Vegan Supplements For Joints

yoga helps improve joint flexibility and bone health
Yoga is one of the best ways to help improve joint health and flexibility

Snap, crackle, pop! This isn’t a sound you want to hear from your joints when you get out of bed in the morning or stand up after you’ve been sitting for a lengthy period of time. But these noises can indicate that something is not quite right, especially when they are accompanied by inflammation and pain.

As a person gets older, these sounds from joints become too familiar. Wear and tear is something that happens to everyone, but by taking care of your body, it’s possible to slow down this ‘wear and tear’ process and maintain healthy joints for longer.

If you’re young, say 20 or 30 years old, there’s a good chance that you’ve not really experienced these issues yet. But it’s a good idea to get on top of joint health right now, to save yourself from the pain and loss of mobility that joint problems can cause as you get older

Joint problems don’t usually happen overnight either. Of course, there are exceptions such as accidents, infections, and other trauma which can damage joints; but generally speaking, the degenerative process takes place over a long period of time.

As a vegan, you’re probably a bit lighter than the average person, and you also likely have less inflammation. So already you’re at an advantage compared to many people. But we can go a step further and use targeted supplementation to protect your joints.

Vegan Supplements for Joints

These are some of the best supplements available to help improve joint mobility, reduce inflammation and protect against general wear and tear of joints.

#1. Vegan Joint Support Supplement with Glucosamine and other anti-inflammatory ingredients

This joint support supplement contains a powerful blend of ingredients which helps lubricate joints and provide powerful anti-inflammatory and immune system modulating benefits.

It contains four main ingredients: Glucosamine, Hyaluronic acid, MSM, Boswellia, and Bioperine to enhance absorption.

Who should use this supplement?

The joint health supplement was designed for vegans who are experiencing joint stiffness, reduced flexibility, and mobility, as well as joint inflammation and pain.

Main benefits

  • Helps reduce inflammation and autoimmune conditions which can damage joints
  • Helps aid in the repair and regeneration process after injury
  • Helps prevent pain associated with arthritis and other joint conditions
  • Improves skin health

Features

Unlike many other joint supplements, this one has been designed to be cruelty-free while providing clinically proven ingredients.

It also is free from preservatives, artificial ingredients, and flavors. It’s also labeled Non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy free.

Also very popular amongst vegans and is rated highly!

See more information and reviews here.


#2. Turmeric (Curcumin) with Ginger and Bioperine

Ginger and Turmeric have long been known to be powerful anti-inflammatory spices which can help reduce joint pain and be as effective or more effective than some medications.

There are many studies which show that both of these ingredients can help reduce pain and symptoms associated with inflammation anywhere in the body.

Who should use this supplement?

The supplement was designed to help people who are struggling with acute or chronic inflammation in the body.

Both of these ingredients have been researched extensively for their positive effect on those who suffer from many types of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

If inflammation is the main cause of your joint problems or if you have a family history of inflammatory disorders and joint problems, then this supplement would be great for you.

It would also complement the previous supplement very well.

Main benefits

  • Reduces inflammation and pain related to joint pain anywhere in the body
  • Helps improve digestion
  • Improves blood circulation in the body
  • Boosts memory and brain function
  • Supports the immune system
  • Possible anti-cancer benefits

Features

The supplement contains Bioperine which is commonly used to significantly enhance the absorption of bioactive components found in turmeric.

It’s also manufactured in an FDA facility in the US, so strict quality control is in place ensuring that you get the best quality ingredients and product.

Also free from ingredients such as artificial colors and flavors, gluten, soy, and GMO ingredients. It’s completely natural and vegan.

Like the previous supplement, this one is also very higly rated and popular.

See more information and reviews here.


#3. Vegan Omega 3 with Algal Oil for Joint Support and Health

If you’re a vegan and not currently taking an omega 3 supplement then you’re missing out on essential fatty acids which provide potent anti-inflammatory effects as well as other health benefits.

Getting omega 3’s from a vegan diet can be challenging, especially when it comes to DHA. Most of the time a vegan will consume ALA and this will be converted to EPA and DHA. But the conversion process isn’t perfect.

That’s where omega 3 supplements derived from algal oil come in. It provides EPA and DHA with no conversion needed.

Who should use this supplement?

It was designed for vegans who want to help keep joints flexible and pain-free by providing two essential fats which can protect the joint against chronic inflammation associated with injury, inflammation and general wear and tear. Omega 3 helps restore flexibility and reduce joint stiffness.

Main benefits

  • Supports joint health by reducing inflammation and reducing stiffness
  • Supports a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Improves brain function and memory
  • Improves skin and hair health
  • Supports a healthy immune system and reduces autoimmunity

Features

Contains omega 3 from Algal oil, the only real source for DHA on a vegan diet.

Also free from artificial ingredients, flavors, preservatives.

Important: This supplement contains carrageenan, which can worsen inflammation in people who have IBD and other diseases related to the digestive system.

See more information and reviews here.


What are the main causes of joint problems?

Joint problems can be caused by many things aside from aging. Below is a list of things that can cause joint problems.

  • Inflammation – Can be related to infection, trauma, autoimmunity or wear and tear
  • Arthritis – Many types of arthritis can cause joint pain and lead to degeneration of joints over time
  • Muscles – Your muscles might be weak or tight
  • Tendons and Ligaments – Sometimes these can become inflamed and cause problems around joints
  • Damage – Damage to cartilage from impact or some other cause can cause chronic pain, especially with movement

There are many other causes of joint problems but these are some of the main ones.

Many of these have things in common, but the main one is inflammation. Inflammation is something that is required in our body for proper repair and regeneration, but chronic inflammation is problematic and can worsen joint mobility.

Fortunately, a plant-based vegan diet already contains many anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, and teas to protect our joints, but sometimes it’s easier to be consistent by taking a supplement. And not only that, you also get a larger dose of the bioactive compounds which protect joints than you would from just consuming the food.

Beneficial ingredients in joint supplements

If you’re interested in learning more about the specific ingredients in these supplements, here’s a brief introduction to each of them.

Ginger and turmeric – Contains compounds such as gingerols and curcuminoids which are able to suppress inflammation in the body by blocking cytokines and other inflammatory mediators which cause excessive inflammation and destruction of tissue if left uncontrolled. Studies show that these two ingredients are effective for people who have arthritis and the results can be the same as taking a medication.

Omega 3 – Studies show that omega 3 is able to suppress inflammation and improve symptoms associated with arthritis. In one study, patients who took omega 3 had improvements with tender joints compared to a placebo group.

There was a 50% improvement seen in the omega 3 group in 89% of patients compared with just 50% improvement seen in 13% of the placebo group over the course of the study.

Glucosamine – This supplement has been used by many people to help relieve their achy joints. A lot of people swear by it, but clinical studies have shown mixed results. One of the reasons for this is the preparation used in studies. In trials that used glucosamine sulfate, it was found to be effective at reducing joint pain and other symptoms of arthritis. While other preparations were not effective (see study)

Conclusion

Joint pain affects millions of people and can be debilitating in some cases. Looking after our joints with good nutrition, supplementation, and proper exercise is important for keeping our joints flexible and healthy. But for many people, the damage is already done and they have to just manage the pain.

Vegan joint supplements contain ingredients which have been shown to be effective in studies on various forms of arthritis and can help not only prevent inflammation and wear and tear on joints but also help manage symptoms effectively without the need for medication in some cases.

How Much Bilberry Should I Take Daily For Health Benefits?

bilberry plant contains anthocyanins

Bilberries are an amazing antioxidant-rich food which can ward off many diseases if recent studies are to be believed. The anthocyanins in bilberries are responsible for much of their benefits, but if you don’t fancy bilberries, there are bilberry supplements available which also do the trick!

You probably guessed it already, but bilberries are a cousin of blueberries. They are quite similar, but some people don’t like the bitter taste of bilberries.

And that’s a shame because bilberries are often higher in antioxidants than blueberries. One way to consume them is to make a jam, but these often come with heaps of sugar.

One simple way for those poor unfortunate souls who don’t find the taste of bilberries all that pleasurable is to take a supplement which contains a high concentration of these anthocyanins.

But the question is: how much bilberry should you take to get the health benefits?

Many studies have been done on bilberry fruit consumption and bilberry extract. It’s recommended that you take between 160-480 mg of bilberry extract.

Read below to see the main benefits of bilberries and the doses used in studies!

Health benefits of bilberry

There’s been a lot of research over the last few decades on bilberry consumption and also bilberry supplements in both animals and humans.

I’ll go through some of the main benefits associated with consumption bilberries either as a food or supplement and then summarize the dose or amount you need to enjoy the health benefits.

Although dosing and its effects in humans are scarce, there is some data available.

The health benefits of bilberries can be attributed to the biological activity of anthocyanins where they alter gene expression, improve DNA repair, modulate cell-signaling pathways and provide antiglycemic and antimicrobial effects.

Vision

As mentioned in one of my previous articles, bilberries are one of the best eye supplements you can take to improve your vision and protect your eye health.

Anecdotal evidence back at the time of world war 2 emerged when pilots noticed an improvement in their night vision. Later on, these reports inspired researchers to look at the effect of bilberries on vision in animals and humans.

Studies have shown bilberry can help with:

  • Reducing free radical damage, cell death and inflammation in the eye when the eyes are exposed to blue light. [1]
  • Boost intracellular antioxidant enzymes in the eye to prevent free radical damage.
  • Improve retinal vascular health.
  • Prevent diabetic retinopathy.
  • Improve visual function in patients with glaucoma when combined with Ginkgo Biloba.
  • Prevent eye fatigue
  • Improve dry eye syndrome

The anthocyanins in bilberries also can indirectly improve vision by reducing blood sugar, improving blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and improving blood flow.

In one study, subjects who were experiencing eye fatigue took 480 mg of bilberry extract and saw improvements in eye pain, eye heaviness, uncomfortable sensations and foreign body sensations. [2]

Web MD suggests a dose of 160 mg taken twice daily for people with retinal diseases. [3]

And finally, in another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, an extract called Mirtoslect which contains highly purified anthocyanin extract was used to treat dry eyes in rats and showed that it was effective in improving the antioxidant status and tear secretion.

Reduces blood sugar

It’s often advised that people who are diabetic or have high blood sugar avoid fruits. However, berries are one type of fruit that is low glycemic and actually improve blood sugar levels when consumed with a high carbohydrate and high-fat meal.

In a study in young healthy volunteers, bilberry drink with oatmeal decreased the blood sugar spike after the meal. [4]

Another study using a single supplement of standardized bilberry extract with 36% wet weight (w/w) anthocyanins (each capsule was 470 mg of bilberry extract) or equivalent to 50 grams of bilberries.

The use of bilberry extract significantly reduced postprandial glucose and insulin and demonstrates that this may be useful in people who have high blood sugar levels or diabetics. [5]

Protect against cardiovascular disease

Bilberries have also been recognized to have benefits for the cardiovascular system because it strengthens blood vessels, has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and also improves cholesterol profile.

In 2016, researchers looked at the effects of bilberry consumption on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Men and women consumed 150 grams of frozen stores bilberries 3 times per week for 6 weeks.

Consumption of bilberries led to a decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and increased HDL cholesterol.

By showing significant improvements in LDL-C/TG ratio and increasing HDL cholesterol, this study confirms the benefits of bilberries in preventing cardiovascular disease. [6]

Improves and protects skin

Bilberries, due to their high amount of antioxidants are able to help prevent oxidative damage and UV damage to the skin. Studies have also shown that bilberries can regulate the immune system response in the skin and control inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. [7]

Other benefits

Those are some of the main benefits of taking a bilberry supplement or consuming them regularly as part of your diet. But there are a few other benefits that also have been shown, but mostly in animal studies.

