Having problems with squatting, running, or moving altogether? It’s likely to do something with your knee cartilage. The knee cartilage is vital for movement since it allows the bones to move easily without friction, and if it degenerates, it causes mobility problems.

Don’t fret just yet! Taking a health supplement can help you regain your feet and groove. Check out our picks for the best supplements for knee cartilage regeneration and repair list.

Understanding Knee Cartilage and Its Challenges

The Anatomy Of The Knee

The knee joints are the body’s largest joints responsible for bending, standing, walking, running, swimming, and keeping balance. They work through a series of muscle contractions; for example, when one bends the knee, the tibia is contracted and pulled backward by hamstring muscles to flex the knee. When straightening it, the quadricep muscles pull the quadricep tendon, pulling the kneecap to straighten the knee. 

The knee joint is a complex structure comprising cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. The anatomy of the knee cartilage is, in itself, an interesting feat.

Anatomy of Knee Cartilage

The knee cartilage, also known as articular cartilage or hyaline cartilage, is a tissue composed of type II collagen and other special molecules, including glycosaminoglycans (GAG), and covers the joint surfaces where the femur, tibia, and patella meet with each other.

The knee cartilage is white with a rubber-like consistency that prevents the joints from friction during movement. The slippery surface is coated with synovial joint fluid for lubrication, facilitating smooth and easy knee joint movement. 

Common Causes of Cartilage Deterioration


As you age, the cartilage becomes thinner, and the synovial fluid inside the joints decreases, making movement difficult and sometimes painful. The ligaments also become affected as they lose flexibility, causing stiffer joints.


Overuse injuries happen when too much stress is placed on a part of the body, in this case, the knees. Studies show that people working in grueling, physically demanding professions like mining, construction work, and carpentry are most at risk, suffering the most overuse injuries on their knees, given the nature and repetitive minutia of activity.


Bone fractures, sprains, and dislocations caused by various activity-related accidents cause knee pain. Other knee-related injuries like ACL and meniscus tears and patellar tendonitis cause pain and discomfort in specific areas of the knee joint. 


Excessive weight gain can directly trigger pro-inflammatory substances and increase tension and stress on the knee joints, leading to pain and strained mobility.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that wastes away the cartilage of the joints, making mobility and daily life difficult and painful in general. The joints, especially those in the spine, hips, knees, and hands, tend to suffer serious damage. A 2019 report showed that an estimated 528 million people worldwide suffer from osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease where the joints suffer from inflammation, causing varying pain levels, going from mild to throbbing or intense and sharp. It commonly affects the joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect people as early as their early to mid-30s.

Best Supplements for Knee Cartilage – Top 5 Supplements for Rebuilding Knee Cartilage

1. Physio Flex Pro

Physio Flex Pro is a specially formulated supplement complex that blends the properties of natural ingredients and superfoods to effectively restore and maintain joint health, protecting against joint inflammation and promoting joint flexibility and mobility.

Ingredients like bromelain, chondroitin, and selenium citrate are clinically proven to support the protection and repair of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, keeping the joints flexible and lubricated. They also relieve pain, prevent inflammation, and secure better movement.

Other ingredients like glucosamine, ginger, turmeric, and methylsulfonylmethane have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, providing additional joint health support, preventing cartilage degradation, protecting bones, and strengthening the immune system.


  • Uses high-quality, all-natural ingredients
  • No additives, fillers, or preservatives
  • Soy-free
  • Manufactured in FDA-compliant facilities
  • Fast and tracked USA Shipping
  • 60-day money-back guarantee


  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Unsuitable for users with milk or egg allergies

2. PrimalFlex – Primal Harvest

PrimalFlex provides a holistic support formula combining noted anti-inflammatory substances and Ayurveda-based ingredients to achieve maximum results for an optimal state of musculoskeletal health.

The supplement features BioCell Collagen®, composed of hydrolyzed collagen type II peptides, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. It also features holistic Ayurvedic ingredients like boswellia serrata, turmeric, and ashwagandha, which all work to target and combat inflammation in the joints and restore mobility. 

Other ingredients like astaxanthin, vitamin C, and magnesium provide additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support, while the black pepper extract increases the supplement’s bioavailability 


  • Has its own clinically-patented ingredient blends
  • Free from soy, gluten, wheat, nuts, and dairy
  • No preservatives
  • 90-day money-back guarantee


  • Non-vegan

3. MoveWell Plus – Live Conscious

Live Conscious’ MoveWell Plus powerful ingredient blend is specially formulated to help decrease oxidative problems and improve joint health, including mobility and flexibility.

