Around 54 million American adults suffer from arthritis. In addition to medication and surgery, many arthritis sufferers look to natural supplements to find relief. Unfortunately, some of these arthritis “cures” can be unproven, ineffective, and even dangerous. We’ve sifted through the contenders and compiled a list of supplements that have shown real evidence of improving the lives of those dealing with arthritis in the hips.
Glucosamine Sulfate – Glucosamine sulfate protects cartilage and slows its deterioration. It improves joint mobility and helps joints move better. Glucosamine also reduces pain.
Chondroitin Sulfate – Chondroitin sulfate improves joint function. It slows down the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) and decreases joint pain and inflammation. Glucosamine and chondroitin work well in combination.
Turmeric – The chemical curcumin (curcumona longa) in turmeric prevents and minimizes joint inflammation. It eases joint pain and stiffness.
Celery – Celery helps reduce joint inflammation.
Calcium – The mineral calcium improves bone and joint health.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is important for bone health.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) – MSM decreases joint pain and inflammation. It acts as a painkiller and helps form connective tissue.
SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) – SAM-e is a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. It stimulates cartilage growth, increases mobility, and reduces pain perception. SAM-e may relieve OA symptoms as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with fewer side effects and longer lasting benefits.
Boswellia Serrate (Indian frankincense) – Boswellic acids have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. They may prevent cartilage loss and inhibit autoimmune damage.
Capsaicin (Capsicum frutescens) – Capsaicin, found in peppers, reduces joint pain.
Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU) – ASU blocks inflammatory chemicals. It helps prevent deterioration of the synovial cells that line joints, and may assist in regenerating normal connective tissue. ASU can reduce the progression of OA in the hip, and may improve symptoms enough to reduce or eliminate NSAID usage.
Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) – Cat’s Claw is an anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF), just as many rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drugs do. It reduces joint pain and swelling.
Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA) – Fish oil improves joint health by encouraging the production of resolvins, chemicals that help control joint inflammation. It significantly reduces joint tenderness and morning stiffness, reducing or eliminating the need for NSAIDs.
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) – An Omega-6 fatty acid, GLA is converted by the body into anti-inflammatory chemicals. It reduces stiffness and improves grip strength. A combination of GLA and fish oil significantly reduces the need for pain killers.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – With anti-inflammatory properties similar to those of ibuprofen and COX-2 inhibitors, ginger relieves joint pain and lowers inflammation. In one study it even reduced inflammation as well as steroids.
Green tea – Green tea relieves inflammation and helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage.
Stinging Nettle – Stinging nettle helps to reduce inflammation, achiness, and joint pain.
Bromelain – Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory agent that improves joint pain and lowers swelling.
Devil’s Claw – Devil’s Claw (not to be confused with Cat’s Claw) decreases joint pain and inflammation while improving mobility and flexibility.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is important for building connective tissues and could possibly decrease arthritis pain.
Other supplements that may be helpful for arthritis:
- Pine Bark Extract
- Green-lipped Mussel Extract
- Vitamin E
Before beginning a supplement regimen, personal research is helpful. The FDA doesn’t test supplements, but some private companies do. And of course, it’s essential to speak with your doctor about the potential side effects and medication interactions of any supplements you’re considering. Natural relief for arthritis is possible, but it’s always wise to proceed carefully.