This is the first in a new series I’m adding to my blog: fitness and nutrition product reviews. If you’re wondering why I’m doing this series, or how I’m choosing what to review, what my review standards are, and whether I am involved in affiliate programs for them, head over here for the answers: EV Fitness and Nutrition Product Reviews.
Fitness and Nutrition Product Review:
Examine.com Supplement Goals Reference Guide
- EVR (Elsbeth Vaino Rating): 9 DB
(Those of you who are fitness junkies will appreciate that I’m using a 0 to 10 dumbbell (DB) scale. Those that are also science nerds will doubly appreciate the DB scale, although you’ll probably wish I didn’t capitalize the d.)
Description: This guide provides detailed information about 170 supplements and 188 health goals. For each supplement, the guide provides a brief description, followed by a table showing:
- potential relevant effects
- the magnitude of the effect
- a level of evidence rating about the quality of information available
- the number of relevant studies
- links to each study
- comments that summarize the findings and where relevant, provide context.
What I like about the product:
- The quality and volume of scientific information about each supplement
- The table and visual layout allows me to easily find points of interest.
- That it shows the number of studies upon which the effects and comments are based, with an easy click to the name and a few details about each study, and then a link to the study abstract on the relevant journal site (and associated options for obtaining the full text of the study). This is really the coup de grace: it’s literally all here. Next time you see an article in the media that makes claims about a supplement based on a single study, flip to the relevant page in this guide to see what the rest of the studies say.
- The comments section is actually unbiased. This is a rare treat. There is no agenda other than to share knowledge. Just thinking about that makes me swoon. I know that’s dramatic. But let’s face it commentary sections more often than not are about supporting a thesis. In this case, the comments provide a simple summary of the information in the relevant studies and where relevant, some context. By context, I mean that sometimes there are studies that suggest conflicting results?on the surface, but a full review may reveal that the study methodology doesn’t fully support the conclusion, or that the studies are based on different demographics. Here is an example of a comment about the effect Fish Oil has on blood pressure:
“May decrease blood pressure in persons with high blood pressure, but does not appear to have efficacy in persons with normal blood pressure”
- The pdf is updated daily from examine.com meaning that when new studies are published, your guide will be updated with that information. So next time you read the conclusions that the media has made based on a new study, check out your guide and you’ll see that it has been updated to include that information.
- The price. I actually think the price is far too low. In fact I was chatting with a friend earlier today and we both suspect sales will be negatively affected by how low the price is. People may see the price and think “How good can it be if it’s only $39?”
What I don’t like about the product:
- In some cases, I wished for more from the supplement descriptions. While it does provide a basic description, I found myself wishing for more about the relevance of the supplement, including things like why people take them, and if there are either other similar supplements, or complementary supplements.
- I would have liked to see both the supplements and goals grouped together for ease of use. For instance, having diabetes as a category and then blood glucose and insulin sensitivity listed within it, instead of simply having blood glucose and insulin sensitivity listed alphabetically.
- An extra section in the introduction explaining some of the terms they will see would be very valuable, particularly for those who do not have scientific backgrounds.
- The pdf format is viewable, but not optimal, in readers like ibooks. Navigation in ibooks is a bit clunky, and sometimes the page break make it awkward to read an effect – although not impossible.
Final thoughts: This is a case where the pros far outweigh the cons. Bottom line: it’s a really, really good source of unbiased information.
How to buy:
(This two link system is something you’ll see in all of my product reviews where I liked the product (or service), and there is an affiliate program. If I don’t like a product, I will only include a direct purchasing link (you may still want to buy it even if I don’t like it). If I like the product but there is no affiliate program, I will also only include a direct link (too obvious?).
If you’re wondering about this affiliate stuff, give this post a read. I hope you’ll agree that it’s reasonable that I do this, and that you trust that I value my integrity too much to ever let an affiliate option cloud my judgement. If you don’t support the concept of the affiliate links, but want to buy a product that I’ve reviewed, I have included an affiliate-free link for you.
Other Fitness and Nutrition Products Reviewed: