Acquiring Accurate Health Information 💉
Like all of us, I care about my health and want to use treatments and supplements that are going to be beneficial. Unfortunately, these days there is so much quackery online that if you are not careful, it is easy to fall prey to disinformation. Thus, having reliable sources of health information is crucial.
Below is a rather short list of sources that I use to evaluate supplements or treatments, and recommend others do the same. All of these sources are funded by public funds or non-profit organisations, so the probability of them being without a hidden agenda is higher than if funds came from private companies.
An excellent initiative by NHS where they dissect claims spread on news websites and try to dig to the bottom of the barrel to find the truth. I often find that articles on news websites are often somewhat accurate but miss some key details, and thus misinforms the readers by exaggerating the claims or implications of a given study.
Founded in early 2011, this site is run by top-notch experts who examine research whilst users can submit corrections or research that got missed. It works for supplements and various foods, each one containing a summary about it. The summary, amongst other things, lists all studies done on the supplement or food and evaluates how significant the effects are, and how reliably can the results of the study be trusted.
The site specializes in health-related frauds such as myths, fads, fallacies and misconduct. It is operated by an international network of doctors and other experts who are concerned about the harm that these frauds may bring and thus try to debunk them all using good quality science. From what I understand, none of these doctors get paid and are doing it out of sheer altruism.
As stated on their website, their mission is "to identify the best quality health and nutritional products through independent testing". The site is similar to Examine, with the key difference being that ConsumerLab does its own testing on supplements and foods. Plus, you have to be a member to read the results of the studies.
WH Foods is operated by George Mateljan Foundation which is a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests. It looked a bit sleazy to me at first but after research I deemed it to be reliable. The website contains information about pretty much any food out there, and has scientific studies at the bottom of each food's page to support the facts listed on the page.
NCBI is a library of sorts, providing access to public databases. The most effective way to use it is probably by searching for a given condition, treatment, drug, or whatever else, and see what studies have been published on it. Then, at the very least, you can read the abstract of the paper and have a general idea of what real science says about it.
It is worth noting that even scientific papers have various intentional and unintentional flaws. I will not discuss them here but it is worth keeping in mind. Perhaps the biggest and the easiest one to check is to find out who funded the study. For example, if it's a favourable study about sugar, funded by a sugar company, I would give the study more suspicion than if it was funded by public funds.
That's all for now. I know this list is not complete but it does the job for me now. If you have any resources you want to share, or have strategies you use to find reliable health informaton, I would love to hear it!