  • Improvement in chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Prevention of urinary tract infections
  • Skin infections
  • Gastrointestinal disorders including IBD, celiac disease, with an improvement of symptoms like pain, bloating and diarrhea

How much bilberry should you take?

Depending on your reason for consuming bilberries or taking a supplement, the dose can vary. It’s recommended that you consume between at least 20-60 grams of dried bilberries daily or take a supplement that has been 160 – 480 mg of high concentration bilberry extract powder.

If you’re on any medications, then you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a bilberry supplement. Medications which may interact with bilberry supplements include medications for diabetes and blood clotting medications.

There is no advice available on dosing if you are pregnant. Therefore it’s recommended that you avoid high dose bilberry supplements.

Side effects

Bilberry fruit is considered very safe. Some studies have used supplements which contain bilberry, such as pycnogenol, and have been given for over 6 months. Of course, if you think you are having side effects from taking a bilberry supplement, speak with your doctor and discontinue for the mean time.

Best Turmeric and Ginger Supplements

Ginger containing anti-inflammatory gingerols

Turmeric and Ginger have both been used in various parts of the world for centuries as treatments for various health conditions. But in the west, we’ve been very slow to catch on and harness the power of these natural treatments for improving our health.

If you follow the science as closely as I have, you’ll know that many natural treatments have been hyped up to be the next big thing which will revolutionize medicine, only to fade away into obscurity and everyone is onto the next miracle cure.

So it’s easy to get disillusioned regarding using natural supplements for preventing disease and treating health conditions. But there are a few supplements which have withstood scientific scrutiny and delivered results worth talking about.

Turmeric and ginger happen to be two supplements which have been proven in human studies to actually work!

For example, in my previous article, I shared with you why turmeric and ginger could be one of the best natural treatments for arthritis – even better than some medications used to treat it.

But that’s not all, these spices can do so much more for your health!

If you’re in a rush, I’ve provided 3 great turmeric & ginger supplements to have a look at. I’ve written about these down below in more detail if you continue reading. 🙂

Here are my top picks for the best turmeric and ginger supplements available.

  1. Nutriflair turmeric and ginger with Bioperine – Good value, simple, lots of great reviews compared to many other brands.
  2. Lean Nutraceuticals turmeric and curcumin  – A little more pricey, but contains added anti-inflammatory ingredients like Cayenne pepper and bromelain
  3. Nature’s nutrition with turmeric and ginger – Highest dose but only 20 day supply. Good for those who want to take it short-term or as a trial run.


Benefits of taking Turmeric and Ginger supplements

I could actually write a whole essay on the health benefits of these two, but for now, let’s stick with some of the biggest benefits you can obtain from taking either one of these two or both together.

So, before I continue, when I mention “curcumin” I am referring to the main compound that is found in turmeric which is responsible for most of the health benefits you get from the spice.

#1 Blocks inflammation and destruction of joints

The active compounds curcumin and gingerols both have potent anti-inflammatory effects which prevent the destruction of tissues and joints that can lead to worsening arthritis.

In fact, as I mentioned in my previous article, these compounds may be just as effective or more effective than some medications which are prescribed for arthritis!

There are have now been multiple clinical studies confirming these findings and so this remains one of the best reasons to take a supplement or to include more of these spices in your diet.

#2 Boosts BDNF to improve brain health and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases

Hormones are very important in the body, but one hormone you may never have heard of before is called BDNF. It stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Some types of medications, depression, and various brain diseases can lead to a significant decrease in this hormone and lead to a worse outcome.

BDNF can be increased by exercise, fasting, calorie restriction, and many other ways. But curcumin is able to significantly boost BDNF in the brain, leading to a reversal of stress-induced low levels of BDNF.

Curcumin also has a memory-boosting effect and also act as a natural antidepressant by elevating BDNF in the brain.

And let’s not forget about ginger! It also has been shown to provide benefits for people by improving cognitive function at doses of 400 – 800 mg per day.

#3 Help keep your arteries young and healthy

There’s a saying: “You’re only as old as your arteries.” I think that’s how the saying goes.

Keeping the pipes clean and functioning in a healthy way is a sure way to live a long and healthy life. Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers in the world, but there are many things we can do to prevent it.

As already mentioned, curcumin and ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory effects which are beneficial in preventing heart disease because these are a part of the main steps which lead to endothelial dysfunction and clogged arteries.

Both ginger and turmeric are able to reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and help relax the arteries.

Curcumin (the main active component in turmeric) has been shown to improve artery function as well as the drug atorvastatin. And another study showed that 4 grams of curcumin before and after surgery decreases the risk of heart attack by 65%!

Given these amazing findings, it’s insane that more people aren’t aware of this research.

#4 May help improve cancer treatment and treat cancer

Ginger and turmeric both have compounds which inhibit inflammation, block angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) in tumors and encourage the death of cancer cells.

Some studies also show that curcumin found in turmeric may even reverse multidrug resistance to cancer drugs.

Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and can often be deadly if not discovered in time. Usually, after the age of 50, people are advised to go for tests to look for polyps or lesions and have biopsies done to look for cancerous cells.

Now, researchers have discovered in one study that taking 4 grams of curcumin per day for just 30 days was able to reduce the number of lesions in patients by up to 40%. This is an amazing result considering how well it worked in such a short period of time.

Other benefits: If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of turmeric and ginger, check out my two articles here and here.

Now you know about some of the health benefits associated with these spices, let’s look at some of the best supplements available with the highest bioavailability.

How to choose a turmeric and ginger supplement

I mentioned earlier that the main active component in turmeric is curcumin. So when looking for a supplement, it’s best to choose one which contains a large amount of the active ingredient curcumin. The reason is that curcumin only accounts for a very small percentage of the whole turmeric.

Another thing to consider is whether or not the supplement includes black pepper. We know from research that curcumin is not very bioavailable, so researchers looked for ways to increase the absorption of curcuminoids – and they came up with a winner! Black Pepper. 🙂

A compound called piperine which is found in black pepper is able to significantly enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. 

Turmeric and Ginger Supplement with the highest absorption

Now that we’ve looked at some of the research and why you should consider taking supplements, let’s list some of the best supplements available that are popular have been receiving some great reviews!

#1 NutriFlair – Turmeric (Curcumin) with Ginger with BioPerine for enhanced bioavailability (Vegan-friendly)

Nutriflair is one of the most popular Turmeric and Ginger supplements available. It contains a large amount of turmeric, ginger, and combines it with BioPerine for superior absorption.

Each bottle gives you 60 days worth supply if you take the recommended two veggie capsules per day. So at the current price, it’s very good value for how much you get.

One of the things I really like about this supplement is that it’s “simplicity in a bottle“.

They haven’t put in the capsule some extra ingredients making the supplement overpriced. And not just that, they’ve also formulated the supplement so it’s suitable for vegans (which I really appreciate!)

 

A breakdown of the ingredients

Turmeric – 1000 mg

Ginger Extract – 200 mg

Turmeric Extract (95% standardized curcuminoids) – 100 mg

BioPerine – 10 mg

Here are a few reasons why I choose this as NUMBER #1 and why you should consider this supplement.

  • More for your money – Each serving gives you 1300 mg and a good supply (60 days).
  • Improved bioavailability – The inclusion of Bioperene means dramatically enhanced absorption and benefits. Clinical studies show that this patented ingredient enhances absorption up to 4x.
  •  No funny business – The supplement was manufactured in the USA under strict manufacturing processes which are inspected. It’s GMP certified, third-party tested and made with natural Non-GMO ingredients.
  • Has a lot of love –  The supplement has many positive reviews compared to other brands on Amazon with people sharing how it helped them.
  • Cruelty-free – I like supporting companies which care about the environment and animals. I’m guessing you probably do as well.
  • Safe – The supplement is 100% natural and doesn’t have any preservatives, gluten, soy, yeast, eggs, corn, nuts or any ingredients which may cause allergic reactions.

See more information and reviews here.


#2 Lean NutraCeuaticals – Turmeric, Curcumin + Ginger, and other ingredients (Vegan-friendly)

Lean Nutraceuticals, despite their name, couldn’t help but add in a few extra ingredients with turmeric and ginger.

But forgive them because they haven’t made the supplement too bloated by simply adding bromelain (a powerful anti-inflammatory and proteolytic enzyme) and Cayenne Pepper (great for enhancing blood) to the blend.

These ingredients actually fit in quite well for the reasons that most people are looking to buy a turmeric and ginger supplement. They may, in fact, be synergistic in their effects.

Of course, as you’d expect you might be paying a bit extra than some supplements for these added ingredients, but given that you get 45 days supply (2 capsules per serving), the cost is not too bad.

A breakdown of the ingredients

Turmeric – 1000 mg

Curcumin extract 180 mg

Organic Ginger

Cayenne Pepper 

BioPerine – 5 mg

Positives: Supplement combines scientifically-backed ingredients to enhance absorption and provide extra anti-inflammatory support at a reasonable cost.

Negatives: It boasts that it contains more curcumin than many other brands, but contains only half as much BioPerine – an important ingredient in being able to absorb and utilize the curcumin from the supplement.

See more information and reviews here.


#3. Nature’s Nutrition – Turmeric & Ginger with BioPerine (Vegan-friendly)

Compared with the previous two supplements this one has the highest amount of curcumin and the highest amount of Bioperine per serving.

That’s awesome, but there’s a downside: the cheapest bottle contains only 60 capsules and each serving size is 3 capsules. So that means you’ll only have 20 days supply.

If you’re on a budget and simply want to test out a turmeric and ginger supplement then this supplement may actually be a good choice.

The supplement contains more of each ingredient than many other brands, plus a higher amount of the important ingredient Bioperine (15 mg per serving), you could take just two capsules per day and each bottle will last a little longer.

Alternatively, you could pay a little extra for the larger sized bottles which has 180 capsules.

A breakdown of the ingredients

Turmeric – 1500 mg

Ginger Extract – 300 mg

Turmeric 95% Curcuminoids – 150 mg

BioPerine – 15 mg

Positives: It contains a large dose of each ingredient at a full dose, which is good for someone with acute inflammation and just wants to take the supplement for a short period of time.

Negatives: Each serving is 3 capsules and therefore the smallest bottle would only last you 20 days. This might not be a negative for some people who are looking for a short supply and is not planning on taking it long term. But for those who are planning on consistently using the supplement, you’d feel like you’re always running out!

Another negative compared to the other products is that this one doesn’t have that many reviews.

See more information and reviews here.


Frequently asked questions about turmeric and ginger supplements

Below are some questions that are frequently asked about curcumin and ginger. If you have a question which isn’t answered here, please feel free to comment below and I’ll reply as soon as possible.

Are there any side effects from taking turmeric + ginger?

Both of these spices have been used safely in dishes and teas for centuries and are generally considered safe. Clinical trials in humans show that both are safe to take at standard doses. If you consume too much, you may experience transient side effects like nausea, acid reflux, and other digestive complaints. Generally, though, ginger is known for helping with nausea and other stomach problems.

Can you take these while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

Although these ingredients are considered safe, there is not enough information on whether or not they can be taken. Therefore it’s recommended to avoid supplements which contain curcumin unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare provider.

Why can’t I just eat turmeric instead of taking a supplement? Won’t it provide the same benefits?

You absolutely should include both ginger and turmeric in your diet! These are very healthy for you and are great to add to dishes. That being said, the amount of curcumin you get from turmeric is quite small, so you’d need to take a lot of it. Secondly, these supplements have been formulated with BioPerine which enhances the absorption of curcumin – which is otherwise poorly absorbed by itself.

How long before experiencing the benefits?

