natural arthritis remedies

top joint support supplements compared

Anyone suffering from aching or inflamed joints can benefit from joint support supplements. These should contain a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and several other clinically-proven vitamins, trace elements and amino acids. These are all approved as food supplements because of their safe use.

Complex, high-quality joint nutrients provide vitamins, trace elements and other cartilage building blocks for the joints’ collagen structure and the immune system. These complex dietary supplements do not even have to be expensive.

We have looked at the 24 most popular and best natural joint products available in the UK & Ireland and compared their contents and dosages.

Why Joint Food Supplements?

Cartilage and joint support micronutrients have been found beneficial by a large body of clinical studies, because

  • They reduce pain1,2 and inflammation3 in joints,
  • They increase long-term mobility (18-24 months4 by helping to build cartilage5),
  • they are convenient, prescription-free, non-invasive and based on natural food nutrients,
  • they present an affordable and natural alternative to arthritis medications6.

  • THE TOP FOUR

  • Total Score
  • Capsules / day
  • Notes
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • MSM
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Total Score
view evaluationhide evaluation

The Top 4 in Detail

1st Place – aminoexpert ARTHRO PRO (joint 1st)

ARTHRO PRO by aminoexpert scored 90 points and costs up to €44.50 per pack per month. The 3-month bundle offers significantly better value for money at €29.95. Shipping is free in Europe.
Although it lacks omega-3 fish oils, the ingredient “stack” and dosage are very effective with glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, SAMe, amino acids, several proven vitamins, minerals and the anti-oxidant pine bark extract.

You can purchase ARTHRO PRO from aminoexpert here.

aminoexpert-arthropro

1st Place – amitamin arthro360 (joint winner)

amitamin’s arthro360 also scored 90 points and is therefore tied with ARTHRO PRO in first place. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is £39.95. Most pharmacies charge approximately £35. The Triple Pack for three months is available discounted at £24.95 per month. Shipping is free in Europe.

Its combination and dosage of micronutrients is scientifically effective with 1,800 mg of glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate, MSM, Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, as well as the super antioxidant pine bark extract.
arthro360 is available in many high-street and online pharmacies.

You can purchase arthro360 in online pharmacies or here directly from the manufacturer.

amitamin-arthro360-combination-product-your-effective-arthritis-treatment

3rd place: Advanced Therapeutics, Ultra Rx-Joint

This product scored 71 points with its high glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM dosages and particularly high dosages of vitamin C and Manganese.

Its other key ingredients Black Cherry Extract and Celadrin (esterified fatty acids), however, are not backed up by clinical research studies. It is also missing a significant amount of key joint and cartilage micronutrients such as omega-3s, pine bark extract, collagen, hyaluronic acid, SAMe, vitamin E, copper, and zinc among them.

Advanced Therapeutics Ultra Rx-Joint is a popular joint supplement in the United States.

Available on amazon from £42.97

Advanced-Therapeutics-Glucosamine-Chondroitin-MSM-Ultra-Rx-Joint-Triple-Strength copy

4th place: Revive Active Premium Joint Complex

With 70 points, Revive Active Premium Joint Complex costs £37.50 per month + FREE shipping with amazon prime. It comes in daily powder sachets, which can be mixed with water, juice or smoothies.

Produced in the USA and due to its powder format, it scored well due with its very high MSM and collagen amounts amongst standard Glucosamine and Chondroitin dosages.

It does lack omega-3 fatty acids, strong antioxidants, amino acids, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc or selenium and therefore many key ingredients.

The sachet format, however, represents a convenient alternative for those preferring to avoid having to swallow capsules whilst missing out on a few nutrients.

Available on amazon from £37.50

revive joint complex

  • 5 - 8

  • Total Score
  • Capsules per day
  • Notes
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • MSM
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Total Score
  • 5th place

    Super Joint Guard

  • £23.54

    per month

  • 63
  • 4
  • 15
  • 12
  • 10
  • 4
  • 12
  • 2
  • 3
  • 5
  • 63
  • Arthri-flex

  • £37.99

    per month

  • 60
  • 3
  • 15
  • 10
  • 15
  • 5
  • 10
  • 5
  • 60
  • Labrada Nutrition

  • £39.97

    per month

  • 60
  • powder
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 60
  • Ultra RX Joint

  • £103.78

    per month

  • 55
  • 3
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 5
  • 5
  • 55
view evaluationhide evaluation

5th place: Met-Rx Super Joint Guard

Met-Rx Super Joint Guard has 63 points, because of its good array of vitamins and essential fats. Unfortunately, they are “bundled” into an untransparent proprietary mix so individual dosages are unavailable and the points were lost as a result. They are also mostly dosed far too low compared to dosages used in clinical studies to make any sort of impact.

