How Do I Choose the Best Supplements for Arthritis?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2019
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There are a number of supplements that can be used to help relieve the pain of arthritis, and choosing the right one will likely be a matter of finding one that works for you, that you tolerate well, and that does not have any negative interactions with other medications you take. Two well-known supplements for arthritis, glucosamine and chrondroitin, have been studied extensively and are helpful for many patients, but their effectiveness can be inconsistent from person to person. Another supplement, S-adenosylmethionine, known as SAMe, has also been found to help with arthritis pain, but also tends to be inconsistent and can have some unpleasant side effects and drug interactions. Other possible options include methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), harpagophytum procumbens (devil’s claw), ginger, fish oil, and turmeric, but these supplements have been less extensively studied for effectiveness and safety than the first three.

Glucosamine and chrondroitin are two supplements for arthritis that are frequently sold together and have been shown in several studies to help ease pain. Glucosamine is even thought to slow damage from the disease. It is important to choose a supplement with glucosamine sulfate, which is typically more effective than other types like glucosamine hydrochloride. Results for patients in all studies have not always been consistent, however, so you may wish to try glucosamine and chrondroitin for a period of time and then discontinue if they do not help.


Another of the frequently recommended supplements for arthritis is S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe. Studies have shown that many patients respond well to SAMe and it works well to relieve their pain. The supplement does have downsides, however, including side effects like headache, anxiety, and insomnia, and the potential to interfere with anti-depressants and certain other medications. It is important to look for a high-quality supplement, as inconsistencies in the dose can decrease the chances of it working. One other thing to note is that SAMe can be expensive, so if you have a tight budget it may not be your best option.

Several other products are also considered potentially helpful supplements for arthritis, so you may wish to try them, despite limited research. Some studies have been done on MSM, devil's claw, and turmeric that indicate their anti-inflammatory effects may help ease pain. Ginger and fish oil have also been reported to provide moderate relief. As with all supplements, talk to your doctor before starting a regimen, look for a high-quality products, and use only if you tolerate it well and it helps your condition.



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