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Arthritis can hit anyone, from a cyclist to a stay-at-home-mom, and with little notice. While this is a somewhat normal sign of aging, there are supplements that you can take to help limit the symptoms – and for some people, even help alleviate other ailments. Below are the best supplements to help your combat your arthritis and keep your health in tip-top shape.

SAM-e

How it works: SAM-e acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may stimulate cartilage growth and also affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which reduce pain perception. Two studies have shown that it relieves OA symptoms as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with fewer side effects and more prolonged benefit.
Best for: osteoarthritis
Also used for: fibromyalgia

Boswellia Serrate

How it works: The active components (Boswellic acids) have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It also may help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process. In a 2008 study, the extract, also known as Loxin 5, significantly improved OA pain and function within seven days. An Indian study also revealed it slowed cartilage damage after three months of use.
Best for: osteoarthritis

Capsaicin

How it works: Capsaicin temporarily reduces substance P, a pain transmitter. Its pain-relieving properties have been shown in many studies, including a 2010 study published in Phytotherapy Research, which revealed a 50 percent reduction in joint pain after three weeks of use. It is available as a topical cream, gel or patch.
Best for: osteoarthritis
Also used for: rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia

Turmeric

How it works: Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that can reduce joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. A 2010 clinical trial using a turmeric supplement showed long-term improvement in pain and function in patients with knee OA. A small 2012 study using a curcumin product, BCM-95, showed more reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active RA when compared to diclofenac sodium.
Best for: osteoarthritis
Also used for: rheumatoid arthritis

ASU

How it works: ASU blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, prevents deterioration of synovial cells, which line joints, and may help regenerate normal connective tissue. A large three-year study published in 2013 showed that ASU significantly reduced progression of hip OA compared with placebo. A 2008 meta-analysis found that ASU improved symptoms of hip and knee OA, and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
Best for: osteoarthritis

Cat’s Claw

How it works: Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a target of powerful RA drugs. It also contains compounds that may benefit the immune system. A small 2002 trial showed it reduced joint pain and swelling by more than 50 percent compared with placebo. Look for a brand that is free of tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids.
Best for: rheumatoid arthritis

Fish Oil

How it works: Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. EPA and DHA have been extensively studied for RA and dozens of other inflammatory conditions. A 2010 meta-analysis found that fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in RA patients and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
Best for: rheumatoid arthritis
Also used for: osteoarthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome