Supplement Scientist Shares 4 Takes for Heart Health, Inflammation
Supplement Scientist Shares 4 Takes for Heart Health, Inflammation

Richard Bloomer is the director of a laboratory that tests how effective and safe supplements are.
Getty Images/ Richard Bloomer

  • Richard Bloomer investigates what health claims supplement manufacturers make for a living.
  • He said there are some great ingredients that can be used along with a healthy lifestyle.
  • Bloomer takes vitamin D for metabolic health and fish oil for her heart.

Richard Bloomer has been researching supplements and how safe or effective they are for over two decades.

He founded the University of Memphis Center for Dietary Supplement and Dietary Supplement Research, a laboratory that tests whether products provide the benefits claimed, partly because of his personal interest in their potential health and partly as a means of providing accurate information to consumers .

The supplement industry has grown steadily in recent years, with studies showing that more than half of U.S. adults take such products, according to the American Medical Association. By 2028, the market is expected to generate around $308 billion globally, according to Statista.

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA before they enter the market in the same way that drugs are, making the market a difficult place to navigate.

“There are a lot of add-ons that probably aren’t worth our time and money, but I think there are a lot of things that really have value. It’s just a matter of finding out which ones have value and why,” Bloomer told Business Insider.

He used supplements for many years, along with a healthy diet, exercising about five times a week, and focusing on getting good quality sleep—and stressed the importance of all three.

“Those things that I hold so valuable and I don’t think supplements will ever replace them,” he said.

However, in his research, he has seen evidence to suggest that certain ingredients can improve various aspects of health, such as physical performance and cardiometabolic health.

Bloomer shared the four supplements she uses to take her health from good to great.

Codliver oil

Bloomer takes good-quality fish oil daily for heart health and to prevent inflammation, he said.

It uses a liquid form that contains a combination of the omega-three fatty acids EPA and DHA and mixes it into a smoothie or meal replacement drink.

“It also has a nice flavor, not fishy at all, but orange or lemony, and it does a good job,” he said.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to benefit heart health in a number of ways, including reducing triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, slowing the build-up of plaque, a substance that hardens and blocks arteries, and lowering blood pressure, according to Mt. Sinai.

Fish oil has anti-inflammatory effects that some evidence suggests may protect against muscle soreness and damage from going to the gym. A small study found that men who took three grams of fish oil capsules a day for four weeks experienced less muscle soreness after exercise than those who did not.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus and is needed for healthy teeth, bones and muscles. Although you can get it from some foods, such as egg yolks and red meat, sunlight is the best source.

Bloomer takes 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily because he said most people in the U.S. are deficient.

“I really get out a good amount. So for me, and my blood levels have been checked, a thousand is about right.” However, he recommended that people talk to a healthcare provider to find the right dose for them.

He also takes vitamin D3 for its beneficial metabolic effects, he said. Research suggests that there may be a link between low levels of vitamin D and a higher risk of developing metabolic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, including hypertension.

Multivitamins

Bloomer also takes high-quality multivitamins daily, while acknowledging the mounting evidence suggesting they are useless.

“If people say, well, it’s just going to be excreted in the urine, they’re probably right. A lot of this stuff you don’t need is going to be excreted in the urine, but it’s just a cheap insurance policy.”

He added: “It’s a few cents a day, and people who are very active and exposed to a lot of stress, there’s some literature that suggests they can benefit.”

Business Insider previously reported that emerging evidence suggests that multivitamin supplements may improve memory in people over 60.

Protein powder

To make sure she gets enough protein throughout the day, Bloomer has two to three protein shakes a day. Protein is essential for many bodily functions, including muscle growth and retention.

“I think for people who are on the go and very busy, it’s a really good way to make sure you’re getting good quality nutrition without actually sitting down and eating a meal,” he said. “It’s relatively cheap and you can get some really good quality protein these days.”

Bloomer uses whey isolate because it seems to reach the muscles faster, he said. But in the past he has used protein powders based on soy, pea, egg and others. “I think the quality of most powders is pretty decent,” he said.

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