It does include a good quantity of Glucosamine sulfate and Chondroiton sulfate and even Hyaluronic acid, but it is lacking in trace minerals lacking zinc and selenium altogether.

6th place: Arthri-flex Advantage

Arthri-Flex Advantage scored 60 points, because it combines Glucosamine Sulfate, naturally occurring Chondroitin Sulfate and MSM. Significantly, the Chondroitin comes from “Premium Chicken Sternum Type II Kollagen” and is not quantified on the packaging. The chondroitin could therefore not be quantified for this evaluation and the points were lost as a result. It also is not It does not contain Selenium, Vitamin D and vitamin E or omega-3 acids.

7th place: Labrada Elasti Joint Grape Powder

This drink powder from the USA scored 60 points with its extremely high dosages of Kollagen and MSM. The standard dosages of Glucosamine and Chondroitin due to an approximate amount of 10g drinking powder per day. It has, however, a very limited nutrient profile, because omega 3 acids, antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals are missing altogether. It was therefore ranked 7th although it has the same number of points as 6th ranked Arthri-Flex Advantage.

8th place: Nature’s Plus, Advanced Therapeutics, Ultra RX Joint Complete System, 2 Piece Kit

This product scored 55 points with its good mix of the basic nutrients Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM, but it is missing omega-3s, amino acids and most clinically proven vitamins and trace elements.

  • 9 - 12

  • Total Score
  • Capsules per day
  • Notes
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • MSM
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Total Score
  • 9th

    Joint Therapy Plus

  • £27.99

    per month

  • 50
  • 4
  • 15
  • 12
  • 10
  • 4
  • 12
  • 2
  • 3
  • 5
  • 63
  • 10th place

    Joint Movement

  • £15.26

    per month

  • 45
  • 3
  • 15
  • 10
  • 15
  • 5
  • 10
  • 5
  • 60
  • Collagen Plus

  • £21.18

    per month

  • 41
  • powder
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 60
  • Jointace® Collagen

  • £8.92

    per month

  • 40
  • 3
  • 15
  • 15
  • 15
  • 5
  • 5
  • 55
view evaluationhide evaluation

  • 13 - 16

  • Total Score
  • Capsules per day
  • Notes
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • MSM
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Total Score
  • Joint Flex Max

  • £22.49

    per month

  • 40
  • 2
  • 15
  • 15
  • 10
  • collagen
  • 5
  • 5
  • 40
  • Jointcare Xcel Max

  • £15.49

    per month

  • 39
  • 2
  • 9
  • 10
  • ha
  • msm10
  • pre
  • 10
  • 39
  • Arthro-Joint

  • £18.20

    per month

  • 38
  • 3
  • 10
  • 5
  • 10
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5
  • 38
  • 16th

    Jointcare Supplex

  • £13.49

    per month

  • 37
  • 2
  • 10
  • 10
  • 3
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 37
view evaluationhide evaluation

  • 17 - 20

  • Total Score
  • Capsules per day
  • Notes
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • MSM
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Total Score
  • Joint Complex

  • £21.38

    per month

  • 35
  • 4
  • 10
  • 15
  • 5
  • 5
  • 35
  • Osteo Bi-Flex

  • £29.77

    per month

  • 35
  • 2
  • 15
  • 10
  • 5
  • 5
  • 35
  • Arthro Guard

  • £18.20

    per month

  • 30
  • 3
  • 10
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 30
  • Optimum

  • £18.35

    per month

  • 30
  • 2
  • 15
  • 10
  • 5
  • 30
view evaluationhide evaluation

  • 21 - 24

  • Total Score
  • Capsules per day
  • Notes
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • MSM
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Amino Acids
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Total Score
  • Valupak

  • £4.89

    per month

  • 30
  • 3
  • 15
  • 15
  • 30
  • Instaflex

  • £53.20

    per month

  • 25
  • 3
  • 10
  • 10
  • 5
  • 25
  • Arthroblock forte

  • £19.98

    per month

  • 25
  • 2
  • 10
  • 10
  • 5
  • 25
  • Zestlife

  • £8.95

    per month

  • 20
  • 2
  • 10
  • 10
  • 20
view evaluationhide evaluation

How we have tested

In this comparison, we only examined dietary supplements and dietetic foods suitable for long-term use. Painkillers, drugs or homeopathic remedies are not part of the comparison. Only products from pharmacies or online shops were included in the test, whose contents and dosages are clearly declared on the packaging or websites.

