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, Wobenzym, 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 rheumatoid 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.

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10 Comments

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Carol17181
September 19, 2018

I'm very pleased to see all these people have been helped by using one product or another, but... they don't say what type arthritis they have, so its irrelevant to the reader as to what might work for them.. PLEASE try to be more clear in describing what you're treating. Thanks.

eve17179
September 19, 2018

what about bromelain?

ConsumerLab.com
September 19, 2018

Hi Eve - As noted in the answer above, an enzyme supplement containing a combination of bromelain and other enzymes (Wobenzym) was found to be helpful for knee osteoarthritis. You can find more information about this in our Digestive Enzyme Supplements Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/digestive_enzyme_supplements/digestive-enzymes/#inflammation

Judy17177
September 19, 2018

Boswellia has done wonders for me! I rarely have knee pain anymore. I was getting injections in my knee periodically for the pain, but that's been over 3 years ago. I've taken Solaray Boswellia for at least 2-3 years. In addition, I ride a stationary bike for 30 minute 4-5 times a week which has also helped. I'm 67.

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!

Cameron18270
August 29, 2019

My father became wheelchair bound due to arthritis in his hips. Glucosamine/Chondroitin dramatically turned things around for him. The wheel chair ended up collecting dust in the garage.

Saundra19990
May 21, 2020

Glucosamine Sulfate works very well for me. I went off it for awhile just to see if it would make a difference. In a couple months I was right back to pain everywhere. When I take it, I don't feel pain anywhere. I'm talking pain as in couldn't shift my weight to one leg while standing because it hurt too much. Glucosamine is a life saver for me!

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

Carol17864
May 22, 2019

I have never seen Boswelia marketed by itself, only combined with other ingredients in a capsule. Please comment on what product you use. Thank you.

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