McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder

Today I wanted to share a brief interview with Sol Orwell from Examine.com. Remember me talking about this great resource several months ago in my first edition of Products I Love? Well today, I thought it’s perfect timing to have one of the intelligent minds behind this fantastic site, Sol Orwell, to tell you a little bit more about Examine.com and the supplement guide.

Taken from examine.com bio page:

“Sol Orwell has a different story than most. Dabbling in web development while still in high school, he found he had a knack for building websites that were both useful and popular. He incorporated his first business while still studying computer engineering at the University of Toronto.

In his mid-20s, he opted to retire, freeing up time to do what he wanted, when he wanted. Transforming from fat to fit, he began to investigate the whys and hows behind nutrition, health, and fitness. It was this research that lead to Examine.com, the culmination of thousands of hours of research into anatomy and nutrition.”

Now that you know a little bit more about him, let’s move on to the info!

What is Examine.com’s Mission? Honestly? To make a difference. I’ve been building websites since I was in high school, and in my mid-20s I retired. I wasn’t rich by any means, but traveling the world and hanging out with my dog were more important to me. As I got into fitness, I realized that while supplementation could be powerful, the marketing was turning people off. Outlandish claims with “supporting” evidence (aka rat studies and/or petri-dish studies) were muddling the waters. For example, glutamine, one of the most popular “muscle builder” supplements, generates $600,000,000+/year. All because of some petri-dish results that do not happen in-vivo! Our goal has always been to be the reference site people look to and link to when talking about supplements. Until that happens, I’m not happy! And so that’s what we’re doing – building a team that of researchers, not marketing/”product” people. We have a dietetics graduate, a medical doctor, an MBA/MPH/PhD(c), a PhD, and a PharmD. A variety of theoretical and practical experiences involved.

There is a ton of “information” out there on supplementation. For a person just looking into it, what advice would you give them? Well beyond the obvious “if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is,” I have to be a bit egoist and tell them to go to Examine.com. We’ve been at it for 2.5+ years. We’ve amassed over 25,000 studies and have looked at over 2200 human studies in-depth. There is no one else like us, and as we have no ties to any supplement company, you can be assured that our conclusions are based on the overarching base of research, not our personal feelings.

Have supplement companies offered you anything to change your results? Absolutely. Due to how large we are (15,000+ people visit us every day), we have a discernable impact in people’s buying habits. We’ve been offered large sums of money to “fix” our research or even just say “buy X supplement from Y Company.” Thankfully, this isn’t about the money. Retirement means I’m good as-is, and due to our Supplement-Goals Reference Guide, the site makes enough money to pay all of our researchers. I’m happy that I’m the only non-researcher involved, and I intend on keeping it that way.

Tell us about your Supplement-Goals Reference Guide. Is it possible to be proud of a reference guide? Because that is how we feel. Like I said, we’ve been at this for 2.5+ years. Our editorial team is highly diverse. They get in some nice arguments internally (as they should!). So the Supplement-Goals Reference Guide is our summation of all that research. It lets you quickly look up a supplement and see what it does and doesn’t do. But more importantly, it lets you look up a health goal (for example, blood sugar or memory), and then lets you find out which supplements influence those goals! It also includes lifetime updates. It’s the intelligent way to use supplements.

If there was one thing you wish people knew about supplementation, what would it be? Supplements can be powerful, but they are to be used in a targeted manner. My favorite example is berberine. It is very potent in helping reduce blood sugar levels. Now, for the Average Joe, that isn’t a big concern, but for someone diabetic (or pre-diabetic), controlling your blood sugar levels can be critical! Taking supplements in a shotgun approach is a waste of money, and has potential downsides to your health. Identifying specific health goals to tackle, and then seeing which supplements help (and which could potentially harm!) is the smart and responsible way to go!

Here is a testimonial that I wrote about Examine.com and their supplement guide, also refer back to the Products I Love post about why I love this resource for everyone!

Best,

McKel