If you’re suffering with knee pain, whether it be through arthritis, age, injury, or overuse, it’s good to know that help is at hand. There are a variety of knee pain supplements available that can help reduce (or even eliminate) knee pain.
There are a variety of natural home remedies for knee pain, and the best supplement for knee pain differs from person to person. That’s because your genetic makeup, age, and lifestyle can all affect how a supplement will work for you.
The good news is that plenty of supplements out there are backed by scientific research. Because there are so many, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best supplements for knee pain.
Although each supplement on our list is natural, it’s always worth talking with your medical professional to ensure that changes to your diet or supplementation don’t interfere with any of your current conditions or medications.
With that understood, it’s time to present our list of knee pain supplements.
15 of the top knee pain supplements
Here are some great supplements for knee pain that you can look out for as part of your diet, or through targeted supplementation:
Collagen may be THE best supplement for knee pain. Why? Because while other knee pain supplements on this list have potential anti-inflammation properties, collagen is the natural building block that’s keeping your knees together.
Your knees are made up of several components: bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Crucially, collagen protein is found at all these locations in the knee. For example, collagen is 80% of the dry weight of ligaments and around 60% of the dry weight of cartilage.
The body is constantly using collagen protein to build back the daily wear and tear on your knees. For that reason, it’s important that your body has access to this vital protein, either through your diet or through supplementation.
Can collagen cure knee pain? Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves, saying that collagen will cure knee pain isn’t the best definition. However, if we’re talking about fueling the body with the exact protein it needs to reinforce our knees, then collagen should be the go-to supplement.
Collagen is even being considered as knee pain arthritis relief because it provides the body with the biological resources to replenish tissue cells in the knee. We need strong cartilage and ligaments to stay pain-free, and collagen is the protein that allows us to do that.
2. Fish oil
Fish oil, or more specifically, the fatty acid in fish oil called omega-3, has long been understood to benefit joints. What makes fish oil one of the best supplements for knee pain? As we’re going to find a lot on this list, effective knee pain supplements are going to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Why do natural anti-inflammatories make good knee pain supplements? Well, knee pain is often caused by an inflammation of ligaments when they are irritated by bad posture or a sudden change of movement. Omega-3s help to reduce swelling, and therefore can reduce pain in the knees.
The active ingredient in turmeric is a natural compound called curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory characteristics which may help suppress knee pain, so it’s particularly useful for sufferers of arthritis who need to manage inflammation in their joints.
As well as working as one of the best supplements for knee pain, curcumin is also an antioxidant. The phytonutrients available within it may be great at neutralizing what are called “free radicals” (sunlight, pollen) and shielding our cells from damage.
Glucosamine is found naturally in the knee – most specifically in the cartilage that protects our bones from rubbing together. When taken as a knee pain supplement, evidence suggests that glucosamine may be an anti-inflammatory.
Glucosamine may also be useful at slowing knee joint deterioration.
Sticking with natural molecules that make up cartilage, chondroitin is often presented as a knee pain supplement because it encourages a reduction in inflammation.
The difference between glucosamine and chondroitin is its source. Chondroitin is taken from different natural sources such as shark or bovine cartilage; although both cartilage components can be created synthetically.
Cartilage is key to preventing knee pain, so any natural ingredients that promote its growth are good choices in a diet that contains knee pain supplements.
If you haven’t heard of boswellia before, perhaps you’ve heard of it by a different name: frankincense. Used widely, especially in Indian herbal medicine, boswellia is made from the resin of the bark of the boswellia tree.
Boswellia is widely known as a natural anti-inflammatory and is used in the treatment of arthritis, making it a popular knee pain supplement option.
Boswellia is generally considered safe but it is not advised to take this supplement if you are also taking blood thinners. For further information, ask about boswellia at your next medical consultation.
7. Avocado extract
Avocado extract helps lower cholesterol and promote general good health. A secondary bonus of fruits and vegetables in our diets mean that we are more likely to reach or maintain a healthy weight.
Considering that every pound lost is a pound less pressure on our knees when we’re standing, keeping a healthy weight is another route to reducing knee pain.
Specific to knee pain, again it’s the anti-inflammatory properties of avocado extract that help patients suffering with arthritis.
8. Soybean oil
Soybeans are rich in the good fats – the ones that your body is looking for to keep your heart and organs healthy. Reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke are great reasons to include soybeans or soybean oil to your diet; however, it also carries some benefits to knee pain sufferers too.
In a change from the other items on this list, soybean oil isn’t linked to reducing inflammation, but is linked to general bone health.
