With the release of the new The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide, I was fortunate to grab Sol Orwell, one of the founding members of Examine.com to do a quick interview. If you missed the posts from the last two days, you can check them out here:
KN: Thanks for taking the time to do this Sol. I’m sure it’s nice to take a break from sifting through new research! For those that aren’t familiar with your work, can you give a quick rundown on your background?
Thank you Kevin!
My background is a bit odd. I call myself the immigrant dream – I came to Canada for high school, and immediately started to dabble with websites. I went to university with a full scholarship, but lost it within the first semester – I was too busy building up my business. I retired a few years after graduating – money wasn’t motivation to me, and I preferred to travel, go on epic walks with my dog, and so forth.
Still, I was pretty unhealthy, and as I got more fit, I wrote down what was working and what wasn’t. Asking a lot of questions, I got connected to Kurtis Frank, who eventually became the co-founder for Examine.com. Since then, he does the primary research, and I make sure everything remains humming along. We also have an awesome editorial team of smart people involved now
KN: Good stuff. One of the oldest arguments out there is that you don’t need supplements if you eat properly. What are your thoughts on this?
It’s both true and untrue.
I will agree that for areas like protein and multivitamins, they can be a waste. Protein powder is a supplement (and a tasty one at that), and is just *one* way to get protein. It isn’t the only way.
At the same time, the reality is that supplementation should be focused on targeted areas, not something to take in general. So when you get to supplements like berberine (great for blood sugar control), curcumin (great for inflammation), cissus (great for joint pain) – well, you just don’t get them via diet.
Lastly, you also enter environmental factors. If you don’t eat enough fish, you should supplement fish oil. If you don’t get enough direct sunlight, you should supplement vitamin D.
Supplementation can be quite potent, it’s just unfortunate that supplement companies and their marketing has made so many people wary.
KN: I always come back to the idea that being able to get things through diet/lifestyle and actually getting them are rarely synonymous with the athletes and clients we see, which makes the argument a bit of a moot point anyway! Your last point is a great segway to my next question: With all the outrageous claims that some companies make, what can people do to make sure their supplements are safe AND effective?
Whew – it’s tough.
Education is the way to go. You need to arm yourself with knowledge on what has been proven to work, what has been proven to be useless, and even what may work (there are a lot of promising supplements that we need do conduct more research on).
Honestly, and this will sound very self-serving, but our site – Examine.com – is the way to go. We’ve been around for 2.5+ years. We are independent and have no affiliation with any supplement company. We are neutral, with an editorial team comprised of a medical doctor, an MBA/MPH/PhD(c), a PhD, and a pharmD. It gives us a base of both theoretical and practical knowledge on what works, and what doesn’t.
KN: You recently put together the “Supplement Goals Reference Guide”, which is hands down the most comprehensive resource on supplements I’ve ever seen. Can you give our readers an inside look at what’s in the guide and how it can help them?
The S-G Reference (as we call it) is the summation of our 2.5+ years of research. We looked at 2300+ human studies (a common trick supplement companies do is to use rat studies or human petri-dish studies and make bold claims from them) to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Basically, you look up any supplement (we have over 300), and we will tell what the research says it does or doesn’t do. For example, if you looked up berberine, you would see it has a notable effect in decreasing your total cholesterol, and a very strong reduction in blood sugar.
What makes the S-G Reference so powerful is that it lets you look up over 200+ different health goals to figure out which supplements you should take, and which you may want to avoid. This goes back to my earlier point that supplementation should be targeted, and not just taken because it “may” be healthy. So for example, if you suffer from nausea, you can look it up and find that ginger actually helps decrease it!
That’s our entire point here – figure out what your health goals are, and find out which supplements will help or hinder you towards those goals.
KN: Wow, great stuff Sol. There aren’t many days that have gone by since I first opened my copy that I haven’t referred back to it at least once. It’s an unbelievable (I literally cannot believe you guys were able to put this together) resource. I know I’m grateful you put it together! Thanks again for taking the time to share some insight into Examine.com and the S-G Reference. We’ll talk soon!
To your success,
P.S. Don’t forget the discounted price only lasts until noon (EST) today (Friday) so don’t drag your feet! Grab your copy now! The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.