Dietary Supplements For Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis imageOsteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis. There is no cure, but there are ways to manage it. Many people also turn to supplements to help. Read on to learn about OA and supplements.

About Osteoarthritis

OA happens when the cartilage between bones wears down over time. Cartilage is the smooth tissue that cushions bones and helps them move smoothly over each other. OA is most common in the joints that support the body's weight, such as the spine, hips, and knees. It is also common in places like the hands and feet.

OA causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and problems moving. These problems are often worse after physical activity.

There is no cure for OA. Most people use self care, healthy habits, therapy, and medicine. Some people may need surgery. Others add supplements to their overall plan.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are parts of cartilage that are naturally made in the body. Glucosamine supplements comes from the exoskeletons of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. Chondroitin supplements are made from natural sources, such as shark and bovine cartilage.

When taken together, studies have found that are likely to ease pain and help people move more easily. They may cause problems in people who take blood thinners.

Other Supplements for OA

Other supplements that have been studied and are likely to ease problems from OA are:

  • Boswellia—a tree that can be taken as a pill or put on the skin as a cream
  • Carnitine—is a compound that can be taken as a pill
  • Ginger—a flowering plant with roots that are used as a spice
  • Green-lipped mussel—a shellfish from New Zealand
  • Rose Hips—come from wild rose plants and can be taken as a pill or put on the skin
  • S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)—a compound that the body uses to make energy

Your Next Move

Talk to your doctor before trying any of these methods to ease OA. Some may cause problems with other medicines you are taking or other health problems that you may have. Keep in mind that supplements are also not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This makes it hard to whether they have been made safely.


Arthritis Foundation
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine


The Arthritis Society


Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at:
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Accessed June 16, 2021.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed June 16, 2021.
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed June 16, 2021.
Osteoarthritis. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed June 16, 2021.
Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 6/16/2021

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