It depends on the reason you’re taking the supplement. If you’re taking it as a preventative measure but are otherwise very healthy, then the benefits may only show up in blood work (cholesterol, glucose, inflammatory markers etc) so you’d need to get tested. If you are currently suffering from an inflammatory disorder or arthritis, benefits may take some time to kick in. You should give it at least a few weeks before noticing significant improvements.

Ginger and Turmeric Supplements for Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in adults and tends to increase in prevalence and severity with age. Pain medications are often prescribed, as well as anti-inflammatories, but natural treatments like turmeric and ginger may also have a place for treating the condition.

In the United States, over 54 million people have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other forms of the condition. Not only does this cause pain for people who suffer from it, but it can also result in other comorbidities.

People who develop osteoarthritis may have reduced mobility, which may increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Whereas rheumatoid arthritis – a painful autoimmune disease – is also known to increase the risk of developing other diseases due to excessive inflammation.

Plants and herbs have been studied for their health benefits, but turmeric and ginger stand out as two promising natural remedies in treating arthritis according to recent research.

Many people take curcumin with ginger supplements and have had a lot of great success in treating their arthritis symptoms (read the reviews). Curcumin is the bioactive compound responsible for most of the beneficial effects you get from turmeric.

If you decide not to take curcumin, you can try adding turmeric liberally to your meals and tea. Curcumin accounts for about 2-9% of the turmeric. The advantage of taking supplements is they are convenient and also formulated to significantly enhance the absorption of curcumin.

Read more here about the benefits of turmeric and ginger tea and three high quality ginger and turmeric supplements for general health and arthritis.

How can ginger and turmeric help people with arthritis?

Both of these herbs are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating many types of inflammatory diseases and work in similar ways.

They mainly help you by inhibiting inflammatory mediators on a cellular level which causes joint destruction, inflammation, and pain.

Ginger and Turmeric contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds like gingerols and other related compounds. Whereas the main benefits of turmeric are from a compound called curcumin.

Ginger and curcumin appear to be an effective COX inhibitor, which is how some NSAID medications work. They also inhibit other inflammatory mediators like NF-Kappa B, TNF-alpha and various cytokines and enzymes related to the destruction of cartilage.

Turmeric (curcumin) is also able to modulate the immune system by inhibiting immune responses that cause the body to attack itself.

Taken together, these compounds can act synergistically to have a more robust anti-inflammatory effect and may even be useful in reducing the dose of medications or stopping them entirely. But of course, if you’re planning on stopping your medication, please talk to your doctor first.

Studies in the laboratory have shown how these compounds work in animals and in test tubes, but do these benefits translate into humans taking them in their diet or as a supplement?

Fortunately, there have been several studies conducted and so we have an answer! 🙂

What is the evidence?

The evidence that we’ll take a look at will be in patients who suffer from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and have tried using either ginger or turmeric and its bioactive components like curcumin for managing their condition.

Ginger and Turmeric for Osteoarthritis

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 2002, researchers compared the effects of ginger extract, ibuprofen, and a placebo to see which was better at managing symptoms of osteoarthritis.

They were split up into three groups of 40 and then monitored between April and October 2002 by looking at pain score, swelling, and other joint mobility scores.

The study found that ginger and ibuprofen were equal in their ability to reduce symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. [1]

In 2014, a meta-analysis of studies looking at ginger and osteoarthritis was published, with the authors concluding that patients who were given ginger were more than twice as likely to discontinue treatment compared to placebo because the supplement was effective at managing symptoms.

Ginger taken as a supplement seems to be beneficial for people who have osteoarthritis, but more recent research also suggests that simply applying a ginger extract with nanoparticles can also improve joint pain and other symptoms. [2] Although ginger is well-tolerated for msot people, this is a good finding because some people may prefer to apply directly to the joint.

People who are poor responders to NSAID medications may also benefit from using ginger in combination with echinacea for decreasing joint inflammation in OA patients. One study showed a significant improvement of 12.27 points for the group who took the ginger supplement. [3]

Now taking a look at turmeric in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial! Turmeric was found to benefit patients with osteoarthritis by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress markers in patients who were taking the supplement for four months.

Not only did they see improvements by measuring these markers, but there was a significant clinical improvement in patients and their quality of life for patients taking the turmeric supplement [4].

Other studies have shown that turmeric is able to block the degenerative processes associated with the condition. It does this by downregulating COX2, TNF-alpha, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and IL-8, as well as reducing the production of reactive oxygen species. [5]

Both ginger and turmeric appear to be effective natural treatments for these two forms of arthritis with efficacy matching that of traditional pain medications. Great news for people who hate taking medications which can cause side effects.

Ginger and Turmeric for Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can be a condition which is difficult to treat and manage. When it’s severe it can cause significant disability and comorbidities. And so finding treatments to enhance or replace medications can really improve quality of life and reduce side effects associated with painkillers and other medications.

For active rheumatoid arthritis, there is more evidence that turmeric or curcumin supplements are more effective at managing the disease than ginger.

In 2012, a randomized pilot trial looked at the safety and effectiveness of using curcumin (derived from turmeric) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared to standard treatment. The study found that not only was curcumin safe and well tolerated, but curcumin was superior compared with diclofenac sodium group in treating patients. [6]

Other more recent studies have confirmed these findings with both low dose and high dose curcumin formulations designed for maximum bioavailability. They saw significant clinical improvements over the placebo group, with improvements in ESR, CRP, and RF values. There were also no side effects in the group taking the curcumin supplements. [7]

And finally, although there isn’t much evidence that ginger is effective for rheumatoid arthritis, it has been used in animal models and shown to inhibit joint inflammation and destruction. [8] Therefore combining ginger with turmeric or curcumin may have a synergistic effect.

Conclusion

The evidence for using natural herbs like turmeric and ginger seem to be strong in the case of treating degenerative conditions such as arthritis. Many people have benefited from using these herbs, and so it might be worth a try!

Of course, if you’re thinking about taking these supplements, speak with your doctor and discuss whether or not there will be any interactions with other medications you’re currently taking.

