SS 286 – Which Joint Supplements Work?

Episode 286 Show Notes


Grant and Heavey walk through the different supplements for joint health. Know more about what type of person can expect them to work, and finally, some food sources where you can get some of those nutrients.

Have you hit a plateau in your training?   Go to to see if Heavey and his team at Evidence Based Athlete can help.

[04:40] Question on Joint Pain

This week, our question actually comes from the same guy last week who asked about the benefits of nature. 

“I struggle with lots of joint pains when my training begins to ramp up. This includes shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. Overall, my weight is not heavy when compared with people similar to me. My form is decent as well. I’ve heard that joint pain relates to joint pains related to training could be a nutrition issue. Do you guys have insights on minimizing these seemingly training related joint pains?

[05:30] Glucosamine Supplementation

It’s a common supplement that we give to dogs, especially larger dogs, that have persistent joint issues or hip dysplasia and those sorts of problems.

While there are some commonalities between good movement for everybody, there are some unique individual aspects to our movements that we need to be aware of. It could be the way a person’s body is put together that he needs to run a little differently. Or maybe he’s going too low in his squat for his body. Maybe he was trying to force himself to do “proper” form for his particular body. And perhaps, this is what’s causing issues.

[08:28] Types of Arthritis

Grant’s father has rheumatoid arthritis. It’s when your immune system starts to attack your joints causing them to get inflamed and can be very painful. In bad cases, it can be crippling, which is what’s happening to Grant’s dad. It’s life-changing and now he has to take a lot of medicine for it. 

Osteoarthritis is another issue that a lot of people deal with because anyone can get it. It’s wear-and-tear on the joints. The cartilage breaks down and is painful to move around.  

Joint pain is a really tough topic to cover because it’s caused by so many different factors. There’s not one universal approach that you can take that would be helpful for all scenarios. 

[10:50] Boswellia Plant

The Boswellia plant has been used for thousands of years. Now we’ve been able to catch up with the science and see that there is quite a lot of support to show that it is beneficial for alleviating joint pain, especially for those suffering from osteoarthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is an umbrella condition encompassing many types of joint disease, where the protective cartilage begins to wear down. Common symptoms are stiffness, swelling, and tenderness of the joints. Consider taking Boswellia alongside a meal that contains fats because that increases the bioavailability of the supplement.

[12:30] Chondroitin

Glucosamine is often paired with Chondroitin. Chondroitin is a component of cartilage. Research suggests that using Chondroitin reduces pain and increases joint mobility.

The two are often paired together because they tend to be greater than the sum of their parts and you’ll find many products that are going to combine the two supplements.

If you’re on blood thinners, be sure to consult your doctor before supplementing with chondroitin because it has an anticoagulant property.

[14:57] Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies. Current research has shown that supplementing with undenatured type II collagen can reduce swelling, stiffness and joint pains both for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There’s also evidence that pairing collagen with chondroitin is helpful for reducing joint pain and cartilage loss.

[16:02] Curcumin

Curcumin is a powerful agent for reducing inflammation. It’s the active ingredient in turmeric. The reason why there’s so much hype surrounding that particular spice, the action of curcumin on the body is very similar to the class of drugs known as insets.

Research shows that curcumin helps reduce pain and improve mobility for those with osteoarthritis. This compound also has a long history of being paired with Boswellia for alleviating joint pain.

[17:09] Fish Oil

Fish oil has been shown to help people, especially people with rheumatoid arthritis due to its immunosuppressant properties. It has been shown to be beneficial, not just for people with rheumatoid arthritis, but also for alleviating work-related joint pain.

There is a lot of value in many of the nutrients that are in cod liver oil such as Vitamins A and D. It’s got EPA, DHA, and a lot of other nutrients that are often scarce in people’s diets. If you’re somebody that eats a lot of fish, especially fatty fish, Heavey believes supplementing is probably not necessary. 

[21:00] Glucosamine

There’s a significant amount of research on glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis, similar to collagen and chondroitin. 

[22:32] Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for creating collagen so systemic low levels can contribute to joint decline. Now, if you’re a person that has healthy levels of Vitamin C, supplementing isn’t going to do anything for you.

[23:28] How Soon Can You Expect Results? 

It’s not going to be life-changing the day that you start taking fish oil, but some of these things over time can be helpful. If you’re experiencing joint pain, it’s very important to be mindful of things that you’re doing in your life where you might be overusing them. 

Joint pain commonly comes from dramatically increasing the volume of a movement. So anytime that you’re going to add a new activity to your life, it’s valuable to ramp up slowly.

[24:27] Would Stretching Help Improve Joint Mobility?

There are scenarios where stretching can be beneficial, especially if you’re having joint pains from athletic overuse. If you’re going from sedentary to exercising, then doing some stretching and mobility work in the muscles surrounding the pain may offset some of it. 

[25:59] Nutrition for Joint Pain

Incorporate fatty fish in your diet as well as bone in meats and bone broth for some collagen. Include fruits and vegetables for vitamin C. It’s not that hard. Eat whole foods and a wide variety of them to give you the nutrients that you need. 

[26:52] Scotch Talk!

For Grant’s 40th birthday, he got an Arberg 19 for his birthday present. It says smokey pineapple, chili, chocolate and wood smoke, and Grant agrees that it’s literally what you get. It’s matured in American oak and all the rest for Sherry casks. 

Usually, it’s going to be on the sweeter side and has a darker color. It was a 19-year-old whiskey with all the rest of the sherry cask. It shows what a fine touch and blending can do. It’s such a great example of the kind of flavors you can develop if you choose to approach it in a unique way.


 SS 229: When Does Collagen Supplementation Make Sense?

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