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  • Andrew Pope, MD

Best Supplements for Arthritis

Have you been to the store or googled which supplements are best for arthritis or joint pain? The options are endless and the packaging is slick. It will make your head hurt just trying to sort out all of the different supplements. Don't worry, we have done the research for you.

In this blog, I will briefly explain and show evidence for what appears to be the most effective supplements to treat arthritis.

1) MSM - Methysulfonylmethane. This supplement has a few studies showing it works well. One study found that MSM promotes MSC (mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and chondrogenic committment. That a fancy way of saying that it can slow down the loss of cartilage that occurs in arthritis. Another study found that MSM and Boswellia improved pain for the 6 months patients took it and the effect lasted for 4 months after they stopped taking it.

2) Boswellia - In the study mentioned above, Boswellia was combined with MSM and patients were shown to have less pain, decreased use of NSAIDs, and the effects lasted even after they stopped the supplement. In a meta analysis, Boswellia and curcumin was shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis. In a randomized bouble blind placebo controlled trial, Boswellia acted synergistically to exert anti-inflammatory/anti-arthritic activity efficaciously in reducing joint pain and improving physical functional ability.

3) Turmeric - In a systemic review of several studies, there appears to be a benefit of turmeric on knee OA pain and function. Based on a small number of studies the effects are similar to that of NSAIDs, without the risks of NSAIDs. The results of another study suggest that bioavailable turmeric extract is as effective as paracetamol (equivalent to aceteminophen) in reducing pain and other symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and found to be safe and more effective in reducing CRP and TNF-α. In reducing CRP, that is an inflammatory marker, meaning that turmeric reduced inflammation additionally beyond just reducing pain. TNF-α is another factor that leads to inflammation and cell death, and TNF was shown to be lower in the setting of turmeric.

4) Quercetin - In a study of rhuematoid arthritis five hundred milligrams per day quercetin supplementation for 8 weeks resulted in significant improvements in clinical symptoms, disease activity, hs-TNFα, and HAQ in women with RA. Another study looking at quercetin with glucosamine use on Knee osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis patients showed that the OA patients showed a significant improvement in pain symptoms, daily activities (walking and climbing up and down stairs), and visual analogue scale, and changes in the synovial fluid properties with respect to the protein concentration, molecular size of hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin 6-sulphate concentration were also observed.

5) Bromelain - In a study using Bromelain and Boswellia patients with knee, hip, shoulder and general arthritis symptoms were noted to have improved quality of life compared to baseline. In another study, Bromelain was shown to be as effective as diclofenac (a prescription NSAID) for knee arthritis.

There is also limited evidence for glucosamine chondroitin as well as collagen peptides. Some of the evidence is conflicting, and shows no difference compared to placebo.

Bioperine is also a frequent ingredient that is commonly used. It has been shown to increase the absorption and bioavailability for several vitamins and supplements with which it is combined.

The big thing to keep in mind is everyone is unique and different. There are varying degrees of arthritis, causes, and resulting severity of symptoms. There are also other factors to keep in mind, such as a person's general health, diet, activity, and other vices (smoking, alcohol abuse, etc) that can affect their symptoms.

When it comes to supplements, the other big issue, is that one supplement may not give enough relief by itself, and so a person will either try one or two different supplements and get partial or no relief and give up, or they will take several different supplements to get the greatest benefit but now they have to take a handful of pills and likely spend a lot of money. How many pills do you really want to swallow and at what expense?

That leads to the revolutionary new supplement, JointLife. It was created with the idea that there should be one supplement that blends the best evidence supported ingredients into one combination supplement. No one should have to stand in the aisle or online shopping feeling overwhelmed about where to start. JointLife is a combined approach that takes the best supplements to support arthritis and pain and combines them into one bottle so a person can take the fewest pills to get the most relief. If there is a supplement that can give you benefit, then JointLife is the one. If not, then there likely isn't an alternative supplement that will.


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