Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to pain relief.
Instaflex is a joint pain supplement that claims to be "so powerful it can deliver relief in just 1 week." With 1 in 5 American adults experiencing chronic pain, based on medical research, the demand for this type of supplement is increasing.
But can a dietary supplement really provide pain relief that's substantial? Are the ingredients in Instaflex backed by research? Does the supplement contain any unhealthy additive ingredients? And do real users report pain reductions when using this product?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in Instaflex Advanced (their pill supplement) and Instaflex Cream based on medical research, and share real user reviews of their most popular product. We'll also explain whether or not Instaflex is likely to cause side effects, and highlight a lawsuit that the manufacturer recently settled.
Instaflex Advanced Review
Instaflex Advanced is the brand’s most popular dietary supplement. It has six active ingredients: turmeric extract, resveratrol, Boswellia serrata extract, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and black pepper extract.
Turmeric extract is included at a dose of 200 milligrams (mg). We consider this an effective dose for pain relief, given that a meta-study published in the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal described the therapeutic dosing range of turmeric extract to be between 93 mg and 2,000 mg.
Resveratrol is another effective analgesic (pain-relieving) ingredient. However we consider the 100 mg in Instaflex to be underdosed, because as we described in our Relief Factor reviews article, we cannot identify any medical evidence that resveratrol doses below 150 mg are effective for pain relief.
Boswellia serrata extract has been shown in clinical research to reduce pain at the dose in Instaflex. A medical review published in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies journal found that boswellia extract was effective for reducing pain in osteoarthritis patients in doses ranging from 100-250 mg/day. Instaflex provides 100 mg of boswellia.
UC-II is a patented type of collagen made from chicken sternum. It appears to be effective at much lower doses than regular collagen.
The UC-II dose in Instaflex is 40 mg, which is the exact same dose used in a medical study on UC-II for joint support in arthritis patients. The group supplementing with UC-II experienced reductions in pain, stiffness and experienced improved overall physical function. We consider this ingredient effective for pain relief.
Hyaluronic acid is the next-listed ingredient, and may be underdosed. There’s only 5 mg of hyaluronic acid in Instaflex, but the minimum dose of oral hyaluronic acid used in a medical review of hyaluronic acid and knee pain was 80 mg.
Bioperine is a standardized extract of black pepper that helps the body absorb turmeric. We consider this an effective ingredient choice for a pain relief supplement containing turmeric extract.
Instaflex Advanced also contains two inactive ingredients we recommend avoiding.
Titanium dioxide is a bleaching agent that’s banned in the European Union (E.U.) over genotoxicity concerns.
FD&C Blue #1 is an artificial food dye, and we recommend avoiding artificial food dye intake entirely. A 2012 medical review concluded the following: "This review finds that all of the nine currently US-approved dyes raise health concerns of varying degrees."
We consider Instaflex Advanced likely to reduce pain, given that it contains several research-backed and effectively-dosed ingredients. However we do not recommend the supplement overall due to the inclusion of two questionable additive ingredients.
Instaflex Cream Review
Instaflex sells a Pain Relief Cream for topical treatment of arthritic aches and pains.
In our opinion, it makes no sense to pay $24.99 for a 2-ounce tube of menthol cream when there are many brands selling menthol cream for much less. Dr. Bronner’s sells a menthol cream of the same size for around half the price on Amazon. Dr. Bronner's menthol cream is also free of questionable additive compounds, while Instaflex cream has some that we'll cover below.
Polyacrylamide is a “demonstrated neurotoxin in humans” based on medical research.
Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that was found to be toxic to human cells in a 2020 clinical trial.
Overall we believe Instaflex Pain Relief Cream is likely to be effective due to its active ingredient menthol, however we don't recommend it and we consider it an illogical purchase given its extremely high price and its questionable additive ingredients. Consumers can easily acquire menthol creams at a much lower price that are free of these additive ingredients.
Does Instaflex Cause Side Effects?
Consumers are often curious about whether Instaflex is likely to cause side effects, given that many prescription pain medications carry a significant side effect risk.
Based on its active ingredients, we don’t believe Instaflex Advanced poses a significant risk of side effects. Of course any supplement or medication can cause a reaction in any patient, but for the most part the active ingredients used in Instaflex are well-researched, safe, and effective.
The artificial dye Blue 1 was found to cause hypersensitivity reactions in some patients, which refers to an immune system overreaction that can cause symptoms like skin rashes and swelling. We consider this ingredient to have a low-to-moderate risk of side effects which is why we recommend avoiding supplements containing it.
