By Dr. Josh Axe
In the United States, nearly 1 in 4 adults (23 percent) deal with ongoing joint discomfort that is aggravating enough to limit their daily activities.
Because this is such a pervasive issue, supplements intended to support healthy joints, such as by promoting a healthy response to inflammation or by helping to support integrity of cartilage, are a big market.
Which joint supplements are worth the investment if you’re looking to prolong the health, comfort and mobility of your joints? Let’s look closer below at several types to focus on and why.
Joint health is important for people of all ages. For various reasons, the joints that tend to get the most attention often include the shoulders, knees, hips, wrists and ankles.
Interest in joint health support includes:
- Sustaining the overall joints
- Promoting healthy flexibility
- Maintaining healthy range of motion
- Supporting joint comfort
- Promoting general healthy mobility
Here’s where some of the best joint supplements, such as collagen protein, come in. They can generally help to keep joints healthy by providing support for healthy inflammatory responses, and supply nutrients such as amino acids, antioxidants and beta glucans that help keep various connective tissues elastic and strong.
Best Joint Supplements
1. Ancient Nutrition’s Joint + Mobility Support Capsules
These joint-supportive capsules combine organic functional mushrooms, botanicals and adaptogens that have been fixtures in Ayurvedic and TCM (Traditional Chinese Method) for generations.
Due to the powerful effects of ingredients such as organic turmeric, chaga, galangal root and ginger, these capsules can help support joint range of motion, improve joint mobility and comfort, reduce joint discomfort by day 5 of use (!), and promote a healthy immune response and response to inflammation.
It’s recommended that adults take two capsules daily with a large glass of water or another beverage.
2. Multi Collagen Protein (MCP)
Collagen powder is widely considered to be one of the best joint supplements because collagen plays a major role in forming healthy cartilage and keeping connective tissues including joints, ligaments and tendons strong and healthy. Collagen is made up of 19 amino acids, which are the “building blocks” that help to give the body’s tissues their strength and elasticity.
Most experts consider the best collagen for joints and cartilage to be type 2 collagen, which is included in supplements like Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein (MCP). Type 2 collagen makes up about 50 percent of all protein in cartilage and 85-90 percent of collagen of MCP features five types of collagen, including type 2 (as well as types 1, 3, 5 and 10 which support the health of your skin, gut, hair, and more).
MCP is sourced from four real food sources (a combination of chicken, fish, bovine and egg shell membrane collagens), and since it contains multiple types of collagen, you get an array of body-wide benefits.
Benefits of collagen for joints can include providing support for comfort and mobility, as well as supporting exercise performance and recovery. MCP has even been shown to support post-exercise recovery and reduce discomfort with noticeable results in as little as 7 days. Additionally it can reduce range-of-motion-associated discomfort and stiffness.
Collagen protein powders are typically unflavored, but also come in a variety of flavors such as chocolate and vanilla. For example, our Multi Collagen Protein Joint + Tissue - Vanilla formula makes a great addition to coffee, tea, oatmeal or green smoothies.
A general recommendation is for most adults to take between 1–3 scoops/servings per day, which equates to about 10 to 30 grams of collagen protein. However, you should always read label directions for suggested use. You should also always consult your healthcare practitioner prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplementation.
Multi Collagen Capsules are also available if you prefer an even simpler way to boost your intake.
Turmeric is brimming with beneficial compounds including its most active ingredient called curcumin, which has been shown to support a healthy response to inflammation.
Curcumin is responsible for turmeric’s signature yellow/orange pigment, and it plays a role in supporting healthy joints because of its soothing properties. It’s generally able to help reduce joint tenderness, support joint range of motion and mobility, and reduce joint discomfort.
The combination of compounds found in turmeric have also been shown to support muscle strength during periods of physical inactivity. For this reason, turmeric can be used to aid muscle and exercise recovery.
Ancient Nutrition’s Organic Turmeric Tablets make it easier than ever to add turmeric to your daily routine. These tablets are made with organic turmeric root extract and also feature compounds found in black pepper, which help aid in the absorption of turmeric. Typically adults should take one tablet daily with a glass of water or another beverage.
You can also include the spice turmeric (in powder form) to your diet in other ways for even more benefits; for example, it can be used to make turmeric tea or added to dishes for a bit of extra flavor and color.
4. Bone Broth Protein (BBP)
With BBP, you get the same benefits as traditionally, slow-cooked bone broth, only in a much more convenient and versatile form.
Bone Broth Protein powder, especially chicken-based BBP, inherently features type 2 collagen along with other joint-supporting compounds including glucosamine, chondroitin and essential trace minerals. Each serving provides 20 grams of protein to support healthy joints, cartilage, skin and gut health, and more.
Ancient Nutrition makes several types of BBPs, including those with a savory, chicken broth flavor, as well as chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel flavors. All BBPs are sourced from non-GMO, cage-free, pasture-raised and grass-fed sources, and made without hormones, added sugar or other fillers.
Just like with collagen powder, use 1–3 servings of BBP daily (depending on your dietary goals) in sweet and savory recipes like smoothies, soups and baked goods. Always consult the label for suggested use and serving size.
Glucosamine, a compound that is naturally found in bone broth/Bone Broth Protein powder, is used by the body to help form and support healthy joints. It plays a role in protein biosynthesis and is often taken in capsule form to help strengthen cartilage and assist in joint comfort.
While glucosamine itself can be a great addition to your wellness routine, taking it alone may not offer all the same benefits of BBP, which provides this compound in addition to several others that generally support healthy mobility.
Like glucosamine, you’ll find chondroitin in bone broth and BBP. It contains essential building blocks that the body can use to help maintain healthy joints.
It’s often used along with glucosamine to help support joint comfort and support general joint health. Typically the two will be combined in capsule form and taken daily by those looking to maintain healthy connective tissue structure and joint function.
Best Foods for Joint Health
In addition to taking the joint supplements above, there are plenty of nutrient-rich foods you can add to your diet to support the health of your joints, tendons, cartilage and so on.
Eating a nutrient-dense diet that includes lots of antioxidants and “collagen boosting foods” is helpful for supporting healthy collagen levels, which supports overall joint health, and for supporting a healthy immune system and healthy inflammation response.
To keep your joints in tip top shape, focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices and quality protein-rich foods and healthy fats.
Some of the best foods for healthy joints include:
- Bone broth (especially chicken bone broth which is brimming with type 2 collagen)
- Foods high in antioxidants and vitamin C like leafy greens, citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli and berries
- Foods high in protein like organ meats, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish and pasture-raised chicken
- Garlic and onions, which are high in protective sulfur compounds
- Pumpkin, flax, chia and hemp seeds, as well as nuts
- Olive oil, avocado, coconut oil and ghee
- Herbs/ spices such as turmeric, ginger, basil, parsley, etc.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the just released Ancient Remedies.