That being said, turmeric and ginger have been widely used for centuries and provide many other health benefits aside from their ability to treat arthritis! 🙂

Best Sulforaphane Supplement

baby broccoli sprouts are high in sulforaphane

Sulforaphane is an organosulfur compound found in high concentrations in broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, but also available as a supplement. If there was one compound that you should aim to get more of it would be sulforaphane. Intake of cruciferous vegetables high in this compound has been consistently shown to be beneficial for human health.

When I first started eating cruciferous vegetables, I wasn’t really a fan. In fact, I had to get used to the taste, which took me a few days. But eventually I made it through and broccoli became one of my favorite foods to eat and a staple in my diet.

We all know that vegetables are good for us, but so many people avoid eating them. This is really unfortunate as they offer many health benefits. One of the reasons people often give for avoiding cruciferous vegetables is the taste. Taking a supplement is one way around it.

There are many supplements to choose from, but only a few provide a decent amount of sulforaphane. The best sulforaphane supplements are the ones which contain active myrosinase.

There are cheap options like Jarrow Formula – Brocco Max which provides myrosinase and would be a great choice if you want quality but you’re on a budget. While other more expensive options are also available and have been used in clinical studies. (Scroll down for more details).

Below are 4 high-quality sulforaphane supplements


Now let’s have a look how this compound works to improve health and protect against disease! 🙂

How does sulforaphane work to improve health?

There are many ways that sulforaphane is able to protect against disease. It’s known for its ability to boost antioxidant protection, reduce inflammation, and remove harmful substances from the body.

Sulforaphane is a potent activator of the NRF2 pathway and this is one of the reasons behind its amazing health benefits. Many animal studies and population studies in humans have been conducted over the years on vegetable intake and the risk of common diseases like heart disease and cancer.

One thing that keeps popping up in these studies as a significant factor in the development of cancer is how often people eat cruciferous vegetables.

How many servings of cruciferous vegetables do you need to eat per week to decrease the risk?

According to some studies, just three to five servings per week can reduce the risk of cancer by 30-40%. [2] Consuming broccoli sprouts would get you most sulforaphane due to its high amount of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin.

Sulforaphane works in many ways to protect against cancer

  • It’s is a potent inducer of phase II enzymes – responsible for enhancing the excretion of harmful carcinogens in the body which can lead to cancer. [1]. Sulforaphane is also a potent activator of glutathione S-transferase and increases intracellular glutathione activity in human cells.
  • It inhibits phase I enzymes – These P450 enzymes are responsible for the activation of pro-carcinogens and cause cancer.
  • Encourages death of cancer cells – It increases the expression of pro-apoptotic genes involved in cell death while leaving healthy cells alone.
  • Blocks inflammation –  It suppresses and blocks the activation of transcription factors such as NF-Kappa B which is a key regular in inflammation and the encouragement of cancer cell growth.
  • Restores immune function – Studies show that it’s able to boost natural killer cells and restore immune function which has declined because of aging. The ability of the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells is crucial for cancer protection.
  • Inhibit blood vessel growth – The compound may inhibit or reduce the growth of blood vessels which feed tumors.

There are also many other benefits of sulforaphane!

  • Anti-viral – It’s shown to have antiviral activity against many viruses including HPV, influenza, Epstein-bar virus and hepatitis virus.
  • Anti-bacterial – It can inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria like Mycobacterium and H.Pylori
  • Autism – In a study using sulforaphane, researchers observed an improvement in behavioral symptoms associated with autism. The improvement was significant with 54% having a significant reduction in abnormal behavior, 46% had improved social interaction, and 42% had improvements in verbal communication. Sulforaphane has also been shown to reduce levels of oxidative stress, inflammation and other markers associated with the condition. [3]
  • Cholesterol benefits –  Reduces LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Although protects LDL against oxidation.
  • Anti-glycation – Reduces advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are responsible for hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, diabetes, skin aging and more.
  • Neurodegenerative disease – It has the ability to induce the expression of heat shock proteins which may help reduce the incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease

These are just some of the amazing health benefits, but there are many more! Cruciferous vegetables also provide other compounds such as I3C and DIM that are also important in the benefits of broccoli, kale, sprouts and other vegetables in this family.

After you finish here, check out this video for more benefits.

How to choose the best sulforaphane supplement?

There are many different supplements available which promise to deliver a large amount of sulforaphane, but the amount of sulforaphane you get can vary wildly. This is not only dependent on how the supplement was formulated but also depends on the person taking the supplement.

Some supplements use mature broccoli extract, which has the least amount of sulforaphane, while other popular supplements are using broccoli seed extract (Jarrow) or broccoli sprouts.

To get the most sulforaphane, you want to choose a supplement which uses part of the plant which at most is days old. Pharmaceutical grade broccoli seed extract supplement tends to be a lot more expensive, provide a much higher amount of sulforaphane, and are also the ones used in clinical trials.

What if you wanted to get sulforaphane from food? 

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick (video above), the amount of sulforaphane you would get from every 1 gram of fresh broccoli sprout would be around 2.4 micromole (0.425 mg). So in order to get between 40 to 60 mg of sulforaphane, you’d have to eat between 100 – 140 grams of broccoli sprouts.

For comparison, each serving of Avmacol Broccoli extract blend has 44 micromoles.

One way to get the most out of cheaper broccoli powder supplements which don’t contain active myrosinase is to take a broccoli sprout extract powder supplement and eat broccoli sprouts which contain the enzyme. This way the sprouts which contain the myrosinase can hydrolyze glucoraphanin from the supplement.

If this is manageable for you, then go with eating fresh broccoli sprouts, if not, check out some of the supplements below.

#1. Avmacol Sulforaphane Supplement – Used in the US and International clinical trials

If you want to one of the best and highest quality sulforaphane supplements, then it’d be a good idea to go for pharmaceutical grade or supplements used in clinical trials. And that’s exactly what Avmacol supplement provides you.

It contains 350 mg of its proprietary broccoli extract blend which contains over 25 mg of glucoraphanin and also active myrosinase.

Avmacol products have been validated by human tested with the detection of sulforaphane metabolites in the urine. They measured an average sulforaphane product of 44 micromoles of sulforaphane per serving. This varies due to differences in gut bacteria and metabolism.

See more details here.


#2. Onco Plus Max – Concentrated Brocco Raphanin from Broccoli Seed Extract – Pharmaceutical Grade

Each 500 mg of BroccoRaphanin capsule contains a standardized extract which contains 10% sulforaphane. To get the equivalent amount of from your diet, you would need to consume 100 grams of fresh broccoli sprouts.

This sulforaphane supplement was created from a proprietary form of broccoli seed which was grown and processed in the United States. Using very clean and non-toxic extraction methods (supercritical CO2 extraction).

Compared with many other supplements available Onco Plus Max contains one of the highest doses of glucoraphanin.

See more details here.


#3. Jarrow Formula – Brocco Max Capsules containing 30 mg of sulforaphane glucosinolate

A proprietary blend which contains myrosinase enzyme which is needed to convert glucosinolates into sulforaphane.

Tests have shown that BroccoMax yields at least 8 mg of pure sulforaphane potential per capsule, which is considerably higher than many other supplements available.

The process by which the supplement is manufactured is also standardized to deliver the highest purity and quality, and the ingredients are encapsulated for delayed release. This ensures that you get the maximum amount of sulforaphane possible.

The addition of calcium ascorbate in the supplement also facilitates the conversion of glucoraphanin into sulforaphane when it reaches the intestine.

Compared to other sulforaphane supplements, this one is relatively cheap and provides a significant amount of sulforaphane per dose.

See more details here.

How To Cure H Pylori Without Antibiotics

H Pylori is a difficult infection to treat with conventional antibiotics because of problems with resistance. Some people have to use a triple-therapy or a quadruple therapy which involves antibiotics and medications to reduce stomach acid. And even then cure rates might only be around as high as eighty-four percent.

Not only does the infection cause very uncomfortable symptoms, it can also raise the risk of stomach cancer if not treated and eliminated.

The main symptoms associated with H. Pylori include:

  • Loss of appetite – You don’t feel hungry and when you do, you feel full quickly.
  • Stomach pressure – Under your rib (left side) you may notice stomach pressure.
  • Nausea – Stomach inflammation can lead to symptoms of nausea.
  • Acid Reflux – You may have symptoms like burning and hoarse voice from this symptom.
  • Weight loss – Due to a decreased appetite, you will likely experience some weight loss.

Antibiotics are life-saving for millions of people and thankfully are still quite effective for many common bacterial infections. Although time may be running out as problems with resistance increase with continued use.

So when antibiotics start to fail, we have to turn elsewhere because the introduction of new and effective antibiotics into the market is painfully slow.

Now scientists are taking inspiration from nature and looking at plant-compounds to see if they are able to enhance the antibacterial effect, reverse resistance, or give insight into new approaches to develop synthetic and more potent versions.

In some cases, natural remedies derived from plants and mushrooms may even be effective by themselves at eradicating infections. However, one thing that is often overlooked by many people who advocate natural therapies is how the body processes and metabolizes these plant compounds.

The fact is that many plant compounds which display significantly antibacterial effects in the lab in a petri dish, may not necessarily live up to the same hype when you consume them. The tissue concentrations of these compounds can be too low.

However, when we’re talking about trying to eradicate an infection internally, say in the stomach, then natural treatments could be a more viable option. This is why a lot of research has been done on using natural treatments for H pylori and some have shown some success.

Disclaimer: These natural treatments recommended here are compiled from scientific research, my own experience in curing gastritis caused by h pylori, and feedback I’ve received from others. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you opt for natural treatments!

H Pylori Natural Treatment Regimen

As I already mentioned, there have been a few studies looking at natural cures for h pylori which don’t require antibiotics.

In some cases, these foods and supplements may be complementary and enhance antibiotics ability to eradicate the bacteria.

Combining several of them together may also give you more success. This is what I did to eliminate chronic gastritis I was experiencing in 2007.

Sulforaphane-rich Broccoli Sprouts

I don’t know about you, but I already loved broccoli sprouts, although they were difficult to get at the local supermarket. But if you have them where you live, then definitely pick some up!

One randomized controlled study in 50 humans who tested positive for H Pylori showed that eating 70 grams of 3-day-old germinated broccoli sprouts can inhibit gastritis caused by H pylori.

Sulforaphane found in broccoli sprouts seems to work in two ways: through a direct antibacterial effect and by increasing Nrf2 – a major antioxidant enzyme which leads to a decrease in reactive oxygen species and prevents damage to the stomach wall.

Consumption of broccoli sprouts lead to a decrease in urease measured by a urea breath test and also H. pylori stool antigen test. Biomarkers of stomach inflammation were also decreased in the broccoli group but not the placebo.

So although sulforaphane did not eradicate the infection fully, it did significantly reduce the number of bacteria and gastric inflammation and therefore could be a valuable tool-set in fighting h pylori. [1]

Garlic (Allicin)

If you ask someone to come up with a natural antibiotic, it’s more than likely that garlic will be on the list. Well, if you read my blog, you’ll know that I am a fan of allicin and I take it every day. I shared my previous success in curing an infection I had by combining it with an antibiotic.

In a study from 2001, researchers looked at the effect of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, and allicin in eradicating H.pylro, then compared it with the standard protocol which was two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor.

Standard protocol – 66% eradication

Allicin (4200 mcg) + standard protocol – 90% eradication

Allicin (1200 mcg) – 23.3% eradication

The authors noted that ascorbic acid and beta-carotene were ineffective whereas allicin was effective in enhancing traditional treatment and also modestly effective by itself.

