Supplements to Consider for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Some supplements may help relieve symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and increase joint mobility. These could include collagen, curcumin, and Boswellia serrata, among others.

Treatment for knee osteoarthritis may include a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery to help relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation.

Some supplements may also form part of your treatment plan.

However, it’s important to note that limited research supports supplementation to help manage knee osteoarthritis.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also doesn’t regulate supplements, so there’s no way to precisely know what a product contains.

For these reasons, the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation (ACR/AF) don’t recommend using supplements for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Keep reading to learn more about some supplements you may be considering taking if you have osteoarthritis of the knee.

Omega 3 fatty acids are present in many foods and are available in supplement form, such as fish oil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, omega-3 fatty acids are the third most popular type of supplement in the United States.

However, research on whether they’re beneficial for osteoarthritis of the knee is mixed.

A 2023 review of 2,070 people with osteoarthritis found that fish oil supplementation helped reduce pain and increase joint mobility compared to placebos.

Similarly, a 2016 study in people with osteoarthritis found that a low dose of fish oil supplementation helped reduce pain levels after 2 years.

However, some researchers expressed concerns in regard to this study. They noted that consuming more than 3 grams of fish oil a day could be hazardous.

The ACR/AF also doesn’t recommend using fish oil for osteoarthritis because there’s not enough evidence to prove it works.

As such, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional about your current treatment plan.

Collagen is a type of protein and the main component in cartilage.

Research suggests that taking collagen supplements may help support knee health.

For example, a 2023 review found that collagen supplementation helped decrease knee osteoarthritis pain compared to a placebo.

Similarly, a 2019 review found collagen supplements helped improve osteoarthritis symptoms and mobility, such as stiffness.

However, more studies are needed, as research has not concluded whether collagen can reduce cartilage damage or relieve osteoarthritis of the knee.

Collagen supplements are available:

  • as tablets, in a concentrated form
  • as gelatin or hydrolyzed collagen, in powder form

It’s important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine how much collagen you should take, if necessary.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends taking no more than 40 milligrams (mg) per day in tablet form. There’s no set amount for the powder form, but you shouldn’t exceed 10 mg.

Some foods may also help boost your body’s collagen production.

Curcumin, found in turmeric, has long played a role in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2019 study found that curcumin supplements had a similar effect on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis as diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat osteoarthritis.

Researchers found that the participants who took curcumin instead of diclofenac had fewer negative effects.

This suggests that people who can’t take NSAIDs may be able to use curcumin instead. However, it’s best to speak with a healthcare professional about your osteoarthritis treatment options.

Resveratrol is another nutrient that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s found naturally in:

In a 2018 study, 110 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee either took a 500-mg dose of resveratrol or a placebo. They took this with a 15-gram dose of the NSAID meloxicam every day for 90 days.

People who took resveratrol reported more significant pain relief compared with those who took the placebo.

However, more research is needed to confirm the full benefits of resveratrol for knee osteoarthritis.

Boswellia serrata comes from the resin of the frankincense tree. Boswellic acids, present in Boswellia, may help decrease inflammation and promote joint health.

A 2020 review found that taking Boswellia supplements for at least 4 weeks may help relieve pain and stiffness and improve joint mobility.

Similarly, a 2019 review found that some animal studies have shown that Boswellic acids may help osteoarthritis by:

  • restoring the biochemical balance in the joint
  • reducing cartilage loss

That said, larger studies are needed to support the link between Boswellia serrata and knee osteoarthritis specifically.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are two dietary supplements sometimes taken together to help osteoarthritis of the knee.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, there’s limited research on whether these two supplements can benefit osteoarthritis in the knee. Of the available research, results are mixed.

For this reason, the ACR/AF strongly recommend not using these supplements to treat knee osteoarthritis.

Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), also known as grapple plant, may have several anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

A 2014 study found that a commercial product containing devil’s claw, bromelain, and curcumin improved joint pain in people with osteoarthritis after 60 days.

That said, speak with a healthcare professional before taking Devil’s claw. It’s not recommended for people with ulcers, gallstones, and diabetes. It may also cause potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal problems.

Which vitamin is best for osteoarthritis?

Limited research supports the use of vitamins for osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. However, supplementation with vitamins D and K may help if you have deficiencies in either of them.

What supplement is used to treat osteoarthritis?

The FDA hasn’t approved any supplements to treat osteoarthritis, but limited research supports curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, collagen, and resveratrol supplements for osteoarthritis.

Do osteoarthritis supplements work?

Research on the benefits of supplements for osteoarthritis is mixed. Some studies suggest they may help relieve symptoms and improve mobility. However, most authors agree that more research is needed to support supplementation for osteoarthritis.

Your knee osteoarthritis treatment plan will likely include a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes. Sometimes, this could include supplementation.

Speak with a healthcare professional before trying any supplements. Not all supplements are effective, and it’s essential to learn how to use them safely.

A doctor could suggest alternatives to supplements for your specific condition.

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