Many people with knee osteoarthritis have heard that different supplements may ease symptoms, or even prevent cartilage from degenerating. Is any of this information true?

Once the knee joint cartilage degenerates, it's irreversible. But treatment can ease symptoms and slow degeneration. Watch: Knee Osteoarthritis Video

A new study weighed in on the potential benefits of vitamin D supplements—and found that they don’t seem to help.

The new randomized, controlled study—which included 400 participants and lasted 2 years—found no decrease in pain or improvement in knee cartilage condition for those with knee OA who took vitamin D supplements, compared with those who took a placebo.1


4 supplements that may ease arthritis pain

If vitamin D doesn’t seem to help ease arthritis symptoms, what supplements do? Research is still ongoing and there’s no definite proof to support a supplement as treatment for OA.

See Dietary Supplements for Treating Arthritis

But there are 4 supplements that have been well researched and, so far, seem to offer benefits to those with arthritis:

  1. Turmeric (curcumin)

    This root, commonly used in Indian cooking, has several different anti-inflammatory properties that seem to counteract arthritis symptoms. To get the most from curcumin, experts recommend 200 to 1000 mg of curcumin per day of a product labeled as containing 95% curcuminoids.

    See Turmeric and Curcumin for Arthritis

  2. Ginger

    Ginger and turmeric are part of the same plant family, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that ginger also has helpful anti-inflammatory properties. Recommended dosage is a 100 to 225 mg ginger capsule daily.

    See Add Ginger to Help Arthritis Pain

  3. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate

    These supplements are believed to promote cartilage formation and repair. But research is mixed about its benefits, and some experts believe they may not be effective for everyone.

    See Summary of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Studies

  4. Fish oil

    Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have lots of great anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re not interested in fish oil supplements, you can also try following an anti-inflammatory diet that’s rich in foods like fish and dark, leafy greens.

    See What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA and also can interfere with some medications, so talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement to make sure it’s right for you.

Learn more:

Do Curcumin Supplements Have Drawbacks?

The Ins and Outs of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet


  • 1.Jin X, Jones G, Cicuttini F, et al. Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Tibial Cartilage Volume and Knee Pain Among Patients With Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016;315(10):1005-1013. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1961. Written from abstract.