CAN SUPPLEMENTS HELP?
IT'S BEST TO get nutrients from a well-balanced diet. But certain supplements that complement your diet can help prevent joint pain, especially for those who have nutrient deficiencies in their blood work or who follow more limited diets, like vegans, says Leslie Bonci, RD, owner of Active Eating Advice and co-author of Bike Your Butt Off. They’re part of the long game—in fact, it can take two to three months to see results. “It’s not like taking Advil,” Bonci says. “It takes some time and consistent use to see a difference.”
COLLAGEN / Collagen can help repair and grow cartilage, which helps joints move smoothly. In a 2021 study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers found that taking a supplement reduced the amount of activity-related knee joint pain. Go for one with vitamin C, says Bonci. “Taking at least 15 grams of collagen with about 50 milligrams of vitamin C daily seems to stimulate cartilage,” she says.
BOSWELLIA SERRATA AND CURCUMIN / These two anti-inflammatory ingredients can be protective, says Bonci. One hundred to 250 daily milligrams of boswellia, a gum resin extract, was deemed to be an effective and safe treatment for people with inflammatory joint disease in a 2020 meta-analysis published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. And 1.5 daily grams of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, could help boost performance by reducing inflammation, pain, and muscle damage, according to a 2020 review in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
TAMARIND AND CURCUMIN
/ Tamarind is a tropical fruit with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. “The combination of that with curcumin could be beneficial,” says Bonci. In fact, taking Tamaflex (which combines the two) daily for 90 days was shown to provide substantial relief from knee pain after physical activity and improved joint function in non-arthritic adults in a 2019 study published in The International Journal of Medical Sciences.