5 Supplements to Improve Your Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease characterized by pain and stiffness. This condition presents mainly in individuals over 60 years old, but can happen at any age. Patients with the diagnosis report pain levels from mild pain to very severe. Conventional treatment includes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and weight loss, as well as modification in diet (such as Mediterranean) and increasing exercise to at least 150 minutes weekly. Additional support from supplements can also be considered and includes: 

  1. 100% Unsweetened fruit juice  
    Two to three cups (2-16 ounces daily) of pomegranate, tart cherry or strawberry juice can be beneficial for OA. Patients may see mild improvements in pain, cartilage breakdown, oxidative status, and overall inflammation markers in their blood.  

  2. Glucosamine  
    Glucosamine is known to be a precursor of glycosaminoglycans, a major component of human cartilage. Side effects are rare, but it may interact with Warfarin or pose an issue for people with shellfish allergies. Vegetarian forms are also available. 

  3. Chondroitin  
    Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan found in cartilage attached to proteins. It is generally combined with Glucosamine and considered safe and well tolerated. It’s derived from animal cartilage so is not appropriate for vegetarian or kosher/halal diets. 

  4. Hyaluronic acid  
    Hyaluronic acid is a major component of connective tissue of the human body. It is generally safe and well tolerated.  

  5. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)  
    MSM is a sulfur containing compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It targets arthritic cartilage. Often combined with Glucosamine and Chondroitin as a dietary supplement for OA, it is generally safe and well-tolerated.  

Before starting or changing your medication and supplement protocol, make sure to check with your healthcare provider or naturopathic doctor. Contact a Bastyr Clinic to schedule an appointment.  


Alexander Aponte-Davila, ND, First-Year Resident 

Bastyr University Clinic