What does Examine think of Drs. Huberman, Attia, Patrick, etc.?

    Tips to keep in mind for podcasts and videos.


    We get this type of question more and more each year, so I wanted to address it.

    The short answer:

    Examine focuses on what the studies say, not what people say.

    The long answer:

    Tons of people use podcasts and YouTube videos as their primary source of health information. That’s great! We don’t expect or want you to use Examine as your only source, and good science is good science no matter where you find it. But it may be helpful to keep a few tips in mind as you learn from podcasts and videos.

    Some historical context

    When Examine was founded in 2011, none of the most currently-famous health and nutrition communicators were widely known.

    The most well known health communicators of the early 2000s were physicians who became famous by writing books or being on TV:

    • Dr. Oz
    • Dr. Atkins
    • Dr. Weil
    • Dr. Chopra
    • Your favorite early 2000s physician here

    Things have changed a bit since then, mostly because of the internet. The internet has done a lot of good for health science, like enabling learning outside of classrooms and textbooks. It’s also done some bad for health science, like spawning a substantial number of know-it-alls, jerks, and warring diet tribes.

    The internet was a much less powerful force in the early 2000s. For example, reference checks were less common since PubMed wasn’t often used outside of academia and health professions.

    (A bit of party trivia: the principal developer of PubMed when it started in the 1990s was a physician who happens to now be one of Examine’s medical reviewers!)

    Nowadays, health science communication has legit superstars due to the explosion of podcasts and videos, and I kind of love it. These people have done way more for expanding interest in health science than Examine ever has. (Side note: I hope our marketing person isn’t reading this email. Just kidding … because we don’t have one! That’s how nerdy this team is.)

    Many of the most well-known health podcasters and YouTubers use Examine to learn about the latest study results, which makes sense since we have a research team of around 30 people working on that daily. We’ve also been approached by a couple experts who were going on big-time podcasts, to help them prepare. This gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

    There are a lot of these podcasts and YouTube channels vying for your attention. How can you evaluate them and the information they present?

    1. Don’t just watch and listen … learn the basics of research, too

    How can you judge if a podcaster or YouTuber is interpreting evidence correctly?

    The best ones express uncertainty when the evidence calls for it, do lots of preparation, check with multiple experts, and so on.

    But everyone makes mistakes, because everyone’s human. How can you tell when something is a mistake?

    If you haven’t studied biostatistics, epidemiology, and study methodology, then I recommend at least learning some basics.

    You don’t have to use Examine to do so, but we do have a free guide to the basics called “How To Read A Scientific Study”.

    While writing this email, I also had a random idea. What if we had an “Examine Journal Club”?

    Every month or two, we’d assign you a publicly-accessible study to read over yourself, and then you could check your thoughts against the Examine team’s and find out about some new research along the way.

    Perhaps we could have a track for newbies and a track for those who already know a decent amount about research.

    If an “Examine Journal Club” sounds appealing to you, reply to this email and let me know.

    2. Think through protocols

    I’ve seen people take multiple supplements for sleep while inconsistently working on their circadian rhythms and sleep hygiene, because popping capsules is just easier.

    Don’t fall into that trap. If you listen to multiple podcasts, you may hear a dozen different options for something like sleep improvement. But that doesn’t mean you have to try all of them at once.

    It’s typically more beneficial to do safe and free (or very low cost) stuff for a few weeks, and see what the effects are. After that, you can always add on to your protocol, but at least you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, rather than throwing the kitchen sink at a problem and then not knowing which things were actually beneficial.

    3. Don’t major in the minors

    This comes up a lot, and for good reason.

    If you spend most of your effort improving the three S’s (sleep, stress, and socializing), you’ll very efficiently improve your health issues and fitness levels.

    “Biohacking” can still be very useful, but again, it’s probably best done after doing all you can for the biggest factors that influence health. Biohacking is rarely more effective than effort and discipline with routine habits.

    4. Use multiple (and potentially conflicting) sources

    I fully recognize that I’m a weirdo outlier, so I don’t expect you to do this one. But I’ll list it anyway.

    I actively scan through viewpoints a couple times a month from people whose nutrition and supplementation views I don’t agree with.

    The reason is this: The majority might be correct the majority of the time, but that still leaves the minority to be right a minority of the time. I don’t want to miss too many of the times the minority are right.

    Sometimes months go by with nothing to be gained from these little forays. But on occasion, I’ll stumble upon an idea or niche paper that isn’t well known or is widely disagreed with, and months or years later the majority switches their viewpoint.

    That’s science, baby! (Sorry, I had to say that.)

    I just honestly love how science isn’t about majorities or minorities. It’s about repeated experiments that help us collectively form more and more accurate views of the body and causality over time. I recommend that you use as many credible websites, podcasts, and videos as you can handle and enjoy to form your own tapestry of knowledge.

    If you don’t like these “soft pieces”, don’t you worry … the next few emails will be about specific studies and more concrete science. We try to mix up content types and length to appeal to different reader preferences.

    Kamal Patel
    Co-founder, Examine