Flavonoids and Spices are Rockstars for Joint Health

By Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

April 17, 2023

Flavonoids and Spices are Rockstars for Joint Health
Flavonoids and spices bring several benefits for health and well-being. This includes your joints and management of cartilage wear-and-tear. Helping your joints age well requires different tools. Learn more about the importance and effectiveness of certain flavonoids and spices for joint health.

Joints and Cellular Reactions to Stressors

Whether it is your feet, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, or hands, aging joints bring about discomfort. Changes in your mobility and ability to participate in activities occur gradually over decades from chronic low levels of oxidative stress chemicals released in your joints.

Inside your cartilage cells, bones, tendons, and ligaments are numerous cellular pathways, biochemicals, and networks. They respond to movements, repetitive activities, and mechanical pressure with the release of free radicals.

Cellular pathways include pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, like p38 MAPK. It includes compounds like TNF-alpha, interleukins, cytokines, macrophages, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and inflammasomes. These pathways and compounds create oxidative stress to your cartilage cells and joints in response to movements, prolonged sitting, and other stressors.

In addition, networks of thin membranes called endoplasmic reticulum(ER) located inside cartilage cells and other joint tissues are affected by oxidative stress. This membrane tissue distributes proteins and other cellular fluids in joints for repair and homeostasis. Wear-and-tear and the release of pro-inflammatory compounds pummel this delicate network with free radicals which disturbs tissue repair.

Mitochondria inside cartilage cells and other joint tissues are impaired from repetitive strain and deter cellular energetics. As mitochondrial stress persists, cartilage cells lack the cellular energy necessary for sustenance. Over time, cartilage cells undergo apoptosis or cell death. More information about this topic may be found in the article Joint Health Depends on Healthy Mitochondria.

Like a smoldering fire, cumulative and chronic release of these pro-inflammatory compounds and free radicals interferes with the structural make-up and functional integrity of your cartilage and joints. The quality of your cartilage, bone, and other connective tissues is disturbed. The repair capacity is inhibited and cartilage cells erode. Management of this ongoing cellular wear-and-tear is important for your joint comfort and mobility.

Flavonoids and Spices for Joints

In recent years, researchers have focused on flavonoids and spices like quercetin, turmeric/curcumin and ginger for joint health. They are known to provide a stellar array of health benefits for other areas, but these plant-based antioxidants also provide important support for managing joint wear-and-tear.


Quercetin is a powerhouse bioflavonoid well known for its benefits in immune health. It is widely used to reduce sinus congestion and mild allergies as well as aids in intestinal tract health. Research demonstrates that quercetin supports joint health too!

Animal and cellular studies reveal the effects of quercetin on oxidative stress in joints. A study published February 2023 showed that quercetin provides a “protective effect” in joints. Results showed that quercetin modulates inflammatory cascade mechanisms resulting in less cellular stress in bone and cartilage cells as well as joint synovial fluid.

Other research shows that quercetin modulates the expression of p38-MAPK signals which reduces joint stress. It also inhibits the expression of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, NF-kappa B and other pro-inflammatory compounds in joints.

Quercetin provides antioxidant activity that protects the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) against stress in cartilage cells. It also activates the anti-aging SIRT1/AMPK signaling pathway which inhibits ER stress. This aids in protecting cartilage cells from damage and risk of cell death.

Other animal studies demonstrated that quercetin protects and promotes the production of compounds involved with cartilage cell repair. It also provides antioxidant support to mitochondria inside cells. Quercetin simultaneously suppresses other oxidative stress compounds like ROS that lead to chronic inflammatory stress and damage in joint tissue.


Turmeric has been a prized and coveted spice for thousands of years. Curcumin or curcuminoids are the active ingredients in turmeric.

Cellular studies show that curcumin modulates the release of several pro-inflammatory compounds like NF-kappa B, prostaglandins, and cytokines in cartilage cells. This leads to reduced apoptosis of cartilage cells.

In a clinical trial in adults, oxidative stress biomarkers of IL-1 beta and ROS were measured before, during, and after 120 days of use of curcumin. Those who used curcumin experienced significant reductions in these markers.

The effectiveness of curcumin for joint health was also demonstrated in a meta-analysis report on several adult clinical trials. Overall improvements were noted with joint comfort, function, and reduction in stiffness. Adults were supplemented with 1,000 mg of curcumin per day for 4-16 weeks in these various trials.

Another meta-analysis study of 15 randomized controlled clinical trials in adults showed that curcumin was safer and a more effective supplement compared to NSAIDs. Joint comfort, function, and mobility improvements were noted and comparable.

Typical turmeric/curcumin supplements are generally poorly absorbed and require the addition of a black pepper extract or a special fat for absorption. At Wellness Resources, we provide an innovative, advanced turmeric extract called TurmiPure Gold. It is the world’s most bioavailable and first bioequivalent turmeric at a low dose of 300 mg. TurmiPure Gold does not require other compounds for absorption and is in our Repair Plus and Turmeric Gold supplements.

Learn more:

Breakthrough Turmeric Extract Optimized for Absorption and Health Benefits

Turmeric – Why You Should Be Taking This Amazing Nutrient

Curcumin Supports Gut Lining and Health


Ginger is more than just a spice that adds a little zing to your food and beverages. In addition to digestive health, ginger provides valuable support for your joint health.

Ginger has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and protective effects to cartilage cells. It activates and enhances your body’s natural antioxidant enzyme Nrf2 inside tissues.

Cellular studies also show that ginger protects mitochondria in cartilage cells from ROS and other oxidative stress molecules. Because of its antioxidant properties, ginger protects cartilage cell from apoptosis and preserves cartilage cell vitality.

A recent clinical trial showed that ginger can potentially “enhance and sustain the effect of turmeric.” It also showed significant reduction of pro-inflammatory PgE2 levels lending to improved joint comfort.

Other clinical trials also showed that ginger was beneficial in supporting joint comfort and function in adults. Participants consumed 750 mg of ginger per day for 12 weeks which was well-tolerated. When combined with other compounds even greater synergistic results occurred.

Self-Care Support

Your daily activities require healthy joints. A neck or back ache, sore knees, or that nagging stiffness interferes with your productivity and mobility. It also reflects a need for self-care to manage the chronic wear-and-tear and oxidative stress smoldering in your joints. A whole foods diet, exercise, stretching, core strength, and a healthy lifestyle provide the foundation to support joint vitality.

Take your joint self-care routine to the next level by adding in quercetin, turmeric, and/or ginger. Repair Plus contains quercetin and an advanced absorption turmeric extract. Joint All contains ginger and other essential joint nutrients. These supplements have been customer favorites for decades! Give them a try and get back some joint comfort!

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