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10 Best Supplements and Vitamins for Runners Joints

10 Best Supplements and Vitamins for Runners Joints

Written by Isabel Mayfield | Fact checked by Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Last update: May 8, 2023
9 min

We’ve heard runners complain about knee pain and joint health. What if there was an easy way to relieve joint inflammation? Read on to discover the top 10 best joint supplements for runners.

best supplements for runners joints

Regular running can provide fantastic health benefits and is an excellent sport to keep the human body performing optimally. It increases energy, helps weight management, and encourages mental well-being.

Yet, we’ve all heard of “runners’ joints.” Running is a high-impact sport. Overtraining, or improper injury prevention, may cause runners to experience joint pain. New and experienced runners suffer from pain in the hips, knees, ankles, spine, and big toes.

But joint pain doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your favorite sport. Sure, rest days are essential. Yet, joint supplements will relieve pain and prepare your body to work out again. Read our top joint health supplement reviews to improve your running performance.

Why Is It Recommended to Use Joint Supplements for Runners?

While running has many benefits for your body, it can cause injuries and stress. Joint pain relief supplements and vitamins have many benefits for runners. Here are a few reasons you might consider easing joint pain with supplements.

  • High-impact sport: As a high-impact sport, runners’ joints are more prone to injury. This is especially the case around the knees, ankles, and hips. Supplements strengthen bone health and cartilage tissue to improve injury prevention.
  • Range of motion: Many runners suffer from a lack of flexibility. This can cause poor form when running. Joint supplements can improve your range of motion and running performance, preventing joint pain.
  • Recovery times: Delayed onset muscle soreness can make it hard to convince yourself to complete your training program. Joint health supplements can reduce pain and encourage quicker recovery.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Research suggests that people with arthritis might benefit from high-intensity exercise. Running has a protective effect against arthritis. Taking joint health supplements with anti-inflammatory properties might ease joint function.

10 Best Supplements for Runners Joints

The body is like a machine, with many moving parts. Sometimes recovery rest days and healthy nutrition aren’t enough. So what is the best joint supplement for athletes?

Our top choices are scientifically proven to reduce joint pain and support athletic performance. The 10 best joint supplements for runners include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Fish oil and omega-3s
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • Vitamins B6 and B12
  • Type 2 collagen
  • Turmeric
  • Glucosamine
  • Iron
  • Glucosamine sulfate
  • Hyaluronic acid

Read on to discover each supplement’s pros and cons and how they provide relief for your joint pain.

#1 Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplements promote skin and bone health. Additionally, they help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D ensures you maintain a pearly white smile and helps runners look after their joint health.

Many people get all the vitamin D they need from the sun. Yet, people in the northern parts may need to take supplements during winter. Or, you can get small doses of vitamin D through fish, shellfish, egg yolk, fortified milk, yogurt, orange juice, and cereals.

Insufficient vitamin D can cause osteoporosis. It might also lead to stress-related fractures and skeletal diseases, among other conditions. Weak or soft bones may impact your running performance and lead to increased injury risk or joint problems. Runners should consider vitamin D joint health supplements to avoid joint pain, especially if they don’t see much sunlight.

Recommended dose: 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D for people aged 1–70 years and 800 IU for people over 70 years.


  • Increases bone health
  • Prevents stress-related injuries
  • Prevents degenerative bone disease

Side effects:

Too much vitamin D may cause the following side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Kidney damage

#2 Fish oil and omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential ingredients for healthy joints. Cold-water oily fish, such as salmon, herring, and sardines, are the best sources of omega 3. You can also find them in chia seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds.

Omega-3 fats contain EPA and DHA that help maintain normal brain, heart, and eye functions. Omega-3 supplements have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These reduce delayed onset muscle soreness and increase blood flow to speed up recovery times. Well-oiled, healthy muscles can prevent joint stiffness and reduce the chances of injuries.

One study found that subjects taking fish oil supplements were less stiff and sore and had a higher range of motion after exercise.

