How to use the Study Database

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the Study Database, included as part of your Examine Membership.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Sections at-a-glance
  3. The Human Effect Matrix
  4. HEM Headings

1. Introduction

The Examine database is categorized under two main headings: Topics with 800+ pages and Supplements with 400+ pages.

Topics include health conditions (ex. Anxiety), parameters (ex. Blood pressure) and subjects (ex. Longevity) that can be affected by Supplements. Supplements range from edible (ex. Kava) to lifestyle (ex. Binaural Beats) interventions.

Click here to access the Topic pages or use the header menu: Membership ➝ Study Database

2. Sections at-a-glance

  • Quick Overview: Quick description under heading
  • Summary: Background and relevant information to get you started
  • Human Effect Matrix: A cause-and-effect table summarizing supplements and their effects on health conditions/parameters/outcomes.
  • How to Take: For supplement pages only. Shows dosage recommendations, active amounts, and other details relevant to consumption.
  • Study Deep Dives: Relevant research articles that include a thorough analysis.
  • Things to Note: For supplement pages only. Describes what the supplement is used for, other names, and various interactions.
  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions and relevant articles.
  • Research Breakdown: A full collection of all relevant research describing the supplement or topic, and how it affects various aspects of human health.
  • References: All direct references to scientific studies used in the Research Breakdown

If you don’t see a section on a page, rest assured, we’re working on it! Feel free to contact us. to let us know which Topics or Supplements you would like more info on. We rely on our readers to help guide us on future research topics.

3. The Human Effect Matrix

To save you time when learning about the effects of a supplement, the Examine team collects clinical trials, assesses their evidence, and compiles it into a table called the Human Effect Matrix (HEM)

On desktop

On your desktop, the HEM is always within reach inside the navigation box on the right. On mobile, it’s located below the summary.

On mobile

On mobile, it’s located below the summary.

Below is the HEM on the Kava Supplement page with the first row displayed. This image shows how Kava may decrease Anxiety (Topic), and the strength of that relationship is notable (because it is supported by 8 studies).

We’ll use this HEM example to explain the column headings as follows.

4. HEM Headings

Level of Evidence: Access our legend for the level of evidence pyramid at the top right of the HEM. Click show legend (desktop) or the drop down button (mobile).

Click to expand an explanation for the Level of Evidence pyramid as show below.

Our level of confidence in the evidence depends on both the quantity and quality of studies. Roughly speaking, the level of evidence represented by the two higher pyramids is pretty solid, whereas the level of evidence represented by the two lower pyramids is still preliminary.

Outcome: On a Supplement page, this column lists all health outcomes (Topics) that are affected by taking the supplement in question. On a Topic page, this column heading changes to “Supplement” to list all supplements that have an effect on the topic being discussed. Using the HEM on Kava’s page as an example, if you were to click on Anxiety to view its Topic page and scroll down to the HEM, you would see the “Supplement” heading instead of “Outcome,” with “Kava” listed underneath in place of “Anxiety.” The info in other columns remains the same.

Magnitude of Effect refers to the potency of the effect, characterized as minor, notable, or strong. On a Supplement page, an arrow pointing down means the outcome being evaluated was reduced, and an arrow pointing up means the outcome was increased. For example, anxiety reductions are a favorable outcome, so the arrow pointing down is a good sign, in this case.

Consistency of Research Results indicates how much different studies on the same topic agree with each other. High consistency suggests that the supplement works in a wide range of scenarios and for many different people. Click on See all ___ studies to access the Examine study notes, including links to relevant papers. Please keep in mind these notes are an archive, so they may not always exclusively reflect the most up-to-date information on a topic.

Notes provide vital details and nuance that can’t be inferred from the rest of the HEM.

The HEM for the entire database can be downloaded as a PDF. Navigate to My Purchases and click Download next to the Study Database icon.

Thank you for choosing the Examine Membership! Our team works tirelessly to sift through all the latest research related to supplements and nutrition, and to summarize it in a way that is clear and useful to you.

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We also welcome your feedback: what you liked, what you didn’t like, and how you would like us to improve.