Ingredient Database

Clinical studies have shown that some ingredients in over-the-counter supplements are effective for the management of arthritis. There are a number of joint supplements on the market and an even greater array of ingredients. Some supplements have ineffective ingredients and while others don’t have enough of the ones that actually matter. We’ve gone through all of the latest research to determine which ingredients are the most important so you can make an informed decision. The following are listed in order of decreasing importance.

1. Cetyl myristoleate, cis-9-cetyl-myristoleate, or CMO

Cetyl myristoleate or cis-9-cetyl-myristoleate (CMO) is an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and has been advertised as an immune system modulator. CMO is related to omega-9 fatty acids found in olive oil. It is also found in some animals like whales, beavers, and mice but not in people which is why it is so promising. CMO was discovered in 1972 by Dr. Harry W Diehl, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, while studying why mice were immune to arthritis. It has been around for decades and is just starting to gain widespread use for osteoarthritis. Click here for our full writeup on cetyl myristoleate (CMO).

2. Glucosamine and Chondroitin

The most important ingredients of any joint supplement are glucosamine and chondroitin. These two ingredients should form the foundation of any formula. These two ingredients provide your chondrocytes (the only cells present in cartilage) with the building blocks they need no synthesize and repair cartilage. Quality varies dramatically: there’s everything from USP (pharmaceutical) grade glucosamine hydrochloride to low-quality glucosamine sulfate. For an explanation of the difference see this post.

3. Boron

Boron is one vital element that is often overlooked in joint supplement formulations. It plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of bones and therefore, the progression of arthritis. According to a article in Environmental Health Perspective, “in areas of the world where dietary boron intake is usually 1 mg or less per day, the estimated incidence of osteoarthritis ranges from 20 to 70 percent, while in areas of the world where boron intake is 3 to 10 mg per day, the incidence of osteoarthritis is only zero to 10 percent.” Boron is essential not only for the prevention of osteoarthritis but for its treatment as well.

4. Avocado Soy Unsaponifiables

Avocado Soy Unsaponfiables (ASU) are derived form the healthy oils of soybeans and avocadoes. ASUs are the fraction of avocado and soybean oils which after hydrolysis, do not turn into soap. These “unsaponifiables” are phytosterol/sterolin extracts which have been found to be very promising in the treatment of osteoarthritis and other inflammation-related disorders. Interestingly, ASU is already prescribed in France as a widely accepted treatment called PiasclĂ©dine. In one study of its effectiveness, “three hundred sixty one patients were eligible for evaluation. One hundred eighty three received ASU 300 mg once daily, one hundred seventy eight chondroitin sulfate three times daily. The WOMAC-index decreased in both groups for approx. 50% to the end of therapy.” Click here for our full writeup on Avocado Soy Unsaponifiables.

5. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a vital source of sulfur which is commonly used for the synthesis of proteins and connective tissue. According to a broad review of most alternative treatments for arthritis, “MSM provides moderate evidence of efficacy for knee OA.” Click here for our full writeup on MSM.

6. Boswellia serrata

Boswellia serrata has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of arthritis. It consists of various boswellic acids and is a potent anti-inflammatory, capable of inhibiting the 5-LOX inflammatory enzymes. The most active component of Boswellia serrata is a form of boswellic acid called acetyl-11-keto-beta boswellic acid or AKBA for short. The only standardized extract that provides sufficient amounts of AKBA is a patented extract called 5-LOXIN. Click here for our full writeup on Boswellia serrata.

7. Curcumin

Curcumin is a compound in tumeric, a root commonly used in India to season curries, which has displayed antiarthritic properties. One study found that rats injected with circuminoids displayed greater resistance to induced rheumatoid arthritis. Click here to see the full writeup on curcumin.

8. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is normally present in synovial fluid (the lubricating fluid within joints) as well as other connective tissue. and provides relief when injected directly. Many people swear by the oral supplement and is a good inclusion in any joint formula.

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