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The 9 Best Supplements For Joint Health & Comfort, All Science-Backed

October 7, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Our joints don't always get the care and attention they deserve, but without them, we'd just be a sad pile of bones. Taking a joint supplement is one way to support these all-important structures that keep our musculoskeletal systems limber and strong. But what even is a supplement that supports joint health—and how can you find a high-quality one?

Consider this your complete guide to finding a science-backed supplement that will help your joints recover and rebuild after all the work you put them through.*

What is a joint health supplement?

Every time your bones connect, a joint is there to facilitate the meetup. Joints are complex structures that contain bones, muscles, connective tissue, and joint capsules. They literally keep us together, and help us move our bodies in different ways. Hinge joints allow us to bend our elbows, while ball joints make it possible to rotate our hips, for example. Whether you're running a marathon or just running an errand, your joints make it possible to do so smoothly and comfortably.

The name of the game is to keep your joints strong and nimble across your life span. However, there are a variety of factors that can negatively affect joint health over time: suboptimal nutrition, injury, oxidative stress, personal health issues, and everyday wear and tear can cause the joints to become stiff and worn down, making even the most basic movements more challenging.

Key nutrients, plant ingredients, and other targeted bioactives in supplements can help improve joint function and comfort, especially when combined with other joint-healthy practices like stretching, light exercise, and nutrient-dense eating patterns patterns (think: high-quality protein, healthy fats, colorful fruits and vegetables, etc.).* Targeted joint supplements are tools in your joint health toolkit to help with specific joint concerns and act as a proactive measure to support your musculoskeletal health as you age.*

The best joint supplements contain ingredients that have been researched and shown to deliver antioxidant protection, promote a healthy inflammatory response and/or strengthen joint structure.* Some of the science-backed active ingredients to shout out for joint health include (but are not limited to):

Summary

Joint supplements are a combination of key vitamins, minerals, botanicals, peptides, and other bioactives that are intended to help joint comfort and function. They can be taken with a certain joint issue in mind or be introduced as a proactive well-being measure to keep joints healthy through the lifespan.

Not all joint supplements are created equal. Here are the criteria we look to when vetting the many options on the market.

How we picked these supplements.

Joint support

These are science-backed formulas that provide targeted support for joint health. From joint comfort and mobility to antioxidant benefits, promoting a healthy inflammatory response, and even delivering building blocks for soft tissues, these products are here for your joints.*

Dose & efficacy

The supplements in our lineup include efficacious amounts of key vitamins, minerals, botanicals, peptides, and other unique bioactives rooted in clinical research science to truly deliver on diverse aspects of musculoskeletal health to support and sustain your joints throughout life.*

Quality emphasis

You'll find brands that prioritize quality testing to verify the potency and purity of the active ingredients, from the raw materials to the final product. We lean into supplements that invest in quality active ingredients while excluding cheap additives and excipients.

Sustainability impact

We celebrate and elevate brands that keep sustainability top of mind. To that end, we shout out green initiatives and accolades, as well as products that honor the environment through recyclable packaging like amber glass. 

mbg's picks for the best joint supplements

Best turmeric supplement: mindbodygreen turmeric potency+

Pros:

  • Turmeric-ginger-piperine trio
  • Full-spectrum turmeric
  • Superior bioavailability

Con:

  • Daily regimen needed to maximize benefits
Form: Capsule
Dietary considerations: VeganVegetarianNon-GMOGluten-freeSoy-freeDairy-freeMajor food allergen-free
Sustainably packaged: Yes

Turmeric has a long history in Ayurvedic tradition, and modern research supports its impressive ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response in the body. Turmeric's primary bioactive curcumin has been shown to directly interact with pro-inflammatory cytokines, causing improvements in joint and muscle health.*

The full-spectrum turmeric in our supplement is specially enhanced for bioavailability and has shown to have up to 10 times higher absorption than other popular forms you'll find on the market. That's great news for your joints.*

And turmeric isn't the only powerhouse herb you'll find in turmeric potency+. We paired the antioxidant-rich root with full-spectrum ginger root, which has been shown to work synergistically with turmeric to promote healthy inflammatory pathways. Piperine from black pepper completes the trio that offers targeted joint support for life—all in two (vegan, non-GMO, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free) daily capsules.*

Best glucosamine supplement: Solgar Glucosamine Hyaluronic Acid Chondroitin MSM

Pros:

  • Potent joint ingredient matrix
  • Shellfish-free glucosamine

Cons:

  • 3-tablet serving size
  • Not suitable for vegans
Form: Tablet
Dietary considerations: Non-GMOGluten-freeDairy-freeShellfish-free
Sustainably packaged: Yes

Glucosamine and chondroitin are structural components of cartilage that our bodies produce naturally, but they can also be consumed in supplement form to provide extra cushioning in the joints. Taken together, they've been shown to significantly improve joint comfort and function and decrease stiffness over six months in clinical studies.*

