In this article, we’re going to look at the best joint supplements you can use today to reduce pain, protect joint health, and improve flexibility. We’ll explain who joint supplements are designed for, and what makes a great joint health stack.
Joint pain is a common problem today. It is also a very serious problem – a worryingly large proportion of people report chronic joint pain as a significant and problem in their life. Many say that joint pain is a major hindrance on their ability to enjoy life, and some studies have suggested that it is a major cause of depression (to say nothing of decreased mobility and obesity).
Joint supplements represent a readily available and simple solution to the ubiquitous problem of joint pain and poor mobility.
High-quality, professionally-designed joint supplements can make a dramatic difference to the health of your joints. The best joint supplements on the market today work to attack joint pain and poor flexibility in several different ways at the same time. This means they are designed to suit all needs, regardless of the cause or severity of your joint issues.
Let’s take a look at who joint supplements are designed for exactly. Then we will go through the 11 most effective supplements for joint health and flexibility. At the end, we’ll give you our top rated joint supplement right now. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments at the end of the article.
Who uses joint supplements?
Who uses joint supplements?
It might be tempting to think of joint supplements as something that only people suffering with severe joint pain, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis might need to use. Good quality joint supplements can indeed help reduce joint pain and improve the symptoms of arthritis. But this isn’t all joint supplements can do!
The best joint supplements can preemptively protect and preserve your joints from repetitive strain or impact damage. They can also promote flexibility and mobility.
This means that the highest quality joint supplements stand to benefit an extremely wide range of people.
Joint supplements can and should be used by a wide variety of people. Here is a list of some of the types of people who would benefit most from using joint supplements:
- People with chronic joint pain
- People recovering from injury
- MMA fighters
- Yoga practitioners
- Office workers (who spend all day sat down, typing and slouching)
- Manual laborers (who spend all day stood up, carrying things, and bending down)
As you can see, this is an extremely broad group of people. In fact, that covers just about everyone!
How do joint supplements work?
Obviously, different joint health supplements work in different ways.
If you’re talking about pre-made joint health and flexibility stacks, then these are likely to work in numerous different ways at the same time. On the other hand, if you’re going to use individual substances to try to reduce joint pain or promote flexibility, then the substance you use is going to work slightly differently to a different joint supplement.
That said, most effective, proven joint supplements can be clumped into a few categories in terms of their mechanism of action.
Broadly speaking, the most potent and reliable supplements for joint health work in the following ways:
- Reducing inflammation
- Stimulating repair and regeneration of connective tissues
- Restoring shock-absorbing fluids between joints
- Promoting osteoblasts (bone building cells) and suppressing osteoclasts (bone destroying cells)
- Inhibiting enzymes which destroy connective tissues
This is mainly how all joint supplements work. The exact mechanism of action will vary depending on the substance being used. But the ingredients in good joint health supplements usually fall into one of more of these categories.
Which joint supplements actually work?
Which joint supplements really work?
This is a very good question. After all, every product on the market today claims to be “the best joint supplement in the world“. Most joint stacks claim to help with joint pain or promote flexibility. But unless you’ve done your research, it can be hard to tell which ones work and which don’t.
That’s why it is so important to look at the ingredients in each stack and evaluate their efficacy based on the available clinical evidence.
To help you on your way, we’ve listed the most effective joint supplements with the most robust scientific backing. These are the top joint supplements you can buy, and they’re the ingredients we look for in every stack.
The 11 best supplements for joint pain, flexibility, and mobility:
- Boswellia serrata
Curcumin is a compound found naturally in turmeric; it is actually the reason why turmeric is currently so popular as a health supplement. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory. This is partly what makes it such a good supplement for reducing inflammation-related joint pain. But it isn’t the main reason curcumin is good for joints. Curcumin inhibits Cyclooxygenase (also known as COX-2); an enzyme that produces pro-inflammatory messengers called prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are linked with chronic joint pain. By inhibiting them, curcumin can soothe achy, stiff, painful joints. Curcumin also has some pretty powerful antioxidant power, meaning it protects your joints from oxidative stress and free radical damage.
Perhaps more interestingly, Curcumin has been found to reduce advanced glycation end products. These are proteins which become glycated when exposed to proteins; they are a distinct marker of ageing and they are implicated in many degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Studies have found that advanced glycation end products are more prominent in the joints of people with some forms of arthritis and those suffering from chronic joint pain.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar. It is a vital structural component of tissues integral to joint health and normal joint functioning. For instance, glucosamine is a primary component of your synovial fluid; the fluid which surrounds, protects, and cushions your joints. Increasing glucosamine availability promotes the production of this synovial fluid, which in turn improves your joints’ ability to absorb impacts.
