|February 5, 2024

The 6 Best Joint Supplements: What to Take and Why You Need Them

By Rebecca Paredes
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy on 01/22/2024

The 6 Best Joint Supplements: What to Take and Why You Need Them

  • Neglecting your joint health can leave you feeling stiff, less mobile and frustrated. But there are a few science-backed ways to give your joints some extra love.
  • The best joint supplements are designed to help support joint health and comfort.
  • Joint supplements including glucosamine and Bulletproof Collagen Peptides may be worth integrating into your wellness regimen.

Dealing with stiffness and less flexibility in your joints? You’re not alone.

Even though many of us have friends or family who deal with joint issues, it can be challenging to steer them in the right direction when it comes to high-quality supplements that support overall joint health. After all, when you visit your local pharmacy, you’ll see tons of different options on the shelves, including glucosamine with chondroitin, glucosamine hydrochloride and maybe even Devil’s Claw.

So, what are the best joint supplements available? And, how exactly do they work? Here’s what you should know before you incorporate a new supplement into your wellness routine.

Why should I care about my joints?

X-ray of knees

If you were to ask someone what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, you might hear the standard responses: exercise often, sleep regularly and eat your vegetables. Usually, taking care of your joint health doesn’t get mentioned—but it matters. That’s because your joints help you get out of bed in the morning, move throughout the day, play with your kids, walk to the park and live your life on your own terms. If you deal with limited joint function, though, you might as well scratch those off your to-do list.

What is a joint? It’s the point that connects two or more bones in your body. Your joints are made of connective tissue and cartilage, and they have an important job: They carry the strain of everyday living. However, the various stressors our bodies deal with on a daily basis can lead to less flexibility and more stiffness in your joints.

Related: Do These 9 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief Any Time of Day

What are the best joint supplements?

Woman stretching outside

When your joints feel like they need some extra support, don’t get too discouraged. It might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking your body’s best days are long gone, but that’s not necessarily the case.

On the contrary, you can take back control of your mobility and overall joint health with effective supplementation.

Popular joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin contain substances naturally present in your cartilage—the tissue that cushions your joints. Other supplements, like curcumin (the active compound in turmeric), help support a healthy inflammation response.

However, not all supplements are the same. Here’s what you should know about common joint health supplements and their potential side effects. And remember: If your joints are giving you problems, talk to your doctor to figure out the root cause.

6 science-backed joint supplements you should try

Man working out with a kettlebell.

Not sure which direction to take to get your joint health back in order?

These science-backed dietary supplements support healthy joints in a variety of ways. Let’s take a closer look at how each of them works within the body.

1. Collagen Peptides

a hand pours a scoop of chocolate collagen peptides into a clear mug of coffee

Collagen is often called the glue that holds your body together, and with good reason: It’s the connective tissue in structures like your skin, joints and bones.

Your body naturally produces collagen, but production slows down as you age. A collagen peptides supplement can help give your body the building blocks to support strong ligaments and tendons and keep your joints happy.

Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen Peptides are an easy-to-use powder that supports flexible joints and strong bones, and you can add it to almost anything, like coffee and smoothies. (Try it in a Keto Iced Coffee Protein Shake.) Or, upgrade to a collagen with added support, like Bulletproof Energy Collagen Protein, which features all the essential amino acids your body needs to thrive (Blend up a Berry Matcha Smoothie.)

And, Bulletproof Gut Health Collagen Protein is a great option for those looking for a supplement that supports joint health with added benefits. In addition to providing the body with grass-fed collagen peptides, it contains probiotics and prebiotics that support healthy digestion and a thriving gut microbiome.

Related: Can I Take Too Much Collagen in One Day?

2. Glucosamine/chondroitin

You may have heard about using glucosamine for joints before. So what makes this supplement such a popular choice?

Your body naturally produces glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. You’ll often find them in the same supplement because they’re both structural components of cartilage. Glucosamine/chondroitin supplements are considered safe, and studies indicate they may support your joints and tissue repair.[1][2]

An important note to keep in mind: People with shellfish allergies need to be extra careful when selecting a glucosamine supplement. Because many glucosamine products are derived from the shells of shellfish, it’s important to check the ingredient label before you make your purchase.

3. Curcumin

a close up of a hand holding a bottle of curcumin max with 2 pills next to it

You might be familiar with the health benefits of turmeric, a vibrant, yellow spice. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and studies have shown that curcumin naturally supports healthy joints and joint function. [3] [4] [5]

If you’re on the keto diet, you can add recovery-bolstering sugar-free Bulletproof Turmeric Gummies to your daily supplement routine. Or, add Bulletproof Curcumin Max to your stack, which also contains stephania, ginger and boswellia, three clinically studied herbs that also work to provide mobility and joint support.

Related: 6 Inflammatory Foods and What to Eat Instead

4. DMSO and MSM

Looking for another joint supplement option? Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) are chemicals that may also work to support your body’s joint health. DMSO and MSM are generally considered safe, but your results may vary. Some small studies have found that MSM helps improve joint comfort.[6] [7]

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

a bottle of omega krill, 2 pills, and a glass of water sits on a table with a blue background

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your brain and body, and research shows that omega-3s can even reduce morning stiffness.[8] [9] Fish oil, krill oil and cod liver oil are all rich sources of EPA and DHA—two omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to support joint comfort.[10] 

Try Bulletproof Omega Krill Complex, which gives you clinically-backed doses of EPA and DHA, plus GLA, astaxanthin and olive fruit extract for extra antioxidant benefits. Not only does this supplement support joint health, but it also assists in keeping your heart and brain healthy, too.

6. SAMe

S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a chemical naturally produced by your body from methionine, an amino acid found in foods. Discovered in the early 1950s, SAMe is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, and it has been studied as a way to support everything from mood to whole-body health.[11]

While SAMe is generally considered safe to take, there isn’t enough compelling evidence to completely support its effectiveness as a joint support supplement. And since there’s a chance it can interact with other medications, talk to your doctor before you make SAMe a part of your supplement stack.

The bottom line: Joint supplements can help you cover your bases and make sure you’re helping your joints (and you) feel awesome. Some supplements may be more effective than others, and it’s a good idea to experiment and see what works best for your body. After all, your joints are important because they help you do what you want throughout the day—and taking care of your joints is one great way to take care of YOU.