Everything You Want to Know About Joint Supplements
By: Rebecca Paredes
- Approximately 30 percent of adults in the U.S. deal with joint stiffness, aching or pain every month.
- As opposed to ibuprofen or aspirin, joint supplements are designed to support your joints. Some can help manage inflammation.
- Find out whether supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, DMSO, MSM and SAMe are worth your time — and why you might want to stock up on curcumin.
Dealing with joint pain and stiffness? You’re not alone. Approximately 30 percent of adults in the U.S. report joint stiffness, aching or pain in the preceding 30 days. You want to take care of your joints and feel your best. Joint supplements can help, but when you walk down the supplements section at your local pharmacy, you’ll see tons of different options. What do they do, and which ones actually work? Here’s what you should know.
Why should I care about my joints?
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 isn’t top of mind — 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.
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. Sometimes, that leads to joint pain and stiffness, which can be caused by tons of different factors — from injury to inflammation.
What are joint supplements?
When your knees hurt or your shoulder feels tight, your first line of defense might be to reach for the ibuprofen or aspirin. The problem is that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are more of a temporary solution, so you don’t want to take them for extended periods of time. In fact, chronic use may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Joint supplements are different. Some 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 your body naturally manage inflammation.
However, not all supplements are the same. Here’s what you should know about common joint supplements. And remember: If you’re dealing with joint pain, talk to your doctor to figure out the root cause.
6 types of joint supplements
Your body naturally produces glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. You’ll often find them in the same supplement because they’re both structural components of cartilage. Glucosamine/chondroitin are considered safe and studies indicate they may support your joints and tissue repair.  However, a 2010 analysis of multiple studies in patients with oestoarthiritis found that treatment with glucosamine, chondroitin or a combination of both was no better than a placebo.  What does that mean? This supplement is safe to use, but your results may vary.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your brain and body, and research shows that omega-3s can even reduce morning stiffness and tender joints.  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 help manage inflammation. Bulletproof Omega Krill Complex gives you clinically-backed doses of EPA and DHA, plus GLA, astaxanthin and olive fruit extract for extra antioxidant benefits.
3. DMSO and MSM
Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) are chemicals that may help manage inflammation and reduce pain. DMSO and MSM are generally considered safe, but your results may vary. Some small studies have found that MSM helps improve symptoms of joint pain.  However, a 2011 meta-analysis found that DMSO and MSM did not significantly reduce osteoarthritis joint pain in comparison to a placebo.
You might be familiar with the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, a vibrant yellow spice. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric, and studies have shown that curcumin naturally supports your body’s inflammatory response.   Bulletproof Curcumin Max also contains stephania, ginger and boswellia, three clinically studied Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs that work together to support your joints and mobility.
S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a molecule naturally produced by your body. As a supplement, it has been studied as a way to manage depression, liver disease and osteoarthritis. Research shows that SAMe has anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help rebuild cartilage.  It’s generally considered safe, but there isn’t enough compelling evidence to say that it’s an effective way to treat joint pain conditions. There’s a chance it can interact with other medications, so talk to your doctor before you try it.
6. Collagen protein
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, hair, nails and bones. Your body naturally produces collagen protein, but production slows down as you age. A collagen protein supplement can help give your body the tools it needs to build everything from connective tissue to tendons — and keep your joints happy.
Bulletproof Collagen Protein powder is an easy-to-use powder that supports flexible joints and strong bones, and you can add it to pretty much anything, like coffee and smoothies.
The bottom line on joint supplements
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.