The blend contains the clinically-proven Zanthin® Natural Astaxanthin, ethically sourced omega-3s fatty acids (sourced from krill oil), and hyaluronic acid, which are potent, highly absorbable ingredients that work synergistically to lessen oxidative stress, maximize mobility, comfort, and flexibility in the joints, and improve overall joint and bone health. 


  • Proprietary clinically-patented ingredient blend
  • Free from soy, gluten, wheat, nuts, and dairy
  • Non-GMO
  • No preservatives
  • Free shipping (U.S. only)
  • 1-year money-back guarantee


  • Has a weird aftertaste
  • Not vegan-friendly

4. MoveMD® Comprehensive Joint Support – 1MD Nutrition™

MoveMD Comprehensive Joint Support offers the best pharmaceutical science in providing effective knee pain relief, featuring two key patented ingredients – AprèsFlex® and Zanthin® Natural Astaxanthin, both effective in promoting joint health.

Being a bio-enhanced form of boswellic acid, AprèsFlex is clinically proven to reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain and stiffness. Zanthin reduces oxidative stress, while the combination of eggshell membrane and chicken collagen formulas helps repair the cartilage to ensure joint mobility and flexibility. 


  • Uses globally-sourced ingredients
  • GMP-certified
  • Free from peanuts, wheat, and shellfish
  • Free shipping (U.S. only)
  • 90-day money-back guarantee


  • Not vegan-friendly
  • May require long-term, more consistent usage to see results

5. Glucosamine Chondroitin Targeted Joint Health Support – Essential Elements

Essential Elements Glucosamine Chondroitin boasts its highly potent proprietary ingredient formula designed to combat the effects of inflammation, oxidative damage, and stress on the knee joints to recover better mobility. 

The formula features principal ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, whose combination helps regenerate cartilage, supports healthy joint cushioning, and relieves joint pain. The blend of hyaluronic acid, curcuminoids, methylsulfonylmethane, and Boswellin® Super helps restore joint flexibility and prevent inflammatory conditions.


  • Uses globally-sourced ingredients
  • Free from soy, gluten, wheat, nuts, and dairy
  • Non-GMO
  • Free shipping (U.S. only)
  • 1-year money-back guarantee


  • Not vegan-friendly
  • May require long-term, more consistent usage to see results

Best Ingredients for Cartilage Health

  • Glucosamine – Glucosamine is a naturally occurring amino acid with notable anti-inflammatory effects that improve musculoskeletal function, combat inflammation, relieve pain, and increase mobility, making it a common ingredient for treating osteoarthritis, particularly in the knees.
  • Chondroitin – Chondroitin is made of amino acids and glucosamine sulfate. It specifically protects the joint cartilage from further damage, promotes the production of synovial fluid, and provides pain relief. Paired with glucosamine, the duo is often a recommended treatment for osteoarthritis. 
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) – Methylsulfonylmethane is an organic compound containing sulfur found in plants, animals, and humans. Studies show that MSM works well for arthritis symptoms, specifically in relieving joint pain and inflammation. Additional studies also show that it helps maintain tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fats, which means the body can’t make them on its own but must get them from food sources. They have been shown to have various health benefits, like promoting joint health.

Additional Strategies for Knee Cartilage Health

Dietary Considerations

A joint-friendly diet includes a lot of foods with anti-inflammatory properties. Anyone can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, it can greatly benefit not only those with arthritic problems, but also those with acute and chronic inflammation from various medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, etc.

Here are some anti-inflammatory foods you can incorporate in your diet:

  • Omega-3-rich fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, cod, tuna, sardines, etc.)
  • Poultry
  • Fresh, leafy greens (e.g., kale, spinach, collards, broccoli,  endive, turnip greens, beet greens, etc.)
  • Citrus fruits (e.g., apples, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, pomegranates, cherries, etc.)
  • Beans, nuts, and seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Herbs and spices (e.g., turmeric, ginger, ginseng, black pepper, rosemary, fenugreek, etc.)
  • Herbal tea

Foods That Trigger Inflammation

You should try to lessen or avoid these foods altogether if you have sore knee joints:

  • All fried foods
  • High-carb foods
  • Red meat (Pork and beef)
  • Processed meats (processed meats, canned meats, and cured meats)
  • Refined grains (white bread, white rice, pasta, and breakfast cereals)
  • Snack foods (chips, cookies, crackers, and other pastries)
  • Unhealthy oils (palm, cottonseed, and partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Sodas and other sweetened/carbonated drinks.

