SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) to Reduce Inflammation and Pain
SAMe is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that is said to improve mobility, rebuild cartilage, and ease symptoms of osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic low back pain, and depression.
In fact, SAMe is effective in reducing osteoarthritis-related inflammation and joint pain. SAMe acts quickly, with results in one week's time. "SAMe is expensive," says Plank, "but it works with cartilage and may help build joints back up."
The Journal of Family Practice reviewed 11 studies on SAMe, showing it to be as effective as anti-inflammatory painkillers in reducing pain and improving function in people with OA. SAMe was also less likely to cause side effects.
To get the maximum benefit from SAMe, make sure you're getting enough B vitamins (B12, B6, folate) as well.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane): Limited Research
The sulfur compound MSM is found naturally in the body and in animals, fruits, vegetables, and grains. The claim is that MSM reduces joint pain and inflammation. MSM contains sulfur, which the body needs to form connective tissue. MSM also seems to act as a painkiller by quieting nerve impulses that transmit pain.
One 2006 study of 50 adults with osteoarthritis of the knee showed that 6,000 milligrams of MSM daily reduced pain and improved physical function -- without major side effects. However, no large studies comparing MSM to placebo have been performed, and more research is needed to determine the true effect of MSM on osteoarthritis.