It’s worth noting that the dose on the allicin-only group was lower, so it’d be interesting to see if a higher dose was more effective. [2]

Taking garlic supplements which contain stabilized allicin will likely be more effective than consuming raw garlic. But a more recent study from 2016 suggests that just eating two medium-sized cloves of garlic (noon and evening) can have a meaningful antibacterial effect on h.pylori in the stomach. [3]

Manuka Honey

Money honey was the turning point for me when I had gastritis. After having issues with feeling bloated all the time, stomach pressure and pain, and even GERD, honey was the first thing that ever made a difference.

Within days (yes, days!!) most of my stomach symptoms were gone. In just two weeks it felt like the infection had been completely eradicated. But the problem came back after two or three months and I started having the same symptoms.

This time, instead of stopping after just two weeks, I continued to put manuka honey on my toast every morning for breakfast, and also midday and in the evening before I went to bed. This way the honey was able to remain in the stomach for longer to have an effect.

I continued doing this for months if not years on and off and the symptoms never returned. They still haven’t to this day and it’s been over 11 years.

Considering that I had this problem for over at the time, and my doctor had no answer for me, it was pretty amazing that something as simple as manuka honey could cure this problem I was having.

But is there any evidence for it?

Absolutely. In a study looking at the effect of manuka honey on H.pylori growth, they were able to show that the presence of Manuka Honey at just 5% of its full strength was able to completely inhibit the growth of the bacteria. [4]

They estimated that the dose which would be required to have an antibacterial effect would be around 2.5 ml of honey entering 50 ml or less of gastric fluid before a meal.

This is the brand of manuka honey I used to help cure the infection.

If you’re going to try it, make sure that you use manuka honey, not just regular honey.

Probiotics

Taking probiotics before, during and after treatment with antibiotics for H pylori may help improve eradication rates according to a few studies done in humans.

In one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 138 patients who had failed triple-therapy were enrolled into a study and half of them given Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium-containing yogurt for 4 weeks prior to treatment.

In the study, they saw that probiotics were able to increase the eradication rate of H.pylori in infected patients to 85% compared to 71% of patients in the quadruple therapy alone.

In another study that used probiotics after treatment, they showed that the eradication rate increased from 60.8% to 79.2%. The researchers believed that the probiotic bacteria may have inhibited any residual bacteria left over after treatment. [5]

The benefit of taking probiotics also is that if you opt for antibiotic treatment, the probiotics will help keep in check harmful bacteria and yeast that will have an opportunity to grow during the antibiotic treatment.

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols which have some antibacterial effect and help quell inflammation in the stomach. In this study, green tea had a bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal effect on both H. felis and H. pylori bacteria.

Green tea may be a good preventative for both preventing infection and also reducing inflammation of the stomach if consumed before exposure to H. pylori.

If you’re going to go try and include green tea into your regimen, make sure you get the teas with the highest levels of EGCG. You can find out more information about the difference between matcha and sencha here.

Licorice Tea

Licorice may have a place for patients looking for an alternative to the medication Bismuth (antacid) because of side effects.

Patients taking the standard quadruple protocol to eradicate H.Pylori which includes bismuth were compared against another group of patients using licorice in its place.

The study used 380 mg of licorice, twice a day and found that it was as effective as bismuth, based on outcomes such as gastritis, gastric ulcers, duodenitis and duodenal ulcers.

Licorice not only has an antibacterial effect against H.pylori but it also helps stop the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the stomach. [6]

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is found in grapes and red wine, but getting enough of this compound can be difficult unless you supplement it.

It’s powerful antioxidant effects and antibacterial properties make it useful in helping inhibit gastric inflammation and also inhibiting the growth of the bacteria at concentrations between 6.25 – 25 mcg/mL. [7]

Olive Oil

Test tube studies showed that olive oil was effective at killing Helicobacter pylori, and that olive oil was stable in the stomach acid so it could be beneficial.

So researchers created two studies to evaluate its effectiveness in patients.

In one study, 30 patients who had been tested positive for the infection was to receive 30 grams of olive oil for 14 days.

Around 24-72 hours after the last dose of washed virgin olive oil, 12 of the 30 patients showed a negative result. However, after 4-6 weeks, only 8 of the 30 still had a negative result.

In the second clinical intervention, only 3 of the 30 were negative after 4-6 weeks, but 24-72 hours after the last dose of unwashed virgin olive oil, 5 of the 30 tested negative. [8] Thirteen of the patients had to withdraw due to the taste and nausea from the oil.

Although olive oil didn’t provide a complete cure and many patients ended up tested positive again, olive oil can be consumed safely every day and is very beneficial to health.

So your results may be better with continued use of polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oil.

Turmeric and Ginger

Both come from the same family and have shown (in vitro) to have significant antibacterial effects against different strains of H. Pylori.

While turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects due to its high curcumin content, ginger acts as an anti-emetic and may, therefore, increase appetite.

Anti-H.Pylori Diet

Many of these ingredients are easy to find and can be used in everyday foods and drinks! One drink I would often make was the following:

  • Green tea (Sencha or matcha)
  • Ginger powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Manuka Honey – 1 tablespoon

If you make some toast you can use a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and then take 5 – 10 allicin capsules (180 mg each) and then pour them on top of the bread. Add a banana on top and this will help keep the ingredients in the stomach long enough to have an effect (or skip the banana if you wish!)

Foods to avoid

While you’re trying to heal from the infection, it’s best not to start irritating your stomach put eating foods which can worsen gastritis.

  • Salt
  • Simple carbohydrates
  • Picked foods
  • Alcohol
  • High caffeine beverages
  • acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus fruits)
  • Chocolate

Conclusion

H. Pylori infections can be really uncomfortable and withstand some of the strongest antibiotics we have today.

Fortunately, nature has provided us with tools which can effectiveness by themselves and complement traditional therapies using antibiotics.

Most of these natural treatments are just regular food items that are often found in the kitchen or local supermarket! If we can get away with using less antibiotics, then that’s a good thing!