The 6 best vitamins and supplements for joint health

If you have stiff joints, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 million Americans with arthritis experience severe joint pain, and about twice as many say it’s persistent.

Taking care of your bones and joints can be done with a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a well-balanced diet and engaging in low-impact exercise regularly, and also with supplements that aid in joint health. Ahead, we’ll get into a handful of vitamins and joint health supplements that can help you take care of your bones and joints so your mornings are a little less difficult.

The best supplements for joints

Three types of collagen in tablets and powder capsules on a gray background

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Many of the best joint supplements are substances that are already in your body! Learn more about the best vitamins for joints.


Collagen is a protein your body makes, and as you get older, you have less and less of it. It’s what keeps your skin taut and firm, and what keeps your joints working smoothly. But as you get older, there’s less collagen in your joints, which is where joint supplements could help. While there isn’t a lot of research into whether collagen can actually help your joints, doctors largely think it won’t hurt either — if it makes you feel better while paired with low-impact exercise like swimming, then go for it. . This supplement is generally safe to take, as side effects are mild such as stomach upset or diarrhea. However, it’s not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration, so be careful when choosing what to take.

Omega 3

Omega-3s are fatty acids that can relieve inflammation and joint pain. Research has shown that these supplements can reduce stiffness in people with arthritis and also fight joint pain. Studies have been done on how omega-3s work with arthritis and it has been shown that this fatty acid can “prevent experimental arthritis and may reduce disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis.” Omega-3s are largely safe to take but can cause side effects such as heartburn, nausea or diarrhea. If you currently take a blood thinner, talk to your doctor before taking an omega-3, as there’s a slight risk of bleeding when you combine the two.


You already have glucosamine naturally occurring in your body. It is in the cartilage and helps joints function. A glucosamine supplement is believed to help with arthritis as it can reduce some of the pain caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Because it is a substance that occurs naturally in the body, a supplement is generally considered safe. It has the potential to cause side effects such as nausea and heartburn and because it is often made from shellfish, it should be avoided if you have an allergy. There is also a risk of interaction with blood thinners which could cause bleeding problems.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known to support bone health, which is why some believe that a vitamin D supplement could be beneficial for supporting joint health. There is some research to suggest that taking a vitamin D supplement may help with arthritis pain and inflammation, but the finding doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a definitive answer. However, this supplement might help.

Vitamin D is a great resource for the body, it helps you retain calcium, which also helps your teeth! Be careful when adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine, however, as high levels of this vitamin can interact with several medications. In particular, high vitamin D levels can be very problematic if you’re taking Lanoxin, as it can put you at risk for hypercalcemia. Other medications mixed with a vitamin D supplement can also affect how your body processes the supplement.


You will often see chondroitin mentioned alongside glucosamine, as they are similar. Chondroitin is also found in the cartilage of the body which is why it is believed to be beneficial for improving joint health. Research on chondroitin has had largely inconclusive results, but it is still accepted as a supplement that may be useful in aiding joint health. It’s generally considered a safe supplement, although like many others, it can interact with blood thinners like warfarin and put you at risk for bleeding.

Vitamin E

People often turn to vitamin E to support their immune system, as this vitamin is an antioxidant. However, there is some research into how vitamin E may slow the progression of osteoarthritis and promote the growth of new cartilage cells. However, much of this research requires further study. That said, vitamin E is a good supplement to keep in your rotation, as it also promotes good eyesight and brain health. Just note that it can interact with blood thinners and put you at risk for bleeding.

Risks of supplements for joint health

As mentioned, most supplements are generally considered safe for people to take, as they are vitamins your body needs. However, you should always research supplements before you start taking them, especially if you are on any medications. Even though these are vitamins, many of them can interact with prescribed medications, and you want to know that ahead of time.

Checking with your doctor is always a good idea, as they can help guide you as to which supplements might work best for you. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll also want to review any supplements with your doctor before you start taking them.

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