Supplemental glucosamine is often pulled from the shells of shrimp or crab, but we appreciate that this thoughtfully-formulated, shellfish-free option is safe for those with shellfish allergies. It's also reinforced with BioCell Collagen®, which combines collagen type II peptides, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid into an ingredient that's clinically shown to promote active joints, healthy connective tissues, and—for a nice added bonus—younger-looking skin.*

Best CBD oil: Cornbread Hemp Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil (1,500 mg)

Pros:

  • High-potency, full-spectrum hemp oil
  • USDA certified organic
  • U.S. (Kentucky) hemp traceability

Con:

  • Contains tree nut (coconut) allergen
Form: Tincture
Dietary considerations: VeganVegetarianNon-GMOGluten-freeSoy-freeDairy-freeUSDA Certified Organic
Sustainably packaged: Yes

Hemp CBD oil is rich in plant compounds called phytocannabinoids, which counterbalance stress by way of the body's endocannabinoid system. The full-spectrum hemp variety found in this tincture has the added benefit of tapping into the full array of native hemp compounds–phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more. Beyond promoting relaxation and a positive mood, hemp has also been shown to support a healthy inflammatory response and lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines in animal trials.*

Cornbread Hemp's 1,500-mg tincture contains an impressive 50 mg of hemp-derived CBD per serving. Beyond being potent, this product is also super pure: Made with premium USDA certified organic hemp from whole hemp flowers grown in Kentucky and organic MCT coconut oil, it's a wonderful option for those who are already sold on the whole-body calming properties of hemp.*

Best for knees: Pure Encapsulations Ligament Restore

Pros:

  • Supports tendons and ligaments*
  • Unique amino acids and herbs

Cons:

  • Contains shellfish (crab & shrimp) allergens
  • Plastic bottle
Form: Capsule
Dietary considerations: Non-GMOGluten-freeSoy-freeDairy-free
Sustainably packaged: No

This powerhouse supplement combines a handful of joint-targeted bioactives, micronutrients, amino acids and herbs that support especially hardworking joints, like those in our knees. Led by glucosamine, the multi-ingredient formula is complemented with vitamin C: a nutrient that supports the creation of collagen, which makes up two-thirds of the dry weight of the cartilage in our knees.

It then stacks on two more collagen supporters, lysine and lproline, as well as 200 mg of collagen itself (the same clinically studied BioCell form found in Solgar's blend). A dash of turmeric and devil's claw (a perennial plant that's been clinically shown to promote comfort and function in the knees specifically) tops off this blend that will help protect your knees from wear and tear.*

Best for joint mobility: Thorne Joint Support Nutrients

Pros:

  • Helps with stiff joints*
  • Unique ingredients like bromelain, potassium, and boswellia

Cons:

  • 4- to 8-capsule serving size (if take twice daily)
  • Contains shellfish (crab & shrimp) allergens
  • Plastic bottle
Form: Capsule
Dietary considerations: Gluten-freeSoy-freeDairy-free
Sustainably packaged: No

Thorne's joint supplement leverages the power of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): a naturally occurring sulfur that's been studied for its ability to improve joint function and mobility by keeping the inflammatory response in check. In one clinical trial in 2015, MSM was found to improve joint comfort and mobility compared to a placebo in a group of 100 adults over 50.*

In Joint Support Nutrients, MSM is paired with glucosamine and turmeric, as well as a few other functional ingredients we haven't covered yet, such as antioxidant-rich botanical boswellia, macromineral potassium, and bromelain enzyme for a targeted blend that aims to make the joints more loose and limber for an increased range of motion. It's worth noting that these ingredients are on the hefty side, though, and to get one serving of this supplement, you'll need to consume four to eight capsules each day.*

Best for women: Garden of Life FYI Ultra

Pros:

  • Array of botanicals
  • Shellfish-free glucosamine
  • Certified B Corp

Cons:

  • 4-capsule serving size (2 capsules twice daily)
  • Blends make herbal doses unclear
  • Golden powder can stain
Form: Capsule
Dietary considerations: VeganVegetarianNon-GMOGluten-freeSoy-freeDairy-freeShellfish-free
Sustainably packaged: Yes

Shellfish-free glucosamine, selenium, boswellia, ginger, and turmeric come together to keep joints strong in this supplement. From there, Garden of Life adds a unique blend of astaxanthin, olive leaf, and pomegranate—antioxidant-rich extracts that can help the body combat free radical oxidative stress. This would be a suitable supplement for women looking to nourish cartilage tissue after periods of wear and tear, though it's genderless and men can benefit from it too. Just note that one serving comes in at a hefty four capsules, and reviewers note that the turmeric in this formula leaves a residue behind that can stain clothes.*

We appreciate that Garden of Life is a B Corp Certified company, and the carbon footprint of this product is completely offset by reduction projects.