We compared the ingredients and dosages of over 20 known products from the pharmacy and online shops and tried to make the them comparable. At first glance, many products are similar. Looking more closely, however, the differences in the constituents and active substance amounts are considerable.

In this comparison we only considered food supplements with clinically-proven effective micronutrients, which are available over-the-counter either on the high street or online for delivery in the UK & Ireland.

We used a standard scoring system for the various ingredients and concentrations to allow for a transparent side-by-side comparison:

  • We awarded up to 20 points per active ingredient for the most thoroughly researched, clinically proven beneficial joint nutrients glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM.

  • We awarded up to 10 points for well-researched nutrients and natural remedies Omega-3, Hyaluronic acid and pine bark extract. These micronutrients are thought to be slightly less effective than glucosamine and chondroitin. They also cannot be sold as medicines according to our research. There is good evidence of their beneficial effects and there are no significant side effects.

  • We awarded up to five points for all other positively-researched micronutrients that are important for the musculoskeletal system, cell protection and the immune system. In our calculations, these include Collagen, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D, amino acids, selenium, manganese and zinc. When deficient in the body, these micronutrients can lead to joint problems and are therefore important for general health. Even without a known deficiency, increasing the intake of these nutrients can have important health benefits (although not necessarily always clinically proven). This applies in particular as the body ages and demand for nutrients increases as a result of illness or medication. There are no known adverse side effects even in larger dosages.

Dosages

A micronutrient only becomes effective when sufficiently dosed. We have allocated reduced scores accordingly, where a nutrient is present in the product, but the dosage is lower than generally recommended.

Under these criteria a perfect score of 135 points could have been scored by any supplement according to our system. However, no supplement was able to achieve this.  

Firstly, this particular “perfect” nutrient mix does not yet exist. Secondly, it would take a large amount capsules of (approx. six to eight) to provide the appropriate nutrient dosages on a daily basis.

Other potential criteria such as packaging, dosage form (tablets, capsules or powder) as well as price have not been included in point allocation, because of a natural variation in personal preferences.

 

Delivery & customer service

All test orders were received within 3 – 5 business days and all returns were processed to a satisfactory degree. We have therefore not included this factor as a separate score either.

Pain relievers, medicines and homeopathic remedies were excluded. We also attempted to focus on products, which had their ingredients and dosages clearly labelled. Products with “proprietary mixes” which did not break down the exact nutrient composition lost points on poor transparency.

In addition, there are many more natural remedies, vitamins and trace elements which are regularly recommended by orthopaedic specialists and scientists. We did not include the following ingredients in the analysis, because we could not find insufficiently conclusive information. Conversely, this does not mean, that these substances aren’t beneficial for joints or the immune system:

  • Incense: inconclusive study results.
  • Green-lipped mussel: may help, but product quality varies significantly. It includes large amounts of glucosamine and selenium, which is why it is better to take outright glucosamine + selenium supplements.
  • Boron: initial research suggests that a boron deficiency can cause joint problems. This micronutrient has not yet been sufficiently researched.
  • Willow Bark: In the single study testing it against a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for osteoarthritis, it wasn’t as effective for pain relief.

The results

The differences between the individual products can be significant. In general you should keep in mind:

  • Products with a recommended intake of one or two capsules or tablets per day may can either only supply a few active ingredients or the dosage may be too small to be effective according to current opinion.
  • In general, the more you spend, the more you can expect. This is not always the case, however!
  • Good products are available both online and in the pharmacy. In our opinion, however, you should only buy if the ingredients and quantities of the ingredients are clearly indicated. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Products with unclear content labelling were therefore not included in the product comparison.

The following nutrients are important:

A quality arthritis food supplement should include the following micronutrients.

Each of them has been clinically proven beneficial for joint health, are well-researched and have no or very small side effects as a food supplement:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane)
  • Omega-3 from fish oil (EPA, DHA)
  • Pine bark extract
  • Amino acids
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Collagen hydrolysate
  • Vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin C

