Pharmacist assisting a customer about the best vitamins for knee pain

The 19 Best Supplements & Vitamins for Knee Pain

Knee pain is all too common as we age, and can hold us back from the things we want to do in life. But it doesn’t need to be that way. There are plenty of effective supplements and vitamins for knee pain that are backed up with scientific evidence. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at the best vitamins for knee pain, and which supplements are actually effective at getting you back on your feet. But before we dive into what supplements and what vitamins are good for knee pain, let’s examine where knee pain comes from. 

What causes knee pain?

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of things, including genetics, injuries, and Baker’s Cysts. But the culprit for chronic knee pain is often osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by the breakdown of cartilage in your knees over time. 

As your cartilage wears down, it can cause your bones to rub together and inflammation to set in. This is one of the most common causes for knee pain.

Some types of knee pain are easier to treat than others, but if you have chronic pain from arthritis, you can often find relief for knee pain without surgery.

It’s important to visit a doctor to get a proper diagnosis for your knee pain before turning to supplements, vitamins, and other home remedies as a solution. 

Can nutrition actually improve knee pain?

Some home remedies for knee pain are more effective than others, but nutrition does, in fact, play a huge role in your health. This includes your joint health! 

There are a number of knee pain supplements and vitamins that can assist you in your journey to a pain-free life. While none of these supplements is an instant cure-all, with regular use, many of them can help to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and chronic knee inflammation.

So what vitamins are good for knee pain? Let’s take a look at the best daily supplements for your joints. 

19 of the best supplements and vitamins for knee pain

Here are our favorite supplements and vitamins for knee pain – all backed by science:

1. Collagen

No list of supplements and vitamins for knee pain would be complete without collagen. In our minds, it’s the very best supplement you can take for your joints. 

Why does collagen stand out amongst the other supplements and vitamins for knee pain?

Well, collagen is one of the main building blocks of the connective tissues in your knees, including your tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. In fact, collagen makes up to 60% of the dry weight of cartilage, and 80% of tendons!

When you take collagen for knees, it gives your body all the resources it needs to build back healthy cartilage and connective tissue fibers. This can prevent the progression of arthritis, and significantly improve knee pain and stiffness.

Collagen is the protein responsible for making your tissues both strong and flexible, so it can help to prevent knee injuries, and even help to speed up wound healing after an injury. 

2. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is one of the components in your cartilage that helps your joints function. Because it’s naturally found in your body, it is considered safe to supplement with. Studies have found that glucosamine supplements may help relieve some pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

If you are currently taking blood thinners, you should talk with your doctor before supplementing with glucosamine, as there could be a risk of interaction. 

3. Chondroitin

Like glucosamine, chondroitin is naturally found in cartilage. Research found that chondroitin improved joint pain and stiffness by 20 percent or greater in 53 percent of people.  

Chondroitin may also slow down the progression of osteoarthritis when taken long-term. Studies have shown that chondroitin can slow the narrowing of your joint space when taken for up to 2 years.

4. Fish oil (Omega-3s)

Next on our list of supplements and vitamins for knee pain is fish oil. Fish oil naturally contains high quantities of omega-3s, which are fatty acids that can alleviate joint pain and inflammation. 

Research has found omega-3s can prevent experimental arthritis and even decrease disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis

5. Turmeric (curcuma longa)

As one of the most popular home remedies for joint pain, turmeric was a necessary addition to our list of supplements and vitamins for knee pain. Turmeric contains a chemical compound called curcumin which is renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects.

Studies have found that curcumin may improve joint pain symptoms just as much as the NSAID ibuprofen.

6. Ginger

Similarly to turmeric, ginger has long been touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger may work as a natural COX-2 inhibitor, which helps prevent inflammation. COX inhibitors can also improve the natural repair of articular cartilage growth, further helping your joints.

What’s more, ginger contains beneficial nutrients like manganese, magnesium, copper, and vitamin B6, which are all essential for healthy joint function.

7. Bromelain

Bromelain is a group of enzymes found in pineapple. While you probably don’t think of pineapples when you picture the best supplements and vitamins for knee pain, bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties that can fight pain and inflammation in your joints.

8. Selenium

Most commonly used to treat thyroid issues, selenium is a dietary supplement that has also been used to treat arthritis with some success. Selenium deficiency is actually one of the causes of osteoarthritis, and supplementing with selenium may be beneficial due to its antioxidant properties. 

9. Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables 

Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs) are a type of extract from avocado and soybean oils. 

ASUs are thought to help prevent the breakdown of cartilage, and even repair damaged cartilage. This makes ASUs one of the most promising items in our list of supplements and vitamins for knee pain (after collagen, that is). 

Clinical studies have shown that ASUs help to reduce joint pain from osteoarthritis.  

