9 Supplements for Bone and Joint Health

January 18, 2024

9 Supplements for Bone and Joint Health

Bone and joint health are fundamental components of overall well-being, influencing mobility, flexibility, and daily activities. Bones play a pivotal role in providing structural support, safeguarding vital organs, and serving as a reservoir for essential minerals in the body. Meanwhile, joints facilitate movement and flexibility. Factors like age, activity level, and even excess weight can influence the health of these vital skeletal structures.

Why Bone and Joint Health Matters

As we age, the wear and tear on our joints become more evident, affecting our ability to move comfortably. Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint pain become more prevalent. Bones, too, undergo changes, losing density and becoming more susceptible to fractures. Maintaining strong bones and flexible joints is integral for an active lifestyle, preventing discomfort, and remaining independent as we age.

Who Should Consider Joint Health Supplements?

Several factors contribute to our bone and joint health. Physical activity, a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, and maintaining a healthy weight are primary components of skeletal well-being. However, specific groups of individuals face unique challenges that may strain or damage their joints. These include:

  • Athletes enduring repetitive movements and high-impact activities.
  • Manual laborers facing prolonged joint stress.
  • Older adults coping with age-related joint issues.
  • Overweight individuals experiencing added stress on joints, particularly the knees.

People in these demographics may find supplements for joint support beneficial to support their long-term skeletal health or find joint pain relief. Here are some dietary supplements known for their potential benefits in promoting bone and joint health:


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and a primary component of bone structure. Unsurprisingly, 99% of our total calcium resides in our bones, which the body uses to ensure the skeletal system's integrity by fortifying bone density and strength. It also supports joint function by maintaining cartilage strength and resilience. Cartilage acts as a cushion between bones, providing a smooth surface for joint movement and absorbing shock. Additionally, calcium is involved in muscle contraction, which indirectly supports joint function by stabilizing the surrounding structures. The body can’t synthesize calcium and relies on dietary sources for this essential mineral. If you don’t consume enough, your body will leech what it needs from your bones. Given enough time, this process weakens your bones and increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. [1 - 5]

Vitamin D3 + K2

Vitamin D is critical for bone mineralization and strength, as the body can’t absorb calcium without it. However, while vitamin D3 enhances calcium absorption, vitamin K2 directs calcium to the bones and teeth. Without sufficient vitamin K2, the risk of calcium accumulating in arteries and forming arterial plaques increases. Taking vitamin D3 and K2 together ensures calcium is where the body needs it for optimal bone health. [6 - 13]

Glucosamine + Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are integral components of cartilage, the flexible tissue that cushions and facilitates smooth joint movement. The body concentrates glucosamine in the joints and cartilage to support cartilage and joint health. Glucosamine synthesizes glycosaminoglycan compounds that connective tissues and cartilage need to maintain their strength, elasticity, and flexibility. It also blocks pro-inflammatory molecules that degrade collagen, a structural protein in connective tissues. Meanwhile, chondroitin attracts water molecules in the cartilage to form a gel structure that acts as a shock absorber and provides compression resistance in the joints. Together, they support joint health by enhancing cartilage regeneration, increasing joint mobility and resilience, and reducing pain. [14 - 19]

Glucosamine supplements like glucosamine sulfate 2KCl and glucosamine HCl come from shellfish shells. Individuals with a shellfish allergy or following a plant-based diet should take D-glucosamine HCl instead, as it is vegan-friendly.

Hyaluronic Acid

Although many associate hyaluronic acid with skincare, it’s also critical for joint health. It is a natural component of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints, reduces joint friction, and provides shock absorption. It also coats cartilage in a protective layer for better joint compression resistance. Additionally, it helps reduce inflammation by maintaining the cartilage matrix that cushions and protects joints. Hyaluronic acid levels decline as we age, contributing to joint stiffness. Supplements help maintain joint function by replenishing hyaluronic acid. [20 - 25]

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) supplements may support joint health and alleviate joint pain by promoting cartilage synthesis. Specifically, SAMe helps produce essential joint cartilage components known as proteoglycans. Like chondroitin, proteoglycans produce a gel-like substance in the cartilage matrix that helps cartilage absorb shock, resist compression, and maintain joint flexibility. SAMe also has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce joint pain and improve mobility. A review of clinical trials encompassing over 20,000 participants reported that SAMe proved more effective at reducing joint pain and improving joint function than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain relievers. [26 - 33]

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound and antioxidant that supports joint health in multiple ways. It provides the body with sulfur, which is vital for collagen formation. MSM also has anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate joint stiffness, pain, and swelling. It achieves this by inhibiting proteins that initiate the inflammatory response and decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with systemic inflammation. [34 - 41]


Curcumin is the bioactive compound that gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a significant factor in joint pain, and research shows that curcumin helps reduce inflammation by modulating inflammatory pathways and signaling molecules. Multiple studies have shown that curcumin provides joint pain relief, with one noting that it shares similar efficacy with NSAID pain relievers. [42 - 48]

Fish Oil

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and possesses potent anti-inflammatory effects that may help alleviate joint pain. Omega-3s can compete with omega-6 fatty acids in cellular membranes, which helps reduce pro-inflammatory signaling molecule production. They also help maintain a balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes by modulating immune responses and inhibiting the formation of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes. Additionally, a meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials found that omega-3s consistently decreased the participants’ need for NSAIDs. Research also shows that higher omega-3 intakes can improve bone mineral density. [49 - 56]

Healthy bones and joints are critical for long-term well-being, mobility, and flexibility. However, age and lifestyle factors can contribute to significant joint wear and tear. Over time, this can weaken bones and affect your ability to perform daily activities comfortably. Strong bones and flexible joints are essential for preventing joint discomfort and maintaining independence. Supplements can help you achieve and sustain optimal bone and joint health, supporting an active and fulfilling lifestyle for years to come.

References and Research

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