Instaflex does not appear to have been studied in a clinical trial, so there doesn't appear to be any real data from trial participants detailing side effects.
Where to Buy Instaflex
Instaflex is available for sale on a variety of major retailers' websites, including the official manufacturer's website. Here's a price breakdown:
Instaflex website: $69.99 (plus $4.99 shipping fee, link)
GNC: $64.99 (link)
Amazon: $55.80 (link to Amazon listing)
Walmart: $49.99 (third-party seller, link)
Surprisingly, Instaflex is most expensive on the official manufacturer's website. Walmart has the best price for this supplement at the time of updating this article.
Is Instaflex's "Free Sample" Really Free?
Instaflex offers a free sample on their website. It provides 14 days worth of Instaflex supplements. The sample is not truly free, as consumers still need to pay for shipping and processing which costs $5.99.
It appears from the fine print on the free sample terms, shown above, that Instaflex automatically signs up free sample users for the full product subscription after 18 days. This information is towards the bottom of a very long webpage, and we don't believe it's presented in a very fair way to consumers.
It's extremely important that consumers signing up for Instaflex note down their sign-up date so they have the option to cancel without being charged for a full subscription.
Instaflex Settles False Advertising Lawsuit
In 2017, Instaflex settled a lawsuit for $4.5 million over claims that the company was falsely advertising their supplement as being "scientifically beneficial" for joint support, according to Counsel Financial.
According to the above-linked document, Direct Digital (which is the manufacturer of Instaflex that has since rebranded to Adaptive Health) agreed to stop claiming that the product was created by a research group and that it contains exclusive ingredients.
We consider these changes to be a good thing, because Instaflex certainly does not contain exclusive ingredients. All of the active ingredients in Instaflex can be found in other supplements.
We consider this to be a red flag about Instaflex as a brand and regarding its manufacturer.
Real Customer Reviews of Instaflex
Instaflex is sold on Amazon, which is a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion. The supplement has been reviewed over 5,500 times at the time of updating this article, and has an average review rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Michbruno” who claims the supplement significantly reduced pain:
“An absolute miracle in a bottle! When I first took it. The next morning I stood and walked. Still in pain. But not excruciating as usual. I thought...no way. The second day I could actually get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Something I normally tried not to do because getting up out of bed was just too painful.”
The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Darrell D." who claims that Instaflex Advanced caused uncomfortable side effects:
"Let me start with this, after taking this and the Instaflex Super Turmeric for about 4 days, I noticed an improvement with my knee pain. This stuff works! However...roughly after 2 days of taking both, I developed SERIOUS diarrhea! I mean the don't sneeze type. I continued to take thinking I needed time to adjust to the change. NOT!"
Can Food-Based Supplements Relieve Pain?
Cinnamon is a spice that has been studied for its ability to reduce pain and support joint health.
A clinical trial published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that cinnamon supplementation at a daily dose of 500 mg reduced inflammation and joint swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
A 2020 clinical trial found that cinnamon supplementation reduced inflammatory markers. The study authors concluded that “Cinnamon could be regarded as a safe supplement to relieve pain.”
Illuminate Labs manufactures a Ceylon Cinnamon Extract supplement that’s potent (standardized to minimum 8% flavonoids) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy (test results published transparently on the product page). It only costs $15 for a monthly subscription.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Ceylon Cinnamon Extract at this link.
Collagen is the core structural protein in joints. The body produces it naturally, but its production decreases with age. Medical research has shown that collagen can reduce joint pain in athletes at a 10 gram (g) daily dose, and can reduce arthritic pain (meta-study, doses ranging between 40 mg and 10 g daily dose).
We recommend Bulletproof Collagen Powder as our top collagen product because it provides an effective collagen dose per serving (20 g) and contains one single ingredient: collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed animals. There are no questionable additives. This supplement only costs $45.16 for over a month's worth of product.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen powder at this link to the brand's official website.
Cornbread CBD Lotion is our top pick for a topical CBD product.
This lotion also contains menthol, which was shown in a 2022 clinical trial to reduce pain scores.
Interested consumers can check out Cornbread CBD Lotion at this link to the product page on the official brand's website.
We do not recommend using dietary supplements to treat any specific medical condition related to pain, and we recommend that individuals speak with their doctor prior to using any supplement for pain relief.
Instaflex Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of Instaflex as a brand in our opinion.
- Mostly effective ingredients
- Mostly effective dosages
- Good customer reviews
- Free sample available on website
- Questionable filler ingredients
- Cream is overpriced
- Unique formula doesn't appear to be tested in clinical research