Bill Gurley has spent decades researching all kinds of supplements, as varied as St. John’s wort, milk thistle, and ginkgo biloba. It’s part of his job as the principal scientist in the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, where he researches the safety of herbal supplements and their interactions with modern medications. His own medicine cabinet, however, is pretty sparse.
I take dietary supplements, but I don’t take a whole lot, Gurley told Insider
Gurley shared the three supplements that he thinks are actually worth taking and that he says he takes every day.
Turmeric has gained popularity as a treatment for indigestion and can help with other ailments as well, such as reducing inflammation.
I take turmeric on a daily basis, Gurley said.
Gurley, who’s 63, says turmeric has some “general anti-inflammatory properties” thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin. One study indicated curcumin might relieve joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis.
It’s important, however, to be cautious of where you buy your turmeric supplements. Some supplement manufacturers may not be careful about formulating their products, which can lead to supplements containing contaminants that increase the likelihood of dangerous health conditions, such as liver damage.
Gurley takes turmeric formulated from the brand Thorne and specifically likes its curcumin-phytosome supplement. He says this particular formulation allows the product to get “absorbed much faster and not metabolized as extensively.”
Gurley also uses tea-tree oil daily to keep his skin healthy.
Tea-tree oil is an extract made from the Australian tea tree and may help with a variety of skin conditions, including acne, dandruff, wound healing, nail fungus, candida infections, and skin allergies.
Tea-tree oil is great stuff. I formulate a tea-tree oil product and use it every day on my feet, Gurley said.
For those looking to try tea-tree oil, Gurley says some companies will substitute tea-tree oil with cheaper products, such as eucalyptus oil, unbeknownst to the consumer.
Not all tea-tree oil is created equally. Eucalyptus oil is much cheaper, and it smells similar, Gurley said.
Finally, Gurley says he takes a good, old-fashioned multivitamin every day.
Multivitamins are formulated with a range of vitamins and minerals and can be helpful for common vitamin deficiencies.
Gurley says his multivitamin is from the brand Pure Encapsulations.
Not everybody needs a multivitamin, though. The best way to determine whether you have a deficiency is to check in with your doctor.
Be careful where you buy supplements, and talk to your doctor first
Gurley says it’s important to do research before buying any supplement. Some supplements end up being contaminated with ingredients not listed on the package, including prescription drugs. This can sometimes lead to dangerous health conditions, such as liver or heart injuries.
To avoid this, Gurley recommends buying products that are certified by the United States Pharmacopeia or the NSF Certified for Sport program.
Gurley also says it’s important to check with your doctor before trying out new supplements. Some supplements can interact with prescription medications or other supplements in dangerous ways.