The following clinically-proven micronutrients should be included in a quality joint and cartilage food supplement:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These two nutrients are considered the “joint supplement classics”. Preferably these should be consumed as Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate. Unfortunately, some manufacturers don’t offer adequate dosages in their products. This is the case, because at least 1,200 mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin sulphate should be consumed per day. The benefits of these compounds can be complemented and further improved by the following nutrients:
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) from fish oil. They have an anti-inflammatory effect, promote good cardiovascular health and help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Pine bark extract has been researched extensively since the mid-1990s and proven effective for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on osteoarthritis and arthritis.
  • MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic sulphur compound. MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and helps to protect against cartilage degradation.
  • Amino acids such as methionine and cysteine are good sources of sulfur as well as MSM. Joint experts recommend a diet rich in these amino acids.
  • Hyaluronic acid is usually injected directly into the joint, but also recommended by many experts for use as a dietary supplement. Further research studies are desirable to show effective dosage and treatment duration.
  • Collagen hydrolysate: Taken as a separate powder and normally dosed at 10 grams per day. Not as well researched as glucosamine and chondroitin, but still recommended.
  • Vitamin C is important for immune system. It also helps to protect against cell-damaging free radicals and is involved in the formation of collagen fibres. In the Stone Age humans consumed approximately 4,000 mg vitamin C daily via their diet at the time. Today most adults in the Western world struggle to consume the minimum daily recommended dose of 80 mg per day.
  • Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant. Highly-dosed vitamin E is also an anti-inflammatory analgesic. About half of all people in Central Europe are deficient in vitamin E.
  • Vitamin D is important for the immune system, calcium metabolism and therefore bone health. A lack of vitamin D is one of the main causes of osteoporosis according to nutritionists. Approximately 90% of people are deficient in this vitamin and supplementation is therefore highly recommended, not just for for arthritis patients.
  • Selenium, manganese, copper and zinc are trace elements with an inhibitory effect on inflammation. They protect the cartilage from breakdown and promote beneficial metabolism of connective tissue7.

Should you rather use conventional pain relief or nutritional supplements and natural remedies? It is very important to have a full medical examination and professional diagnosis before determining the correct course of action for any joint problem. Only a fully qualified medical professional will be able to provide a correct diagnosis and determine the most likely causes of pain and joint degradation.

Pain killers can help quickly, cheaply and are almost universally available. However, they do not promote the generation and repair of cartilage, can have detrimental long-term health effects (can lead heart and liver problems) are therefore not appropriate for long-term use. It is thus important to discuss your health with a doctor or pharmacist in order to chose the most appropriate painkiller and dosage.

Dietary supplements and other natural remedies for joints do not have immediate effects. They may need to be taken for weeks, and in some cases months, before the nutritional benefits initially become obvious. Crucially, however, they tend not to have known side effects and for the most part have been proven effective in peer-reviewed, clinical studies in supporting better long-term cartilage health and sometimes even re-generation.

It’s important that if you have a shellfish allergy you do not take glucosamine. Allergies to other substances such as chondroitin and MSM are rare, but should be checked against in individual cases.

Final remarks

The food supplements featured in this comparison are just a few from a very large amount of joint & cartilage support products available on the market. The metabolic benefits of the micronutrients are mostly well documented.

Please keep in mind that some products, which that have achieved lower scores in our test or that have not been listed may be more beneficial than other products depending on individual conditions. Nevertheless, we strongly believe that we’ve made the criteria as transparent and fair as possible.

This overview can and must not replace a professional medical assessment and diagnosis conducted by a fully qualified and registered orthopedists, rheumatologists or sports medicine specialists. This comparison is therefore not meant to promote unsupervised self-medication.

Finally, please keep in mind that these three lifestyle factors are crucial for your joint health:

  • A balanced diet with unprocessed low fat meats and plenty of whole foods, fruit and vegetables,
  • regular low-impact exercise such as walking and swimming avoiding stress on the joints, as well as
  • the prevention of obesity and the resulting pressure on joints.

Please consider these factors, as well as regular exercise, a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, fish and low in red meats – not only for your joints, but indeed for you overall health, vitality and longevity.

Bibliography

  1. Lerna et al. 2010. Supplementation of diet with krill oil protects against experimental rheumatoid arthritis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 11, 136, doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-136
  2. Brien et al. 2008. Systematic review of the nutritional supplements dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 16(11), 1277-1288
  3. Dzielska-Olczak & Nowak. 2012. Anti-inflammatory therapy in ostheoarthritis including omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Polish Merkur Lekarski 32(191), 329-334; Calder. 2006. n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 83(suppl), 1505S-1519S
  4. Van Vijven et al., 2012. Symptomatic treatment with chondroprotective and collagen derivatives for osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 20 (8), 809-821
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16309928
  6. http://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2015/01/14/annrheumdis-2014-206792.full
  7. Feil, W., “Die Dr. Feil Strategie. Arthrose und Gelenkschmerzen überwinden.”, 1. Aufl. 2013, S. 49; ISBN 978-3-00-040191-6

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