10. Methylsulfonylmethane

Methylsulfonylmethane, also referred to as MSM, is a chemical that naturally occurs in people, animals, and even plants! It is another common supplement for battling joint pain. Studies have shown that MSM can improve pain and joint function in people with osteoarthritis. 

11. S-adenosyl-L-methionine

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a supplement that is popular for combating osteoarthritis. SAMe is naturally produced in your liver, and it helps to produce and repair cartilage. 

When taken regularly as a supplement, SAMe can improve the health of your cartilage and reduce inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. 

12. Devil’s claw

You’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard of devil’s claw before, or if you think it sounds sinister. But devil’s claw is actually much more positive than its name would lead you to believe (or it wouldn’t have made our list of the best supplements and vitamins for knee pain).

Devil’s claw, also known as Harpagophytum, contains a chemical called harpagoside that is a natural anti-inflammatory. According to one study, taking devil’s claw may help with joint pain just as much as the anti-inflammatory drug diacerhein. 

13. Boswellia

Boswellia is a commonly used treatment for arthritis pain. Also known as Indian frankincense, boswellia contains chemicals that have marked anti-inflammatory effects. These antioxidant extracts may improve pain associated with osteoarthritis.

14. Piperine

Piperine is the component in black pepper that accounts for its sharp flavor. This spice not only brings zest to your food, it can also work as both an anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever. 

In fact, one study found that piperine was just as effective for arthritis pain as prednisolone, a common arthritis medication. Piperine may help with the absorption of curcumin, so using black pepper and turmeric together when cooking may help with knee pain. 

15. Calcium

The next item on our list of supplements and vitamins for knee pain is calcium. Calcium is the mineral that keeps your bones strong and healthy. If you have a calcium deficiency, you are at a much higher risk of osteoporosis and osteomalacia, which can cause rickets.

Rickets can cause pain and deformation in your joints, and could be a cause of knee pain, especially in children. 

Weakened bones also put you at higher risk of joint injuries, which can lead to chronic pain in your knees. If you aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet, a regular calcium supplement can help prevent calcium deficiency.

16. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins for knee pain, and can protect against the development and progression of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This is because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and also plays a role in your body’s immune system.

According to studies, vitamin C may moderate the autoimmune response in rheumatoid arthritis, which can keep the condition from getting worse. 

As if that weren’t enough, vitamin C plays a significant role in collagen synthesis, so taking vitamin C and collagen together can be especially beneficial for your joints. 

17. Vitamin D

Another one of the best vitamins for knee pain is vitamin D. Vitamin D is well known for supporting bone health, and some research suggests that taking a vitamin D supplement may help with arthritis pain.

Vitamin D also naturally helps you to retain calcium, which is beneficial for your joint health. Make sure to check with your doctor before supplementing with vitamin D, as it can interact with several medications.

18. Vitamin K

Next on our list of vitamins for knee pain is Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps keep your cartilage and bone functioning properly. As such, it's a very important vitamin for your joints.  

If you have low levels of vitamin K, you may experience an increased progression of osteoarthritis, and studies suggest that supplementation with vitamin K can be helpful in battling arthritis symptoms.

19. Vitamin E

The last of our recommended vitamins for knee pain is vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant, and some research has indicated that vitamin E may slow the progression of osteoarthritis – and even promote the growth of new cartilage cells. 

Just as with glucosamine, however, vitamin E can interact with blood thinners, so if you are on any, you should confirm with your doctor before supplementing with vitamin E. 

Now you know what vitamins are good for knee pain, but you certainly don’t need to take every single one of the supplements on this list. So which of them is the best to take?

The best daily supplement for joints

Far and away, the best supplement you can take for joint health is collagen. Collagen has numerous benefits compared to the other supplements and vitamins for knee pain on our list – which mostly aim at reducing inflammation.

Instead of masking the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other knee pain culprits, collagen can actively heal your joints. By making your knees stronger, and improving the health of your cartilage, collagen truly can make a marked difference on chronic knee issues.

Of course, not all collagen supplements are the same. If you want the best collagen for joints, you need to make sure your supplement is hydrolyzed or nano-hydrolyzed. This will ensure that the molecules in your supplement are small enough to be absorbed and utilized easily. 

You also need to check that there are no additives or excess sugars in your supplement. In general, supplements are not FDA regulated, so there could be all manner of questionable ingredients in some supplements.

If you want a truly tested and trusted collagen supplement for knee pain, look for a medical-grade collagen supplement. Medical-grade collagen is FDA regulated and trusted by medical professionals for use in hospitals across the country. 

If you’re looking for the most effective supplements and vitamins for knee pain, a high-quality collagen supplement should absolutely be part of your regimen.