Glucosamine is also a key component of proteins which form connective tissues like ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. On top of that, studies have found that glucosamine supplementation supports chondrocyte cells, which repair and regenerate your cartilage “from within”. All of this makes glucosamine an extremely important, effective and reliable joint supplement.
Chondroitin is easily one of the best joint supplements in existence. This complex molecule is “woven” throughout the extracellular lattice of your cartilage. Here chondroitin acts as a kind of scaffolding; with a strong negative charge, chondroitin attracts and binds to water molecules, hydrating and bolstering your cartilage, helping it to absorb shocks and impacts.
Chondroitin also – as the name suggests – promotes chondrocyte cells which are responsible for repairing and regenerating your cartilage. In our opinion, this is why every good joint supplement needs to provide some chondroitin; it promotes joint health directly, and promotes healing on a cellular level.
MSM, or Methylsulfonylmethane, is another vital ingredient in any good joint supplement. MSM is a basic structural component of both glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as cartilage and collagen. As such, you might think of MSM as the basic building block of all your connective tissues!
Studies have found that MSM supplementation greatly improves joint mobility, protects joint health, and helps reduce chronic, injury-related joint pain. It seems like the main driver of these effects is the fact that MSM slows down the gradual erosion of cartilage that comes from repeated impacts or repetitive strain. MSM supplementation may be able to maintain rapid cartilage and collagen regeneration, preventing the kind of joint pain that comes when these tissues are degraded.
EPA, DHA and ALA are the three main omega 3 fatty acids; the ones important for human health. Omega 3s are inherently anti-inflammatory, and powerfully so. Consuming these omega 3s will signifciantly reduce systemic inflammation, including inflammation of the joints. EPA and ALA will also act to “lubricate” the joints, improving flexibility and mobility while simultaneously easing joint pain caused by inflammation.
Most people consume large quantities of omega 6 and 9 fatty acids every single day. These fatty acids raise inflammation throughout the body, including the joints. While you can consume plenty of omega 3s from food, almost nobody consumes optimal amounts. If you struggle with joint pain and flexibility, introducing some omega 3s to your supplement regimen might be a good idea.
8. Boswellia serrata
Boswellia serrata is a top joint supplement, and in our opinion it should be in every single joint health stack on sale today.
This simple desert tree produces a gum resin rich in boswellic acids (as you might have guessed from the name, Boswellia serrrata is the only source of boswellic acids). One boswellic acid, AKBA (3-O-acetyl-11 keto-ß-boswellic acid) is particularly effective for promoting joint health. AKBA inhibits the enzyme 5-LOX which slowly erodes your cartilage. The effect is not immediately noticeable, but over many months and years having elevated 5-LOX will eat your cartilage away and leave your joints completely unprotected, immobile, and in chronic pain.
As if that wasn’t enough, boswellic acids from Boswellia serrata also inhibit another enzyme: MMP, or matrix metalloproteinase (MMP). Like 5-LOX, this enzyme breaks down your connective tissues over time. Inhibiting its action will greatly reduce connective tissue erosion, thereby strengthening your joints and protecting them over the long-term.
Strontium is not something you’ll find in your average joint supplement. But you will find it in the very best joint supplements on the market right now. This is because strontium is much more expensive and difficult to source than other, more common joint health supplements, and the research supporting it is relatively new.
Strontium is a trace mineral. When consumed, it finds its way to the bone where it is incorporated into bone matrix crystals. Once there, strontium does two very interesting things: it stimulates the production of osteoblasts (which build bone tissues), and inhibits the production of osteoclasts (which break bone tissues down). So the net effect of strontium supplementation is accelerated bone regeneration and vastly reduced bone breakdown. Stronger bones mean better joints, which is why strontium is one of the best joint supplements in existence!
SAMe is most often used as a natural mood enhancer, or as an alternative to pharmaceutical grade antidepressants. However, SAMe has a lot more to offer as a palliative for joint pain.
Studies have found that people who take SAMe report significantly reduced joint pain compared to control groups. More strikingly, some studies have found that SAMe is as effective – or even more effective – than NSAID painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Celebrex. While SAMe takes markedly longer to reduce joint pain than those painkillers, it has significantly fewer side effects, especially over the long-term.
