Hundreds of studies exist on most supplements. The challenge is finding those studies and figuring out whether a supplement is effective for a specific claim. The Supplement Database analyzes studies and gives you the information you need to come to an educated decision about whether or not a supplement works.
There are two important questions to consider when researching a supplement: 1) Does the evidence support a supplement’s claim?, and, 2) Is there enough evidence to come to a solid conclusion? The database helps you answer both.
Effectiveness vs. Confidence Ratings
Each supplement and claim have two ratings: effectiveness and confidence. The effectiveness rating deals with whether or not a supplement does what it promises. The confidence rating deals with how many studies are included in the database on a certain supplement. Ideally, you want to find a supplement with both high effectiveness and confidence ratings. This means there is a lot of evidence backing up a good claim.
The database uses information from hundreds of studies. Each supplement contains multiple claims. For example, some of the claims associated with whey protein include increasing strength, increasing muscle mass, and decreasing body fat. Each of these claims are individually researched by multiple studies.
Each study contributes a rating of a 1, 2, or 3 based on its conclusions. A 3 means the supplement does all it claims. A 2 means the supplement does some of what it claims. A 1 means the supplement does none of what it claims. These ratings are averaged together to give you an effective rating for a supplements claims. Remember some supplements might be effective in one area but completely useless in another. Be sure to check all claims within a supplement’s page to see what a supplement is and isn’t capable of doing.
Another factor to consider is how many studies the database contains on a supplement and its claims. If only one study concludes a supplement is effective, does that really mean anything? A supplement can have a high or low effectiveness rating with only a small amount of research backing up a claim. A low confidence rating cautions you against making any solid conclusions.
Supplements that live up to their expectations must have both high effectiveness and confidence ratings. This lets you know that a large amount of evidence backs up what the supplement claims it can do.
|1||This rating means there is little to no evidence the supplement does what it claims. You should not expect any positive results.|
|2||This rating means there is evidence the supplement can do some, but not all, of what it claims. You should expect some positive results.|
|3||This rating means the evidence fully backs what the supplement claims. You should expect positive results.|
|< 40||This rating means that there are not enough studies in the database to come to any firm conclusions on the supplement’s effectiveness. The effectiveness rating is unreliable.|
|40-80||This rating means there are almost enough studies in the database to come to a firm conclusion on the supplement’s effectiveness.|
|> 80||This rating means there are enough studies in the database to come to a firm conclusion on the supplement’s effectiveness. The effectiveness rating is reliable.|