The 10 Best
Natural Pain Relievers
Omega 3 fish oil is at the top of my list because of the extensive research on its anti-inflammatory properties. Dozens of studies have shown a connection between a higher intake of omega-3 and reduced levels of inflammation.
But you must choose a high-quality fish oil and take a therapeutic sized dose to get these effects. Look for a brand that’s micro-filtered to get rid of mercury and other toxins, cold processed to preserve the nutrients, and one that gives you enough EPA/DHA to make a difference.
I personally recommend Metagenics OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720. It provides 430 mg of EPA and 290 mg of DHA in each 1,250 mg capsule of fish oil. I take two a day. My wife takes 4 capsules a day to get a serious therapeutic dose for her ankle arthritis, as recommended by her naturopathic doctor.
Yes, glucosamine is the granddaddy of joint pain supplements and there is conflicting research on whether it helps with arthritis pain or not. Some people swear by it and get excellent results. Other people do not seem to get much relief (more on that below…and how you can improve your results).
However, glucosamine is the ONLY supplement with scientific evidence of actually healing your joint cartilage. This was proven by x-rays in a published scientific study.
Researchers gave glucosamine to patients in two separate placebo-controlled studies. They measured the space between their knee joints using x-rays. At the end of the study, there was significantly more space between joints.
That’s important because having more space between your joints can mean less “bone-on-bone” grinding. And that means less pain and bone degeneration.
There are many forms of glucosamine. Unfortunately, companies will sometimes “cheap out” by using an inferior form. Look for glucosamine sulfate 2KCl – a water-soluble form that is more easily absorbed. And take a full 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate per day. That’s the same amount used in the clinical trials.
You’ve probably heard of turmeric, the popular Indian spice that gives curry its distinctive flavor. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to fight inflammation and joint pain.
Turmeric is very effective at fighting COX-2, an enzyme that triggers your body’s inflammatory response. Turmeric blocks other nasty enzymes that eat away at your cartilage and increase your pain. These enzymes include interleukins and TNF-alpha.
But the big problem with turmeric is that goes through your body very quickly.It only lasts about 3 hours, then you have to take more.
That’s why I recommend a new form of curcumin that’s up to 59 times more effective than ordinary curcumin. You can read more about it here.
Boswellia has also been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese medicine to maintain healthy joints. It works by increasing blood flow to your joints. It also slows down your body’s production of chemicals called leukotrienes, which trigger inflammation.
The problem with Boswellia is that it’s very difficult to absorb. Yet now, this ancient balm has been made many times more powerful by modern science.
Scientists have created a new, concentrated form that contains 60 times the amount of boswellic acid. They call it 5-Loxin.® This new super boswellia works much better.
- It helps reduce 5-LOX, a nasty enzyme that contributes to inflammation;
- It smothers another enzyme called MMP-3. MMP-3 eats away at the cartilage in your joints. Just a tiny amount of MMP-3 can cause serious pain. But 5-Loxin® helps keep it at bay.
As a result, in scientific studies, 5-Loxin® has been able to deliver clinically proven pain relief in as little as 7 days, which is remarkable for a natural remedy.
I recommend taking at least 200 mg. of 5-Loxin® per day.
Boron – as calcium fructoborate
Boron has an interesting story. A scientist in Australia named Rex Newnham had arthritis and started looking for a solution to his own pain.
Because of his chemistry and plant expertise, he knew that plants needed boron to metabolize calcium. So he wondered if taking boron might help his arthritis.
He started taking a common household cleaner called Borax. Three weeks later, his arthritis pain was gone — and it didn’t come back. What’s more, his swelling and stiffness were gone too.
In 1994, Dr. Newnham published a study that looked at the worldwide causes of osteoarthritis. He found that in areas of the world where the intake of the trace mineral boron is very low, 1.0 mg or less per day, the rate of osteoarthritis ranges from 20–70%. But in places where the intake of boron is higher, 3–10 mg a day, the rate of arthritis plunges down to nearly zero.
Later, researchers experimented with giving boron as a supplement to people with arthritis. After just 7 days of taking this mineral, every single marker of painful inflammation was significantly reduced. The mineral also triggered the rebuilding of cartilage and bone. This amount of pain relief is surprising for a natural substance.
Boron also promotes healthy levels of synovial fluid – the cushioning liquid between your joints. This helps your joints flex and move with ease.
There’s a new type of boron that dramatically increases bioavailability. It’s called Fruitex-B® Calcium Fructoborate.
Plus, there’s another big benefit to taking calcium fructoborate. It makes glucosamine work even better. 25% better for pain relief and cartilage healing. So if you’ve taken glucosamine before and haven’t felt much of a difference, not having enough boron could be why.
Take at least 5 mg. of calcium fructoborate per day.
White Willow Bark
You probably know that natural pain relievers don’t work as fast as popping an Advil® or Tylenol®. They have to build up in your system for days or weeks before you start to feel the effects.
However, there is one natural remedy that works faster than others. It contains an active ingredient called salicin. Salicin is similar to aspirin. Which is why this substance is often called “nature’s aspirin.”
This natural remedy is called white willow bark. White willow bark starts working in as little as 2 hours. It helps relieve your pain, repair your cartilage, and even helps protect the cells in your joints from further damage.
White willow bark also has plant compounds called flavonoids and polyphenols that add to its pain-relieving power. Plus, it’s well-tolerated and won’t churn up your stomach, even if you take it for a long time.
If you want to start feeling relief from your arthritis pain quickly, then I recommend you take at least 500 mg. of white willow bark per day.
To grow healthy new cartilage, you need a substance called glycosaminoglycans. Let’s call them “glycos” for short.
Glycos are complex molecules found in cartilage. They’re like “glue” that holds your joints and connective tissue together. But for glycos to be sticky, they need sulphur. And your body gets sulfur from MSM.