Garlic is a commonly eaten food, but don’t let that fool you; garlic is also a fantastic joint supplement. The reason garlic is so good for alleviating joint pain is that it is a potent anti-inflammatory.
In simple terms, garlic limits the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines can exacerbate joint pain. What’s more, chronic inflammation from these cytokines can damage your connective tissues (such as cartilage); cytokines can therefore even cause joint pain themselves through persistent inflammation of the joints. In suppressing these cytokines, garlic reduces systemic inflammation and protects the joints from inflammation-induced damage.
Most professional joint supplements do not contain garlic. However, using a garlic supplement to promote joint health may be a good idea since eating sufficient amounts of garlic to reduce cytokine levels may prove difficult for some.
Putting it all together: Our recommended joint supplement
If you’re really serious about optimizing your joints and promoting flexibility going forward, then the most effective method is to combine several of the ingredients from the list above and to use them together, consistently, over many weeks and months.
This is a very important point – you cannot fix chronic joint pain overnight! It takes a long time to repair and regenerate connective tissues. You cannot reduce severe, impact-induced inflammation in a few days.
To properly optimize joint health, you need to be consistent and use high quality joint supplements on a regular basis over a long period of time.
Even the best joint supplement will take several weeks to really start making a difference.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that any joint supplement which claims to be able to cure joint pain or reverse joint damage in a couple of days is a scam! The top joint supplements will always make it clear that it takes week to see results, but when results come, they’re very noticeable.
So what is the best joint supplement on the market today?
Top joint supplement of 2020: Performance Lab Flex
What is the best joint supplement to take right now?
Put another way, what is the most effective supplement for joint pain and flexibility on the market today?
Without doubt, the single best joint supplement available today is Performance Lab Flex. This is the most complete joint supplement on the market; it enhances every aspect of joint health and flexibility performance.
Using Performance Lab Flex consistently for several weeks will deliver several benefits, including:
- Reduced joint pain
- Joint protection over the long-term
- Improved flexibility
- Accelerated repair of connective tissues
- Increased bone strength
- Better shock absorption
The major selling point of Performance Lab Flex for us is the value for money it offers. It uses ingredients of exceptional quality; every ingredient is an enhanced, highly-bioavailable form. In each case, Performance Lab have sourced the form that is simultaneously closest to that found in nature and the most readily absorbed by the body. The use of a CurcuWIN – which is 47x more bio-availabe than regular curcumin – is a case in point.
Performance Lab Flex is our current top rated joint supplement for a very good reason. We cannot stress enough how impressed we are with this product; it combines all of the most effective ingredients from the list above in the most bio-available, highest-quality forms in existence, and at ideal doses. We literally don’t know what else we could have asked for.
Learn more from out detailed Performance Lab Flex review.
Do any joint supplements really work?
Yes, many joint supplements work wonders for reducing joint pain and increase flexibility. However, which joint supplements will work for you depends on your particular circumstances, or more specifically, the cause of your joint pain. Some joint supplements work for some people and not for others. This is why we recommend comprehensive, multi-ingredient joint stacks. The best joint supplements attack joint pain and mobility issues from all angles while providing future joint protection.
What is the best vitamin for joint pain?
The best vitamin to take for joint pain is vitamin D. There is a very simple reason for this; Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in your bones. If you are deficient in Vitamin D – and most people have nowhere near enough vitamin D since they spend little time in the sun – then your bones will not be able to absorb and utilize calcium at an optimal rate. Supplementing with Vitamin D has been shown to increase bone density and joint health. Many top joint supplements contain Vitamin D.
How long do joint supplements take to work?
Fixing joint pain and increasing flexibility is not an overnight process. Even the best joint supplements take a fairly long time to start showing significant results. This is because it takes time to repair your connective tissues, replenish synovial fluid, and increase osteoblast numbers. Many joint supplements also work by protecting the joints, so you will not see immediate returns (but rather dividends from better protected joints). That said, a top joint supplement should deliver returns within 4-6 weeks.
What foods help repair cartilage?
Unfortunately, no foods can help repair cartilage. In most cases of serious articular cartilage damage, there is nothing you can do to naturally repair the cartilage in question. In cases of minor cartilage damage, then some supplements can significantly accelerate cartilage repair and regeneration. But these substances are not naturally found in any foods; at least not in amounts that are physiologically meaningful. To repair cartilage, you need to use the best joint supplements available. Extreme cases require medical intervention.