Recommended dose: 1.1 grams for females and 1.6 grams for males


  • Relieve joint pain
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve muscle recovery
  • Reduce inflammation around sore joints
  • Keep joints lubricated
  • Improve bone and joint health
  • Prevent osteoporosis and arthritis

Side effects:

Too much omega-3 may cause the following side effects:

  • Stomach upset
  • Loose stools
  • Nausea

#3 Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-based supplement with pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. A 2017 study found that runners taking MSM recovered quicker from muscle and joint pain after completing a half-marathon.

MSM forms collagen, which helps build cartilage. Cartilage tissue is an essential protective layer around joints and bones. This supplement is also beneficial for your hair.

As you get older, your body produces less collagen. Runners need healthy joints and cartilage for physical activity. They might need MSM joint supplements to produce the necessary collagen to help keep runner knees and joints healthy and strong.

You can find MSM in fruit, tea, coffee, and milk. Still, many of us need to take MSM as a joint supplement to receive the recommended intake. Those suffering from knee pain or other joint issues might consider taking MSM to fight inflammation.

Recommended dose: There are no recommended optimal doses for MSM. Most people can tolerate up to 4 grams of MSM.


  • Reduces joint pain
  • Can help battle osteoarthritis
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Improves joint mobility
  • Speeds up muscle recovery and stress

Side effects:

Too much MSM may cause the following side effects:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions
  • Stomach upset
  • Trouble sleeping

#4 Vitamins B6 and B12

Vitamins B6 and B12 can help:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Energy balance
  • Protein metabolism

These are all essential functions for runners.

Vitamin B12 aids other supplements and nutrients. Deficiencies can impair performance and endurance, which increases joint injury chances. Vitamin B6 helps transport oxygen around the body and convert proteins into energy.

If you have poor joint health, consider taking vitamins B6 and B12 to maintain health.

Recommended dose:

  • B6: 1.2–1.5mg for females; 1.3–1.7mg for males
  • B12: 1.8–2.4mg


  • Promote brain health
  • Boost immune system
  • Decrease joint pain
  • Reduce inflammation around the joints and muscles
  • Improve energy levels
  • Support bones and prevent osteoporosis

Side effects:

Too much B6 and B12 may cause the following side effects:

  • A lack of muscle control
  • Heartburn and nausea
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Numbness
  • Reduced pain or temperature sensitivity
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or weakness

#5 Type 2 collagen

Collagen is a fibrous protein found in bones and connective tissues. We mostly need 3 types:

  • Type 1: Reinforce bone construction
  • Type 2: Used in cartilage; has a rigid construction that helps shock absorption
  • Type 3: Major component in internal organs and skin

Collagen can reduce injuries and enhance recovery in runners and athletes. Shock absorption and cartilage preservation prevents knee pain and reduces joint pain. Collagen production is natural, but nutrition and joint pain supplements can boost collagen.

Those with recent injuries might take a joint collagen supplement to support connective tissue repair. Collagen-rich foods include: 

  • Bone broth
  • Egg
  • Meat
  • Fish

Recommended dose: 5 grams per day to improve bone density


  • Bone loss prevention
  • Keeps joints lubricated
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Preserves cartilage
  • Supports injury recovery

Side effects:

Too much collagen may cause the following side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues
  • Fatigue

#6 Turmeric

Turmeric is a staple in many curry recipes, but did you know it can act as a joint supplement?

Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory molecules called curcumin. This can prevent chronic inflammation in knee arthritis or runners’ joint pain. Turmeric is particularly beneficial in treating acute joint pain. 

Recommended dose: 4 grams per day. Supplements are better than powder to reap the full benefits as they contain a 95% concentration of curcumin.