Best for seniors: Big Bold Health Dutch Harbor Omega Liquid

Pros:

  • Omega-3s plus pro-resolving mediators
  • Sourced from sustainable fisheries
  • One teaspoon daily

Cons:

  • Not suitable for vegans (fish oil)
  • Must be refrigerated
Form: Liquid
Dietary considerations: Non-GMOGluten-free
Sustainably packaged: Yes

This fish oil supplement gives the old-school spoonful of cod liver oil a modern twist with a trio of omega-3s (EPA, DHA, and DPA) plus the addition of three targeted pro-resolving mediators (bioactive lipid mediators from omega-3 fats) that actively support a healthy inflammatory response to keep joints comfortable through the aging process. These functional lipids are complemented by naturally occurring vitamin D (a very modest amount, just 200 IU) and a healthy dose of vitamin A. Both are well-known nutrient gaps, but very important as we get older, to support immune function and whole-body health.*

Beyond its innovative formula, we appreciate that this supplement touts fish oil from line-caught Alaskan cod that's certified sustainably sourced by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Best for athletes: Jockofuel Jocko Joint Warfare

Pros:

  • Targeted support for active lifestyles
  • Promotes joint mobility and flexibility*

Cons:

  • 3-capsule serving size (1 to 2 times daily)
  • Contains shellfish (shrimp & crab) allergens
Form: Capsule
Dietary considerations: Soy-free
Sustainably packaged: No

Don't let the violent-sounding name scare you away: This supplement goes gentle on joints with a combination of ingredients (MSM, glucosamine, turmeric, boswellia, and quercetin) that promote a healthy inflammatory response post-workout. Along with hyaluronic acid for joint cushion support, this product features sea cucumber, sourced from a funky-looking marine animal that has been used in traditional medicine for eons, tops off the blend to promote collagen health in joint cartilage. Active reviewers note the difference after taking three capsules daily, with one customer writing "From morning HIIT workouts to evening Judo training, Joint Warfare keeps my joints [flowing smooth]."*

Best for menopause joint health: Nature Made EQUELLE

Pros:

  • Targeted menopausal support
  • Helps with muscle aches*
  • Clinically researched S-equol

Con:

  • Contains soy allergen
Form: Tablet
Dietary considerations: VegetarianGluten-freeDairy-free
Sustainably packaged: Yes

Estrogen protects our joints and supports healthy inflammatory status in the body. This innovative supplement by EQUELLE safely mimics the hormonal estrogen we lose during the menopausal transition with a plant-based ingredient, S-equol. S-equol has been extensively researched for its ability to support healthy temperature regulation (we’re looking at you, hot flashes) and alleviate muscle aches, making it a supportive addition to your perimenopausal routine to nurture the menopausal transition with care. However, the soy-derived isoflavonoid compound is not suitable for those with soy allergies or sensitivities.*

How to choose a joint supplement.

When shopping for any supplement, it's important to look for options that are made with science-backed ingredients in doses that are clinically shown to deliver the intended results, like those on this vetted list.

You'll also want to consider format: Some joint supplements contain hefty ingredients (i.e., they are large compounds in higher doses) that don't fit into a tablet or two. Be sure that the supplement you choose is actually one you can commit to taking daily for regular joint maintenance. Finally, buying from a company that you trust to prioritize transparency, potency, purity, and sustainability above all else is key.

As always, consult your doctor before adding any new supplement to your routine.

FAQ

Do joint supplements really work?

Yes, but only if you take the right one. Look for an option with ingredients supported by science and served up in efficacious (but easy-to-swallow) doses. Prioritize products that limit additives and synthetics, so the active ingredients can really shine through to provide joint support as intended.*

Is it good to take a joint supplement every day?

Unless otherwise stated, most joint supplements should be taken daily for long-term joint support. Many customers report feeling the difference (i.e., joint discomfort) when they stop their regimen. Most of the research on joint-supporting ingredients is conducted over weeks, months, or longer — so you shouldn't necessarily expect to feel a difference right away. 

Are joint supplements safe? 

High quality joint supplements from reputable brands are considered safe to take daily, but you should always talk to your doctor to make sure they're a fit with your existing health plan and personal health considerations. 

The takeaway.

Your joints make movement possible, and the proper joint supplement will help them stay healthy, strong, and comfortable through all their hard work. The best joint supplements, like those on this list, will feature well-researched ingredients in effective doses.

You can give your supplement the best chance of working for you by pairing it with other joint-healthy habits by staying active (especially with low-impact routines), getting enough rest, and eating a balanced diet. Foods that are high in antioxidants, such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, berries, and nuts will be especially great for fueling the twists, turns, and tucks of life.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.

Meet The Experts

Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.