T Nation

Supplements for joint health?

What is the current thinking on available supplements for joint health? I know Glucosamine and Chondroiten were touted for a while, but if I am not mistaken, isn’t there some doubt about their effectiveness? Please fill me in on any compounds I can investigate. What is the latest info? I am in my early forties and I can see how avoiding injuries is becoming more and more of a priority. Thanks!

MSM, DMSO, and Wobenzyme are fairly effective.

Fish Oil may also be beneficial.

I have a few family members that have reported excellent results from coral calcium as well.

Should add that I personally am not completely sold on the claims surrounding coral calcium as of yet…

Take a good, chelated mineral supplement (with high manganese content) with each meal and also take cod liver oil gel caps. This protocol worked very well in taming tendonitis in my elbows.

EPA/DHA, I use 7.5 grams (combined) per day, I swear, the stuff works better than IBprofin.

I’ve been using MSM for a couple months with good results. I also use fish oils, but attribute the MSM for improvements.

Flax oil.

Hey, try this stuff here. http://www.activexamerica.com/athletes/

Customizer has Msm and joint care unbelieveable cheap.

Thanks for the suggestions. Are Glucosamine and Condroitin (sp) no longer considered to be effective? I thought I read somewyhere that maybe they had been over-rated. Of course one day something works. then the next day it doesn’t. Then a few weeks later they say it works again. LOL. What’s the current thinking on Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

Lots of good ones already mentioned. Another up and coming one is Type II Chicken Collagen.

Here’s the lowdown on Joint health. Chondroitin is a larger molecule than glucosamine and some people, such as myself, do not absorb it and therfore do not get any benefit from taking it. Glucosamine: there’s glucosamine HCl, glucosamine sulfate, & n-acetyl glucosamine. I’ve read claims that this one is better, that one is better and so on. Don’t worry too much of what form you use. I take 1,000 mg/day. I use to take 500mg/day, but my doctor recomended the higher amount. If I quit or run out, my joints start too hurt and or I get inflamation in 2-3 weeks. I’ve known numerous people who have benefitted from taking glucosamine.
If that doesn’t work, the next supplement to try is MSM. I’m not too familiar with it, but it’s the next choice after glucosamine. If neither of these two, nor a combinations works, here’s what does. It’s called cetyl myristoleate. It was isolated from mice in which arthitic symptoms could not be induced by injection. I’ve heard many first hand account of how well it works.
In general, most people who need better joint health start with taking glucosamine.
Good luck

I’m already hooked on the fish oil (DHA/EPA) thing. Next stop, Glucosamine. Thanks for the answers!

A pubmed search turns up quite a bit of backing for Cy Wilson’s claim of glucosamine decreasing insulin sensitivity. I am aware that the trend is to now say that only extremely high doses contribute to the issue, but where are the studies that show that? Glucosamine does work well for its intended purpose, which I believe is one of the factors for people not wanting to accept the side effects as legitimate. In my opinion MSM and EPA/DHA work just as well if not better than Glucosamine, plus with this stack your insulin sensitivity will actually increase. Nick Kelly has pointed me to some good research on digestive enzymes for joint health, I don’t know a whole lot about it, but what I’ve read and what Nick has told me sounds like that would be good for a go as well.

I find that plain gelatin works wonders for me when my joints start to ache. 1 packet a day and I get results within 2 weeks.

It depends on what you mean by “joint health.” Do you already have a joint problem or do you just want to prevent one? If so, what are you willing to give up to do so?

The earlier article in T-mag pointed out the downside of glucosamine, but didn’t assert that it didn’t work. I can give you my own anecdotal experience for what it is worth.

I have had osteoarthritis in one hip for over fifteen years. I started taking glucosamine and chondroitin probably thirteen years ago. I added MSM about 8 years ago. Comparison of a recent x-ray to one that was taken in 1988 showed essentially no narrowing of the joint from the time of my first diagnosis. It still hurts, but I have maintained as much or more cartilage in that joint as I had when I started, and despite the pain, I still have close to a full range of motion. I can still squat to rock bottom and perform high taekwondo kicks.

In my experience, though, none of the supplements have done much for the pain. (Because of increasing pain, I recently started to take fish oil caps as well. The jury is still out on that.) For that, I take a LOT of anti-inflamatories. If you already have arthritis, and want to discuss experiences with NSAID’s, we can talk about those, too, but I don’t want to clutter this thread with that unless you are interested.

My take on it is that over the long term, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM seem to contribute to maintenance of cartilage that might otherwise be lost due to aging. (I’ve never taken SAMe.) The downside is that you may have a harder time gaining muscle due to increased insulin-resistance. (Yeah, that’s my excuse for not looking better, that darn glucosamine. :wink: The other downside is financial – I’ve spent a boatload of money on the stuff over the last few years. I think it was worth it, but that’s something that you have to think about. You can save some money if you go to one of the big discount places like Costco or Sam’s Club, though.

These supplements don’t seem to have an effect on anything but cartilage, though, so if you are concerned about preventing (or speeding recovery from) traumatic or overuse injuries to ligaments or tendons, you would need to look elsewhere. I hope this helps.


I’ve had great experience with SAM-e. I’m suprised no one mentioned it. Anyway, it worked so well that I still have 1/2 a bottle left. My knees feel great.