- Dr. Bill Gurley has spent decades researching the safety of herbal supplements.
- He personally takes three supplements a day: turmeric, tea tree oil, and a multivitamin.
Dr. Bill Gurley has spent decades researching all types of different supplements, from St. John’s wort to 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,” Gurley told Insider, “but I don’t take a whole lot.”
Gurley shared the three supplements that he thinks are actually worth taking, and that he personally takes every day.
“I take turmeric on a daily basis,” said Gurley.
Gurley, who is 63, said that turmeric has some “general anti-inflammatory properties” thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin. One study found that curcumin may relieve joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis.
However, it’s important to be cautious of where you buy your turmeric supplements. Some supplement manufacturers aren’t careful about formulating their products, which can lead to supplements containing contaminants that increase the likelihood of dangerous health conditions, like liver damage.
Gurley takes turmeric formulated from the brand Thorne, and specifically likes their phytosome curcumin supplement. He said this particular formulation allows the product to get “absorbed much faster and not metabolized as extensively.”
Tea tree oil
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,” Gurley said. “I formulate a tea tree oil product and use it every day on my feet.”
For those looking to try tea tree oil, Gurley cautions that some companies will substitute tea tree oil for cheaper products, like eucalyptus oil, unbeknownst to the consumer.
“Not all tea tree oil is created equally,” Gurley said. “Eucalyptus oil is much cheaper, and it smells similar,” Gurley said.
Finally, Gurley said he takes a good, old-fashioned multivitamin every day.
Gurley said his multivitamin is from the brand Pure Encapsulations.
Not everybody needs a multivitamin, though. The best way to determine if you have a deficiency is to check in with your doctor.
Be careful where you buy supplements, and talk to your doctor first
Gurley said 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, like liver or heart injuries.
Additionally, Gurley said it’s important to check with your doctor before trying out new supplements. Some supplements can interact with prescription medications or other supplements in potentially dangerous ways.