  • Contributes to the normal function of joints
  • Helps with acute joint pain relief
  • Helps aid digestion
  • Treats arthritis
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Positive effects on brain function and cardiovascular health

Side effects:

Too much turmeric may cause the following side effects:

  • Digestive issues
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

#7 Glucosamine

Glucosamine is an amino sugar found in cartilage. Glucosamine supplements can relieve knee osteoarthritis and joint pain and help heart health.

The supplement encourages cartilage production – essential for high-impact sports like running. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and provides pain relief. Moreover, research suggests that glucosamine supplements are likely effective at relieving osteoarthritis. It is particularly good for knee pain and slowing the breakdown of joints.

Recommended dose: 1,250–1,500mg per day for best results


  • Pain management
  • Slows joint deterioration
  • Supports joint health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Relieves knee osteoarthritis

Side effects:

Too much glucosamine may cause the following side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Headache
  • Nausea

#8 Iron

Iron is crucial for runners. It supports oxygen flow, energy levels, and performance. One of the most-known symptoms of iron deficiency is fatigue. When we’re feeling tired, our running style and endurance will suffer. So, you may not practice proper form, which can lead to strains and injuries – especially around joints.

Food is a good source of iron. You can get iron from meat, liver, soybeans, vegetables, and fortified grain products.

If you suffer from joint pain and are iron deficient, supplements could help you make it to the finish line in good condition.

Recommended dose: 8–15mg for females; 8–11mg for males


  • Treats fatigue
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Supports energy levels
  • Improves mental performance

Side effects:

Too much iron may cause the following side effects:

  • Backache or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

#9 Glucosamine sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate (GS) is a sugar molecule that comes from shellfish and also occurs within the body. You’ll find large concentrations of GS in joints and cartilage. Athletes might consider taking glucosamine sulfate supplements to ease joint stress. Moreover, GS can treat painful conditions arising from chronic joint pain or osteoarthritis.

Recommended dose: 900–1,500mg per day


  • Delays osteoarthritis
  • Increases the range of motion
  • Reduces collagen breakdown
  • Slows joint degeneration
  • Decreases joint pain
  • Supports joint lubrication

Side effects:

Too much glucosamine sulfate may cause the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Skin reactions
  • Headaches

#10 Hyaluronic acid

Taking hyaluronic acid supplements can aid knee or joint pain relief. One study suggests hyaluronic acid supplements can relieve pain and strengthen muscles.

Hyaluronic acid binds with water to produce a viscous fluid. This lubricates the joints and acts as a shock absorber – valuable for runners. Also, hyaluronic supplements can help aid cartilage and bone growth by promoting new cells and tissues. Runners will see improved recovery times after workouts with greater muscular strength.

Finally, hyaluronic supplements can reduce joint inflammatory molecules caused by injury or degeneration.

Most runners will take hyaluronic supplements orally. However, you may have to take injections if you suffer from joint injuries or degenerative issues.

Recommended dose: 200–1,000mg per day


  • Joint lubrication
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Relieves joint pain
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Shock-absorbing properties

Side effects:

Too much hyaluronic acid from injections may cause the following side effects:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Itching

No notable side effects are noted for oral hyaluronic joint supplements.

A Word From Our Coach

If you’re looking for the best joint supplement, you might consider which vitamins support your joint health the best. Vitamins, iron, collagen, and other supplements help reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain.

Studies suggest glucosamine, turmeric, and MSM can do more than speed up running recovery times. With improved heart and brain health, running joint supplements can support every aspect of your life.

Yet, every runner’s joints are different. The correct dose and supplements depend on the type of joint stress and your active lifestyle. Speak to a healthcare professional about the best supplements for your joint health.


Taking the right joint supplement to ease knee pain or treat arthritis can improve your running performance. With quicker recovery times and less chance of developing a chronic joint condition, you’ll fall in love with running again.

Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
The article was checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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  1. user
    Ros seddon 9 Apr, 2023 at 10:54 pm
    Ros seddon
    9 Apr, 2023 at 10:54 pm

    Really helpful page , guide you on how to help your runners knee excellent


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