant pain relief for me with boswelia


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This CL Answer initially posted on 5/4/2016. Last updated 8/2/2017.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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