Considering that the knee is a connection point for some of the largest bones in your body, having them in good working order also helps your knees to function as intended.
9. Devil’s claw
Devil’s claw is a herb native to South Africa. Similar to other supplements on this list its application as a knee pain supplement is connected to the help it lends to reducing swelling.
Devil’s claw is used for a variety of applications, but arthritis is one of the most common. It may help reduce or eliminate pain by reducing the inflammation of troubled ligaments or tendons in the knee.
10. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
The whole word can be a bit of a mouthful, so methylsulfonylmethane is often shortened to MSM. Laboratory studies have displayed MSM’s anti-inflammatory, as well as its antioxidant effects.
MSM may help reduce inflammation in your knee, making it a potentially viable knee pain supplement. Further, sulfur, the major ingredient of MSM, plays a crucial part in the production of collagen, the protein that is tasked with holding joints like the knee together.
Bromelain is found naturally in the stem of pineapples, and it is also often present in pineapple juice. It can help the body to produce biochemicals that reduce pain by reducing swelling. As such, bromelain may be a viable, natural knee pain supplement for you.
Often referred to as SAMe, S-adenosyl-L-methionine is widely available as a dietary supplement in the United States. It is found naturally in the human body, which is reassuring considering that this compound has such a long name which sounds like it was created in a lab experiment.
SAMe has been studied for a variety of functions, but as a knee pain supplement, we are most interested in its osteoarthritis research. The studies are ongoing, but in general have shown that SAMe has similar pain relief and improvement in joint function as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
This makes SAMe a wonderful natural alternative to painkillers such as ibuprofen.
This growing evidence warrants an entry on our list of knee pain supplements. However when there are a range of options available, it’s always worth checking with a health professional to make sure which is the right one for you to avoid any unwanted complications.
13. Vitamin D
When science denotes a substance as a vitamin, you can feel very confident in its health benefits. We’ve added three specific vitamins to this list as options for knee pain supplements; however, all vitamins should be present in a healthy diet.
We will start with vitamin D, as it helps combat knee pain in two ways.
Firstly, vitamin D helps our bodies to absorb and retain two important elements: calcium and phosphorus. Both of these elements are critical for the production and maintenance of our bones. Having healthy bones is vital to the overall health of the knee joint.
Secondly, laboratory studies also show vitamin D’s use as an anti-inflammatory. Reducing swelling in the knee helps to reduce pain in that area. Vitamin D is created naturally by the body, but we also keep our levels of it topped up through diet or through daily supplements.
14. Vitamin C
Unlike vitamin D, vitamin C isn’t produced naturally in our bodies. Early sailors found this out the hard way on long voyages when they contracted scurvy! Thankfully, vitamin C isn’t hard to find.
Vitamin C is present in the majority of fruits and vegetables, as well as in tablet form. That’s incredibly useful, as vitamin C has a wide range of benefits in the body. These go beyond just use as a knee pain supplement, but as we’ve mentioned, general health should always be a priority.
As a knee pain supplement, vitamin C is useful in its role in synthesizing collagen; the hardwearing protein that principally adds form and structure to ligaments and tendons.
Only a small amount of vitamin C is required to synthesize collagen efficiently, but its presence is vital in the ongoing maintenance and resistance-building of the knee.
15. Vitamin K
Found in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, vitamin K helps to build bones effectively.
Just as vitamin C helps to synthesize collagen, vitamin K enables other proteins in the body to build bone and tissue. For example, osteocalcin is a protein that requires vitamin K to produce healthy bone tissue.
For this reason, vitamin K also gets a special place on our list of top knee pain supplements.
The absolute best supplement for knee pain
If you are only going to take one supplement on this list, it should undoubtedly be collagen. Collagen can help protect your knees against injury, slow the wear and tear of cartilage, and build back healthy bones, ligaments, and tendons in your joints.
Taking collagen as a knee pain supplement could be your answer to how to prevent knee pain. Giving your body the resources that it needs to take care of itself is a great way to stay mobile and pain-free.
Collagen is available as part of our diets, however many of the foods that contain collagen (such as bone broth) have fallen out of fashion. For that reason, many people prefer to take collagen in a convenient supplement form.
Of course, not all supplements are created equally. When looking for the best supplement for knee pain, you should search for a hydrolyzed collagen supplement (often called “collagen peptides). Better yet, you can look for a medical-grade collagen.
Medical-grade supplements are regulated by the FDA and trusted by medical professionals for use in hospitals across the nation, so you know they are safe to ingest and use for healing.
Whether you are suffering from arthritis pain, or trying to recover quickly from a knee injury, a high-quality collagen supplement can help reduce your knee pain in record time.