Even on its own, MSM can help keep inflammation at bay and add to your joint comfort. As a powerful antioxidant, it fights damage from free radicals in your joints, especially after exercise.
But the news about MSM gets even better…
Because when you combine MSM with our old favorite, glucosamine, you may get even better relief from your joint pain.
Researchers discovered this with a double-blind, placebo-controlled study—the gold standard for research. They gave patients with joint pain either glucosamine, MSM or both. Within just a few weeks, patients reported feeling less pain and less inflammation. And the combination of both nutrients worked even better.
I recommend you take between 1,500 mg. to 3,000 mg. of MSM spread out over the course of a day.
Ginger is another time-tested nutrient that people in India have taken for joint pain for centuries.
A University of Miami study found that ginger extract may work as effectively as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve your joint pain. They gave a concentrated ginger extract to 247 patients with arthritis in their knees. The ginger extract reduced pain and stiffness by 40 percent versus a placebo.
Other studies have shown that ginger may be comparable to ibuprofen in terms of its effectiveness. Another study found that consuming either raw or heated ginger can reduce muscle pain after an injury.
I recommend taking at least 250 mg. of ginger extract per day, spread out throughout the day.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “It’s not what you eat that counts. It’s what you absorb.”
As we get older, our digestive systems slow down and we don’t absorb vitamins and minerals and nutrients as well as we used to. But now there’s a way to improve that.
Scientists have discovered there’s a substance in black pepper called piperine that “heats up” your metabolism. This can improve your digestion and your ability to absorb vital nutrients.
And now a company has created a new, concentrated form of this active black pepper ingredient called BioPerine®. In clinical studies, it’s had some pretty impressive results. For example…
– It boosted the absorption rate of every single vitamin, mineral, botanical, and nutrient they tested it with.
– It boosted the bioavailability of turmeric (curcumin) by a whopping 2,000%. Yes, that’s 20 times the absorption rate. And it slowed down the rate at which curcumin was eliminated from the body, too.
So if you have been taking any type of supplement for joint pain but haven’t felt much of a difference, BioPerine® could change all that. It could make your joint pain supplements work up to 20 times better. I recommend taking at least 7.5 mg. of BioPerine® daily.
As you may know, there’s a substance that forms the “building blocks” of virtually every part of your body.
It forms up to 60% of the cartilage in your joints. Up to 80% of the tendons that attach your muscles to your bones. Up to one-third of your bone mass. It also helps keep your skin soft…your hair shining and lustrous…and even plays a role in keeping your stomach, blood vessels and heart strong.
So what is this amazing substance? It’s called collagen…and it’s the most abundant protein in your body. You need collagen to create and repair just about every tissue and organ. It’s literally the “glue” that holds your body together.
You’ve got loads of collagen when you’re young. But once you turn 25, your body starts to make less and less of it.And by the time you’re 60 years old…you may have lost nearly HALF the collagen in your body…and your ability to produce more of it.
Getting more collagen as you get older can help. You can get collagen from bone broth, from gelatin (Jello). And you can get it from using a collagen supplement powder.
There are different types of collagen, each composed of different amino acids. The collagen from cows happens to be similar to the collagen we have in our own bodies. Three types of collagen—Type I, Type II, and Type III—comprise about 90 percent of all the collagen in the human body. Bovine collagen supplements typically contain Type I and Type III.
You should also look for “hydrolized” collagen—which has been broken up into its tiniest parts (called “peptides”) that are more easily absorbed by your body.
Studies have shown that Type II collagen—which is from chicken—is effective at fighting arthritis pain.
In a randomized, double-blind trial involving 60 patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis, consuming chicken type II collagen for 3 months decreased the number of swollen and tender joints, and several patients had a complete remission.
Another study found that supplementing with collagen on a dose of 1200 mg/day significantly decreased joint pain in patients.
You need to take at least 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen a day to make a difference with your joints. This means you’re better off using a collage protein powder—either as an ingredient in a smoothie or sprinkled on top of cereal, soups, or other dishes.
Since collage powder comes from animal or fish sources, you’ll want to be sure how the brand you’re buying smells and tastes. Make sure your brand can either be masked by whatever you’re mixing it with. Or buy a chocolate or vanilla-flavored brand if you plan to get your collagen in smoothies.
Best Combination Formulas
Of course, it’s easier and cheaper to get many of these nutrients in one formula. This also saves you from having to buy several different bottles and keep track of replenishing them all.
Here are several combination formulas that I’d recommend:
Advanced Joint Support
From Advanced Bionutritionals. This 7-in-1 joint support formula contains herbs and nutrients including:
Glucosamine Sulfate KCl 1500 mg
Q-Actin® cucumber extract 20 mg
5 Loxin Boswellia 200 mg
Meriva® minimum 18% Turmeric 200 mg
White willow Bark >50% Salicin 480 mg
Boron (from Calcium Fructoborate) Fruitex-B® 5.4 mg
Yucca >30% Saponins 200 mg
BioEmblem Turmeric Curcumin Supplement with BioPerine
BioEmblem’s top-ranked formula is made with organic turmeric root powder, uses only non-GMO ingredients, and is derived from natural and whole food sources. This formula incorporates an extra strength extract standardized to 95% curcuminoids and BioPerine to maximize absorption into the bloodstream by up 20x.
Osteo Bi-Flex Triple Strength Caplets
This reasonably-priced supplement offers a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, 5-Loxin® Boswellia, MSM, boron and even collagen.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent a disease.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to replace recommendations or advice from physicians or other health care providers. Rather, it is intended to help you make informed decisions about your health, understand alternative approaches to better health, and cooperate with your health care provider in a joint quest for optimal wellness. If you suspect you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek medical attention from a competent health care provider.
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