Fish Oil And Glucosamine For Knee Pain: Which One Is Better?

Written By on May 9, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By Mich Torres (PT)

Written by on — Medically Reviewed By: Mich Torres (PT)

The benefits of both glucosamine and fish oil for knee pain are well-known. But, combining fish oil and glucosamine for knee pain may provide better results than on their own.

Glucosamine is a natural component of joint tissue with cartilage protection properties. While fish oil has anti-inflammatory effects and many other health benefits.

Below, we’ll expand on how and why taking these supplements together can help knee pain. Here is a brief overview of the topics within the article, tap on any of them to go straight to its section:

Fish oil with glucosamine for knee joint pain

Taking fish oil and glucosamine sulfate together may complement each other’s effects. The logic behind this lies in their mechanism of action.

Glucosamine helps form the basic substance that constitutes joint cartilage. While fish oil controls the inflammation that breaks down this same substance.



So, glucosamine promotes cartilage growth, and fish oil limits its breakdown.

In fact, this was tested in a study that compared glucosamine alone or combined with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are the active ingredients found in fish oil. (1)

The study found that combining the supplements provided a greater relief from osteoarthritis symptoms. There was also improvement in both morning stiffness and knee pain.

This shows that the combination of glucosamine and fish oil can be highly beneficial and safe for treating knee arthritis pain.

Which one is better for your knee joint health?

The knee joint is the most typical joint affected by osteoarthritis. (2) This is because, for such a small body part, it has the burden of supporting our entire body weight.

However, there are several things you can do to have healthy knee joints. Exercise frequently, making good food choices, keeping a healthy weight, sleeping properly, and taking dietary supplements are common options.

Now, when it comes to supplements – choosing the best one for you will depend on your current health and what benefits you’re looking for. To help you decide, we will look at the individual benefits of these two supplements:

Fish oil for knee pain

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are behind most of the benefits of fish oils.

These fatty acids can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of inflammatory chemicals. This positive effect of fish oil has been shown in many studies. (3)

Now, knee pain caused by either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis has an inflammatory component.

This inflammation is partly responsible for both knee pain and swelling.

So, minimizing inflammation should naturally help provide relief from knee pain. And that’s exactly what fish oils do.

They can also help prevent the degeneration of the knee joint cartilage by controlling inflammation. (1)

Learn more: Fish oil for knee pain – the complete guide

Glucosamine for knee pain

Glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride are both extensively studied supplements for knee pain. In spite of mixed results from studies, they continue to be widely used as a supplement for knee pain.

There are two ways by which glucosamine works for knee pain relief.

First, glucosamine helps form the cartilage matrix. Taking it as a supplement can promote its regeneration in diseases like knee osteoarthritis. (4)

Second, glucosamine also has some anti-inflammatory properties, similar to those in omega-3 fatty acids.

In fact, over the past decade, numerous studies have found that glucosamine can provide significantly more relief from knee pain than a placebo. (4)

However, knee pain relief from glucosamine can be improved if combined with other supplements. Such as fish oils or chondroitin sulfate. (1, 5)

Keep reading: All about glucosamine for knee pain.

Dosage of glucosamine and fish oil for knee pain

Multiple studies show that taking 1500 mg of glucosamine per day is ideal for knee pain relief. This can be divided into three doses of 500 mg per day. (6, 7)

For fish oil, studies show that taking 1200 to 2400 mg per day of it can help with knee osteoarthritis pain. (8)

Is it safe to take these knee pain supplements together?

Both glucosamine and fish oil have a high safety profile and are generally well-tolerated. However, taking doses higher than the recommended dose is not advisable.

Adults with knee pain caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can take these supplements together. See if the supplements help your knee pain without significant side effects.

If they do help, you can continue taking them in the recommended dosage. Studies have shown that glucosamine can be taken safely for as long as 2 years. (9)

Similarly, supplementing with fish oils for several years has been found to be safe in people of all age groups. (10)

Side effects of these supplements

Taking these two supplements together may cause mild side effects in very few people. A study reported that less than 2.2% of participants had side effects when taking these two supplements together. (1)

The side effects seen were of a mild nature and were mostly limited to (1):

  • Stomach upset.
  • Itching sensation.
  • Skin rashes.

Other supplements to relieve joint pain in the knees

In addition to glucosamine and fish oils, there are many supplements with proven benefits for knee pain. Some of the most commonly used supplements for knee pain are:

You can try these supplements as a stand-alone therapy, or in combination with each other. You can see which works best for you, and then continue taking them for a few months to a year, or as long as your physician recommends.

FAQs

Can you take fish oil and glucosamine together?

Yes, taking fish oil and glucosamine together is safe and effective for knee pain. (1)

Which is better for knee joints: fish oil or glucosamine?

Both are great for knee joints.

What are glucosamine and fish oil good for?

Glucosamine is highly beneficial for knee pain relief, whereas fish oil has countless benefits for healthy bones, heart, joints, and an overall healthier body.

Conclusion: Taking glucosamine and fish oil supplements for knee pain

Glucosamine and fish oil supplements can both help treat knee pain. But, taking these supplements together can be more beneficial than taking them alone.

Glucosamine is essential to forming the joint cartilage matrix. And fish oils can help prevent cartilage breakdown. These two supplements can thus boost the benefit of each other.

For knee pain, glucosamine can be taken in the dosage of 1500 mg per day, and fish oils can be taken in the range of 1200 to 2400 mg per day.

Resources

  1. Gruenwald, Joerg, et al. “Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis.” Advances in therapy 26.9 (2009): 858-871.
  2. Osteoarthritis. NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA), 01 May 2017.
  3. Ameye, Laurent G., and Winnie SS Chee. “Osteoarthritis and nutrition. From nutraceuticals to functional foods: a systematic review of the scientific evidence.” Arthritis research & therapy 8.4 (2006): 1-22.
  4. Ogata, Toru et al. “Effects of glucosamine in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Clinical rheumatology vol. 37,9 (2018): 2479-2487.
  5. Zeng, Chao et al. “Effectiveness and safety of Glucosamine, chondroitin, the two in combination, or celecoxib in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.” Scientific reports vol. 5 16827. 18 Nov. 2015.
  6. Williams C, Ampat G. Glucosamine Sulfate. [Updated 2021 Nov 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558930/
  7. Villafañe, Jorge Hugo. “Exercise and osteoarthritis: an update.” Journal of exercise rehabilitation vol. 14,4 538-539. 24 Aug. 2018.
  8. Maroon, Joseph Charles, and Jeffrey W. Bost. “ω-3 Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain.” Surgical neurology 65.4 (2006): 326-331.
  9. Williams C, Ampat G. Glucosamine Sulfate. [Updated 2021 Nov 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558930/
  10. Ghasemi Fard, Samaneh, et al. “How does high DHA fish oil affect health? A systematic review of evidence.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 59.11 (2019): 1684-1727.



Author
Sony Sherpa (MD)
Sony Sherpa is a board-certified clinical doctor and currently, she is working as a medical officer in the emergency department of a renowned hospital. With a medical degree completed at a young age, she writes medical articles with accuracy owing to her medical knowledge and thorough background research.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]