Joint pain is hard to live with. Arthritis pain can be especially debilitating. The pain or discomfort, and reduced range of motion negatively impact quality of life. In this post we shall look at natural supplements for joint health and arthritis pain that have been shown in clinical studies to work.
What Is Arthritis Pain?
Arthritis pain is a group of painful and degenerative conditions marked by degeneration of the joints that cause stiffness and pain.
There are more than 100 forms of arthritis pain, all of which cause pain in different ways. The more common ones include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), gout, psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and fibromyalgia. Of these, Osteoarthritis is the most common, according to WebMD.
Natural Herbs and Supplements Joint and Arthritis Pain
Among patients who seek natural treatments the most are those who have musculoskeletal conditions, including joint pain and arthritis. Reasons for the search alternative medicine include prohibitive cost of drugs, adverse side effects of drugs, and even resistance to current drugs.
Below we look at natural herbs and supplements for joint and arthritis pain whose efficacy is backed by science. You will find these as stand-alone products or as ingredients in joint health supplements. They are not listed in any order.
Undenatured Type II Collagen
Undenatured type ii collagen, also known as UC-II®, is a form collagen that is becoming popular for managing arthritis pain. As the name suggests, it is undenatured, meaning that it has not been processed by high heat or chemicals, therefore the active ingredients are not compromised.
Undenatured type ii collagen is derived from chicken breast cartilage, a rich source of natural collagen. Studies have shown undenatured collagen type ii to be effective in in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Turmeric is an ingredient in a variety of foods and supplements. It is associated with a number of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties that may help with arthritis pain. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to promote healthy joints. It may help reduce pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
One study involving 40 participants showed that curminoids derived from curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, to significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.
To get the therapeutic benefits of turmeric for arthritis pain, you would have to eat copious amounts of it. Also, it is not water soluble, so the body struggles to absorb it. Therefore, the best way to get it is to take a supplement.
Hyaluronan acid (HA) is a primary component in synovial fluid that lubricates the knee. Hyal-Joint®is a form of Hyaluronan acid. It may help reduce joint discomfort by lubricating joints and improving ease of movement.
Various clinical studies done in different countries have demonstrated the effectiveness of HA in alleviating knee pain. In one study involving 24 Japanese patients of an average age of 47.5 years with chronic knee pain were given 60mg HA daily or a placebo for two weeks. 13 of them received HA and the other 11 a placebo.
The HA group displayed a significant improvement in knee pain and discomfort compared with the placebo group.
Devil’s claw is not well-known in the USA, at least not at the time publishing this post. But is has been widely used in Europe for arthritis pain as well as other conditions. It is also known by other equally weird names such as wood spider and grapple plant. Its botanical name is a mouthful as well, Harpagophytum procumbens.
Devil’s claw is native to Southern Africa. Its tuberous roots are used in folk medicine to reduce pain. Because of this, and its anti-inflammatory properties, it may be beneficial in managing arthritis pain.
Besides arthritis pain (such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia) devil’s claw is used for the management of a number of other health conditions including back pain, atherosclerosis, chest pain, gastrointestinal (GI) upset and migraine headaches.
Along with chondroitin (below) glucosamine perhaps the most well-known supplement for joint health. Many supplements for joint and arthritis pain contain both glucosamine and chondroitin together. Glucosamine is a natural compound found in healthy cartilage, particularly in the fluid around the joints.
As a supplement glucosamine comes in two forms, hydrochloride and sulfate. Of the two, sulfate is thought to be more effective for osteoarthritis, though this may just be that it’s the more researched form.
When taken orally, glucosamine in the form of glucosamine sulfate is readily absorbed by the body and can be traced in to cartilage as soon as four hours after consumption, meaning it’s relatively fast-acting.
Studies have shown that glucosamine may be beneficial in reducing arthritis pain and may be especially helpful for osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin, usually in the form of chondroitin sulfate, is another well-known supplement for joint health and arthritis pan. It usually comes together with glucosamine sulfate (above). Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a major component of cartilage.
Studies on the efficacy of chondroitin alone were hard to come by, as most studies are on chondroitin in combination with glucosamine.
Not trying to be smart here but, as the name suggests, Indian frankincense is an Indian frankincense. It is an herbal extract from the Boswellia serrata tree. It is also known as Boswellia or olibanum.
Resin from the tree has been used for centuries in Indian traditional medicine, Ayurveda, and as well as African folk medicine. It is also used as incense in religious and cultural ceremonies.
Indian frankincense is used as a natural treatment or remedy for arthritis pain and joint pain generally. Among conditions it is used for include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendonitis. Indian frankincense may also help prevent cartilage damage.
The resin in Indian frankincense has strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This suggests a two-pronged effect on arthritis pain, that is, reduction of inflammation and reduction of pain.
Clinical trials of resin from Indian frankincense have shown to improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. A 2008 study in India found Indian frankincense/Boswellia to be safe and effective natural treatment for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Considered a superfood, ginger has been used as food and medicine for centuries. It is commonly used for various types of stomach issues including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, morning sickness, and motion sickness. Its anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful for arthritis pain.
Ginger may reduce muscle pain as well as join pain. Its anti-inflammatory effects may help with osteoarthritis.
A 2012 vitro study showed that a specialized ginger extract Eurovita Extract 77 reduced inflammatory reactions in RA synovial cells as effectively as steroids. A 2010 study showed ginger as effective for reduction of muscle pain resulting from exercise-induced injury.
Ginger extracts are available as stand-alone supplements and as ingredients in supplements for joint health and other issues.
Finding the Right Supplement for Joint and Arthritis Pain
The first thing when seeking joint and arthritis pain supplements is to know the condition you have. This is because different herbs or supplements work for different conditions, although some may support generalized joint pain and health.
Next, you need to find quality joint health supplements as they are not all created equal. We always recommend working with a healthcare professional especially if you are on medication, nursing, or pregnant.
* None of the statements on this page have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have known health condition or on medications.