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The Best Joint Supplements According to Science

Joint injuries and malfunctions are some of the most prevalent concerns among active gym-goers and athletes alike. Therefore, it’s essential to take a deeper look at what the best joint supplements are and how they can help relieve nagging joint and bone issues.

Read on as this article details the biomechanics of joints, common joint injuries, and which joint supplements are proven to actually heal and bolster your joints.

What Are Joints and How Do They Work?

Before we examine what the best joint supplements are, it’s important for you to understand what joints are and how they work biomechanically. Joint are, after all, much more than just junctions for your bones.

Joints are integral for allowing your bones and muscles to move freely in different directions. For example, if your knee joint was instead replaced by one long femur bone that went all the way to your foot, you wouldn’t have the flexion or extension necessary to perform barbell squats.

People often confuse joints with tendons and ligaments since they all typically are in close proximity to each other. 

An easy way to remember what separates joints from ligaments and tendons is that joints have nothing to do with skeletal muscles (directly). Tendons and ligaments, on the contrary, are associated with skeletal muscles and have their own distinct functions.

Structure of Joints

To keep this guide of the best joint supplements simple, we will categorize joints by their structure. The majority of joint supplements work by bolstering these binding tissues:

  • Fibrous: an articulation joined by connective tissue that contains mainly collagen fibers.
  • Cartilaginous: an articulation joined by cartilage.
  • Synovial: an articulation that isn’t directly joined but instead has a synovial cavity where connective tissue forms an articular capsule.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what joints are and how to identify them, let’s take a brief looks at joint disorders and injuries that commonly show in bodybuilders, athletes, and gym-goers.

Most Common Joint Conditions and Injuries

Due to the load-bearing and other biomechanical roles that joints play, they are extremely susceptible to deterioration as we age. Specific joints might deteriorate quicker than others, especially if resistance training is part of your exercises regimen. Without proper joint supplementation, this can leave active individuals prone a number of joint conditions.

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most typical form of joint inflammation. It is a rather common problem as we age. It arises from the wear and tear of cartilaginous cells that support the end of your bones. As osteoarthritis progresses, you might face a point where bones rub directly against each other (causing severe pain).

2. Bursitis

In synovial joints, there are bursae, which are fluid-filled cavities that support your bones, muscular tissues, and tendons. When bursae swell up, typically brought on by repeated movements that aggravate them, the resulting condition is called bursitis. The most common joints to experience bursitis are the knee, hip, and shoulder.

3. Synovitis

This is a condition where the synovial membrane layer (a lubricant/liner of synovial joints) experiences excessive inflammation. This results in stiffness, pain, and visible swelling. Like bursitis, synovitis is common in the hip, knee, and shoulder.

The Best Joint Supplements: What Science Has to Say

It’s safe to say that if you’re dealing with any of the previously mentioned joint conditions, you are a candidate for using joint supplements. Even if you aren’t actively experiencing joint aches or pains, you will benefit by using the following joint supplements as a form of preventative medicine.

1. Type-II Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up roughly a third of the body’s total protein content. Type-II collagen is a primary protein in joint cartilage and is implicated in reducing the severity and risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Oral type-II collagen works as an autoantigen by inducing disease-suppressing immune cells. 

In fact, a clinical trial involving 60 patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis showed that type-II collagen supplementation significantly reduced joint tenderness and swelling after 90 days.

2. Boswellic Acids

Boswellia is a prestigious genus of trees touted for its multitude of therapeutic properties. A recent clinical trial in 30 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee demonstrated that Boswellia serrata extract supplementation significantly reduced knee pain and swelling after 8 weeks. Patients were also able to walk further pain-free and had more flexion capability in their knees.

Unfortunately, many supplements that contain Boswellia use generic extracts with minimal active ingredients (boswellic acids).

Boswellin® is a patented extract of Boswellia serrata containing over 20% total boswellic acids and over 10% in the form of Acetyl 11-Keto-β-Boswellic Acid (AKBBA). AKBBA it the most bioactive fraction of Boswellia serrata in humans; it is highly acclaimed for its ability to enhance joint function and integrity.

3. Calcium Fructoborate

Calcium fructoborate is a natural sugar-borate ester providing three forms of bioavailable boron. It has been shown that depletion of boron in soil has led to increased cases of arthritis over the last few decades; boron is integral to healthy joint and bone health.

Research suggests that calcium fructoborate is an extremely potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. While some of the mechanisms behind this nutrient remain unclear, there are several that are lucid, including:

  • Inhibition of superoxide within cells
  • Inhibition of immune factors interleukin-1β and interleukin-6
  • Increase of tumor necrosis factor-α production

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, subjects who took calcium fructoborate experienced 24% reductions in mean WOMAC score and 25% reductions in mean McGill index, two questionnaires that calculate joint function and pain, in just two weeks. The placebo group experienced no significant improvements.

The absolute best form of calcium fructoborate is FruitX-B®, which has been clinically shown to improve joint health in as little as one week.

4. Curcuminoids

Turmeric is a perennial plant belonging to the ginger family; it gives curry dishes their distinctive spicy flavor and golden hue. The root of the plant has been used in traditional medicine throughout Asia for centuries as a means of remedying nausea, diabetes, arthritis, and other health conditions. 

Curcuminoids, especially curcumin, are potent antioxidants derived from turmeric that modulate the immune system in humans.  Contemporary research also suggests that curcumin can help maintain healthy circulation and decrease joint pain, stiffness, and inflammatory response, among myriad other beneficial health properties. 

Be wary, though; curcumin isn’t well-absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Look for products that contain an absorption-enhancing ingredient, like Bioperine® black pepper fruit extract.

Looking for a Clinically Dosed Joint Supplement? Try Flex XT!

Flex XT is a clinically dosed joint, bone, and muscle supporting formula for athletes, gym-goers, and aging individuals who demand the most out of their training.

Flex XT contains only the best joint supplement ingredients that are backed by clinical research, including UC-II® undenatured type-2 collagen, curcuminoids, calcium fructoborate (as Fruite-X B®), boswellic acids (as Boswellin®), and BioFlex XTperine®.

Moreover, Flex XT bolster your joints, inhibits oxidative stress, reduces the inflammatory response, alleviates aches and pains, and much more.

Benefits and quality differences of Flex XT include:

  • Bolsters joint function and integrity
  • Supports healthy synovial fluid concentrations in articulations
  • Provides support for tendons and ligaments
  • Reduces pain associated with joint and muscle aches
  • Decreases inflammation in joints 
  • Enhances bone density
  • Highly bioavailable, patented ingredients
  • Freshness, potency, and purity guaranteed

Each bottle of Flex XT contains one month’s worth of doses and can be taken indefinitely to support joint health.

To learn more about Flex XT and how you can order, click here!

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About the author

Elliot Reimers, CNC, M.S. Candidate

I'm a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) and M.S. candidate in the Molecular Pharmacology program at Michigan State University. My undergraduate studies in the biological sciences led me to take a keen interest in research pertaining to nutritional science, exercise physiology, and dietary supplements. As such, I've been writing about these topics for the better half of the last decade. My main ambition is to educate readers and help them make sense of these evolving, yet increasingly hard to navigate, fields of study.

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