Frequently Asked Questions: Supplement Products
If you have a question or concern not covered here, please use the contact page to get your answer.
There is no real method of choosing products to include in the database. Typically, when I see a product advertised on the web, Facebook, or Instagram, I take a screenshot, add it to the backlog, and add it when I get a chance. A publically available ingredients list is the only requirement for inclusion. If there's a product that's not currently included in the database, send a link using the contact page.
Supplement products are rated in seven areas: effectiveness, nutrition label transparency, ingredient makeup, claim makeup, research rating, ingredient dosing, and ranking within its category. The product receives a thumb up or down in each category for a maximum of seven thumbs up. If a product receives at least 4 thumbs up, its overall rating is a thumbs up, otherwise, its overall rating is a thumbs down. Read more: How does the database rate supplement products?
Products are ranked according to how many thumbs up they receive in the seven rated areas. The tie-breaker among products with the same total thumbs up is a product's effectiveness rating.
Products are given two rankings: the first is their ranking out of all 4,013 products in the entire database, the second is their ranking within their category.
Ingredients get their effectiveness rating from the conclusions of studies. Products get their effectiveness rating from the ingredients they contain. For example, creatine monohydrate's effectiveness rating is currently 2 and beta alanine's is 2. If there was a product that contained just these two ingredients, it's effectiveness rating would come from averaging their effectiveness rating which comes to 2 out of 3. A product's effectiveness rating paints a picture of how well its ingredients work. Products with an effectiveness rating greater than or equal to 2.5 are considered extremely effective, greater than or equal to 1.5 but less than 2.5 is considered moderately effective, anything less than 1.5 is considered ineffective. A product must have an effectiveness rating of at least 1.5 to receive a thumbs up in this area.
A product's nutrition label transparency tells you the percentage of ingredients on its label listed with amounts. Often, manufacturers hide ingredient amounts under proprietary formulas. A big part of rating a product is evaluating its ingredient amounts. Evaluating the overall effectiveness of a product is impossible if a label does not disclose ingredient amounts. A label transparency score of 100 means 100% of its ingredients are listed with amounts. A product must disclose all ingredient amounts to receive a thumbs up in this area. Read more: What are proprietary blends?
A product's ingredient makeup is the percentage of its ingredients rated as moderately or extremely effective. Ingredients must receive an effectiveness rating of at least 1.5 to be labeled as moderately effective. A product must be made up of at least 75% of moderately or extremely effective ingredients to receive a thumbs up in this area.
A product is given an overall rating as well as a claim specific rating. An overall rating does not necessarily tell the whole picture of what a product is good at. Just as some ingredients might be great at increasing strength and bad at improving endurance, products may be great at certain claims while providing no benefits in others. A product's specific claim rating is based on its ingredient profile. A product containing only creatine monohydrate will score highly in increasing strength and poorly in improving endurance. A product must be moderately or extremely effective in at least 75% of its claims to receive a thumbs up in this area.
A product's research rating is a measure of how much research is available on its ingredients. A product that uses sparsely researched ingredients, or ingredients with no research backing at all, will have a low research rating. A product must have a research rating of at least 60 to receive a thumbs up in this area.
An ingredient's effective dosing range is set by conclusions from its studies. It's not enough for a product to be made up of effective ingredients, it also must dose its ingredients within effective ranges. A product must dose at least 75% of its ingredients within effective ranges to receive a thumbs up in this area.
Products are ranked (#1 down to the last) against all other products within a category. The ranking is based on how many thumbs up a product receives. The tiebreaker for products receiving the same number of thumbs up is the effectiveness rating. A product must be ranked within the top two-thirds of its category to receive a thumbs up in this area.
There are several ways to find products in the database. The most powerful tool is the product filter. This tool uses several filters to help you find the perfect supplement including category, manufacturer, rating, ingredients to include or avoid, label transparency, claim ratings, and serving size unit. If you're looking for a specific product, use the simple keyword search. If you're not looking for anything specific, you can browse all products or category specific products here.
Products are assigned to a specific category (pre-workout, intra-workout, fat burners..) based on a manufacturer's marketing materials.
Many manufacturers choose to include ingredients with little or no research backing. If you are aware of peer-reviewed articles on ingredients not included in the database, send a link using the contact page.
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