Elevate Your Joint Health: Best Joint Supplements for UK Seniors Revealed
This article discusses the best joint supplements for UK seniors (based on science). You will also learn tips for living with joint pain.
If you have been struggling with persistent joint pain, you are not alone. According to the NHS, joint pain affects nearly 8 million people in the UK. (1) Though people of all ages can get it, the risk is higher among people older than 50. (2)
No cure is available. However, treatments—medications, exercise, weight loss, and supportive devices—can help relieve pain and swelling.
Though medications are effective, they have their downsides. For instance, pain medications—NSAIDs—can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. (3)
Even worse, because joint pain is a long-lasting condition, you may have to take medications for prolonged periods. Doing so only increases the risk of severe side effects.
Globally, the bone and joint health supplement market, which stood at USD 11.7 billion in 2022, is projected to reach over USD 17 billion by 2027. (4)
Many people, especially older adults, often look for alternatives or supplements to boost their joint health. However, it would help if you understood that supplements are not a substitute for doctor-prescribed medicines.
Moreover, not all supplements are created equal. The market is flooded with numerous products that claim miraculous benefits.
Sadly, that’s not how things work. Only those supplements with science-backed benefits are the ones that actually work.
If you or anyone you love is concerned about joint health, we are here to help you.
Over 8 million people aged 45 years and older live with joint pain, reports Arthritis Research UK. (5) If you are one of them, here’s what you should know about the best joint supplements for UK seniors.
This comprehensive guide lists the key ingredients for older adults so you can make an informed choice and continue doing what you love.
Vitamin C is critical for maintaining joint health in people with osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a degenerative disease in which the tissues that line your joints break down, leading to joint pain and swelling. It is also called “wear and tear” arthritis.
Also called ascorbic acid, this water-soluble vitamin is a powerful antioxidant.
It is one of the most extensively studied nutrients for OA, and numerous studies have shown promising results.
For example, in a 2011 study, American researchers revealed that participants who received vitamin C supplements were 11% less likely to get OA than those who did not. (6)
Similar results were observed in a 2019 study involving individuals 65 years or older. The most notable finding of the study was that people with the lowest vitamin C intake were 3 times more likely to get OA than those with the highest vitamin C intake. (7)
Turmeric is one of the best joint supplements for older adults.
Curcumin, the main bioactive chemical in turmeric, has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.
Notably, studies have shown that 8 to 12 weeks of 1000 mg/day of curcumin) treatment can reduce pain and swelling. The results are similar to those of ibuprofen (Nurofen) and diclofenac (Dicloflex). (8)
Moreover, in a 2022 review, investigators noted that participants with different types of joint pain experienced improved pain and swelling with oral curcumin and turmeric extracts. The doses in these studies ranged from 120 mg to 1500 mg for 4 to 36 weeks. (9)
According to Mayo Clinic, turmeric is generally safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 8 grams. (10)
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that keeps your skin, joints, and bones healthy.
As you age, your joints gradually break down. Specifically, the spongy tissue that lubricates your joints—cartilage—starts to erode. Collagen supplementation is shown to help prevent cartilage loss or even restore normal cartilage function.
In a 2016 review, Brazilian researchers found hydrolyzed collagen supplements help reduce pain and restore bone density in osteoporosis (fragile bones) and osteoarthritis. (11)
Likewise, another 2019 review shows that collagen supplementation dramatically reduces stiffness. (12)
Collagen helps maintain joint health in older adults by: (13)
- Helping your body make cartilage proteins and other substances
- Preserving cartilage structure
- Improving joint mobility
- Reducing inflammation in the joints
The doses of hydrolyzed collagen in most studies range from 5 g/day to 10 g/day.
Glucosamine is a natural substance present in your cartilage. Your body needs glucosamine to make and repair cartilage.
As a supplement, glucosamine comes in several (but not interchangeable) forms:
- Glucosamine sulphate
- Glucosamine hydrochloride
- N-acetyl glucosamine
Among these, oral glucosamine sulphate is popular among seniors with joint issues.
Researchers believe that glucosamine stimulates the production of collagen and other substances that make joint cartilage and joint fluid.
Studies also note that glucosamine supplementation may protect your joints by preserving cartilage, especially in athletes.
For instance, in a 2019 study, collegiate soccer players and professional rugby players who took glucosamine for 3 months experienced significantly decreased cartilage breakdown. (14)
Chondroitin is a naturally occurring substance. In addition to being a critical component of cartilage, chondroitin also helps maintain cartilage health by:
- Blocking enzymes that break down cartilage
- Absorbing water into the connective tissue
Chondroitin is extensively studied, either alone or with glucosamine, and the results are promising. Some people consider the combination one of the best joint supplements on the market.
For example, a 2018 review found oral chondroitin supplementation more effective than placebo for reducing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. (15)
Likewise, another 2020 review revealed that chondroitin improved symptoms in people with OA of the hip, knee, and hand. Moreover, supplementation also decreased the need for NSAIDs. (16)
Joint pain can make daily tasks challenging. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help relieve pain and stiffness, such as:
This might sound counterintuitive, but exercise is shown to benefit people with joint pain in many ways. Exercise can: (17)
- Keep your joints lubricated and nourished
- Reduce joint pain and stiffness
- Improve balance and flexibility
- Lower stress
- Increase pain tolerance
Choose exercises that are safe for your joints. Examples include swimming, tai chi, walking, dancing, and low-impact exercises.
Click here to learn how you can exercise with joint pain.
Eating well not only nourishes your entire body but also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Make sure to eat different foods from all 5 food groups:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Starchy foods – like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
- Meat, fish, eggs and beans
- Milk and dairy foods
- Foods containing fat and sugar
Click here to learn how to eat well for health.
Excess weight places extra pressure on your joints, increasing pain and limiting mobility. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial to maintaining a healthy weight.
Find tips to lose weight here.
Repetitive stress can make your joint pain worse. Moreover, a new joint injury can make you more likely to get joint problems later in life.
Some tips include:
- Hold heavy objects closer to your body.
- If you have an option to slide an item, don’t lift it.
- Use stronger joints while lifting heavy objects.
- Avoid activities that place extra stress on your joints. For instance, walk instead of running or jogging.
- Consider using supportive devices if needed and applicable, like a brace for your painful knee.
- Treat a joint injury immediately.
- NHS inform. “Arthritis | NHS Inform.” NHS Inform, 3 Mar. 2023, www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/muscle-bone-and-joints/conditions/arthritis/#.
- “Osteoarthritis.” National Institute on Aging, www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoarthritis#.
- Learn About Pain Meds for Osteoarthritis. www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/comparing-pain-meds-for-osteoarthritis.
- “Bone and Joint Health Supplements Market Size, Share, Trends [Latest].” MarketsandMarkets, www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/bone-joint-health-supplements-market-67838616.html.
- Arthritis Research UK. Osteoarthritis in General Practice. https://www.versusarthritis.org/media/2115/osteoarthritis-in-general-practice.pdf
- Peregoy, Jennifer, and Frances Vaughn Wilder. “The effects of vitamin C supplementation on incident and progressive knee osteoarthritis: a longitudinal study.” Public health nutrition vol. 14,4 (2011): 709-15. doi:10.1017/S1368980010001783
- Jeong, Youngseok et al. “Relationship of sociodemographic and anthropometric characteristics, and nutrient and food intakes with osteoarthritis prevalence in elderly subjects with controlled dyslipidaemia: a cross-sectional study.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition vol. 28,4 (2019): 837-844. doi:10.6133/apjcn.201912_28(4).0021
- Daily, James W et al. “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 19,8 (2016): 717-29. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.3705
- Zeng, Liuting et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin and Curcuma longa Extract in the Treatment of Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trial.” Frontiers in immunology vol. 13 891822. 22 Jul. 2022, doi:10.3389/fimmu.2022.891822
- (Torborg, Liza. “Mayo Clinic Q and A: Turmeric’S Anti-inflammatory Properties May Relieve Arthritis Pain.” Mayo Clinic News Network, 26 Jan. 2020, newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-turmerics-anti-inflammatory-properties-may-relieve-arthritis-pain)
- Porfírio, Elisângela, and Gustavo Bernardes Fanaro. “Collagen Supplementation as a Complementary Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review.” Revista Brasileira De Geriatria E Gerontologia, vol. 19, no. 1, Feb. 2016, pp. 153–64. https://doi.org/10.1590/1809-9823.2016.14145.
- García-Coronado, Juan Mario et al. “Effect of collagen supplementation on osteoarthritis symptoms: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials.” International orthopaedics vol. 43,3 (2019): 531-538. doi:10.1007/s00264-018-4211-5
- Martínez-Puig, Daniel et al. “Collagen Supplementation for Joint Health: The Link between Composition and Scientific Knowledge.” Nutrients vol. 15,6 1332. 8 Mar. 2023, doi:10.3390/nu15061332
- Nagaoka, Isao et al. “Chondroprotective action of glucosamine, a chitosan monomer, on the joint health of athletes.” International journal of biological macromolecules vol. 132 (2019): 795-800. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.03.234
- Zhu, Xiaoyue et al. “Effectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research vol. 13,1 170. 6 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1186/s13018-018-0871-5
- Reginster, JY., Veronese, N. Highly purified chondroitin sulfate: a literature review on clinical efficacy and pharmacoeconomic aspects in osteoarthritis treatment. Aging Clin Exp Res 33, 37–47 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01643-8
- Department of Health & Human Services. “Arthritis and Exercise.” Better Health Channel, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/arthritis-and-exercise.