Lifestyle and Exercise

Regular, low-impact exercises like brisk walking, cycling, and swimming can help maintain optimal knee health and strength. Yoga, particularly Iyengar yoga, can benefit people who have arthritis because it suits well for limited mobility in multiple joints.

Leg day exercises like squats and lunges can help knee bending problems by increasing muscular strength and decreasing pressure.

Safety and Side Effects

Based on reviews and testing results, most joint supplements are generally safe and provide moderate and clinically meaningful analgesic and relaxant effects on people with knee joint pain. However, some side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain have been known to occur but are extremely rare.

Some supplements may contain ingredients that can cause harmful side effects for certain individuals, so it’s best to consult a trusted healthcare provider first to avoid health risks before trying out any supplement.

Always follow the recommended dosage on the supplement packaging or your healthcare provider recommends. Taking more than the recommended dosage doesn’t increase its effectiveness and can lead to side effects.

Potential Interactions

Certain ingredients may interact with any medication you might be currently taking:


  • Acetaminophen
  • Warfarin


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) 

No known interactions

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Blood thinning medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Cyclosporine
  • Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)


  • Antibiotics
  • Anticoagulants
  • Sedatives


  • Anticoagulants
  • Anti-diabetes medications
  • Anti-tumor medications
  • Anti-cancer medications
  • Estrogen


No known interactions

Hyaluronic Acid

No known interactions

Expert Opinions and Recommendations

Physicians Dr. Chris D’Adamo and Dr. Tai Cheh Chin stress the importance of taking joint supplements (especially with ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin), stating that they provide musculoskeletal benefits, particularly cartilage-protecting and regenerating effects through different mechanisms of action. They also add that supplementation is a safe and effective non-surgical option to relieve arthritic symptoms.

On the one hand, nutritionists like Sonnda Catto, Wendy Marcason, and Mark Hyman maintain that a rich anti-inflammatory diet containing foods rich in nutrients and phytochemicals helps significantly reduce the onset of oxidative stress and inflammation early on and can make a difference in recovery. 

While research on the effects of exercise on knee joint pain is still in its infancy stages, early studies show that regular exercise can help improve knee joint function, especially for older adults (aged 50 and above) already living with osteoarthritis.

FAQ Section

Can knee cartilage be regenerated naturally?

Unlike the skin, the cartilage can’t regenerate on its own, having no nerves and a full blood supply. However, eating foods with antioxidants, polyphenols, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and various vitamins helps regenerate and strengthen the cartilage.

How long does it take for supplements to improve knee cartilage?

The timeline for cartilage recovery may vary since everyone has an individual response to medications/supplements based on their health conditions and lifestyles. However, it generally takes around a month to see noticeable changes.

Are there any risks associated with taking supplements for cartilage repair?

Taking joint supplements is generally safe and does provide considerable relief. However, some people may be allergic or morally object to certain ingredients a supplement may have. Other ingredients may also interact with any medication a person may be taking and cause harmful effects.

Can diet alone provide enough nutrients for knee cartilage repair?

Eating a healthy diet is the best way to enjoy vitamins and minerals. However, it may not be the case for those with serious nutrient deficiencies, who may have absorption problems and don’t get enough nutrients from diets alone. That’s why supplements are taken along with the diet to help fill out nutritional needs.  

How do age and overall health impact the effectiveness of supplements for knee cartilage?

Knee health supplements are specially formulated for older adults whose nutritional needs differ from those of younger ones. Ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin target and help relieve the effects of aging on the joints and cartilage.


Taking care of the knee cartilage is essential for optimal mobility and overall joint health. Taking the right supplement, paired with a healthy diet, proper exercise, and the right lifestyle habits, can help maintain and ensure its function. 

If you’re having problems with your joints or your musculoskeletal health, it’s important to consult your trusted physician or orthopedist to get proper treatment. You can also ask a nutritionist to create an anti-inflammatory diet plan and a physical therapist to help you out with knee-beneficial workouts. 

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