To us, it is really important that you understand how we do our research at Archcid – whether it’s our scientific experiments, health articles, or supplement reviews.
There are many sites on the internet out there that cover similar topics to ours. But we like to think we differ from the masses in one crucial way; we place the biggest emphasis on the scientific method, and our team consists of actual scientists that have experience researching things like probiotics, energy-boosting stacks, and flexibility supplements.
Part of our commitment to the scientific method includes our explanation of how we go about doing research.
Why is this a big deal?
Because, if you don’t know how we test the supplements reviewed on this website, for example, then you can’t be confident in our conclusions.
If you aren’t familiar with our process of analyzing scientific literature, collecting resources, and drawing “bottom lines,” then how can you possibly trust our research? This is one thing missing from almost all joint health websites out there – an explanation of how they came to their conclusions.
A lot of sites talk about their qualifications and experiences. Having a scientific background if important – dare we say, essential – if you want to be a leading resource for health enthusiasts. However, experience and qualifications are just part of the big picture! To really have trust in someone’s research, you need to be familiar with the ins-and-outs of their process.
So, what does the research process at Archcid look like?
Let’s begin with our literature analysis.
How do we review scientific journals & studies?
How do you differentiate between good clinical studies and bad ones?
What makes a scientific study trustworthy, and what makes one dubious?
These questions aren’t too difficult to answer, but it takes patience to properly appreciate why certain considerations are important. So, let’s dive into it.
These are quite easy answers, but it takes some time to properly understand why certain considerations are so important. So, let’s jump right into it.
Just because you cite a study that supports your position doesn’t mean your position is correct. It’s so incredibly easy to find clinical evidence to support our claims nowadays. In fact, you can find clinical trials which go against each other for just about every health & performance claim out there.
It boils down to weighing in the evidence of both sides. How many studies show us that a substance has a specific effect, and how many show that it doesn’t?
If the research showing a particular ingredient does nothing outnumber the evidence sowing it working by 15 to 2, then you know the substance likely does nothing – the positive studies are anomalies in this case.
Likewise, if one trial shows limited benefits from a nutraceutical but 25 others have found it to have substantial benefits, then you would assume that it does deliver benefits.
So, what about individual studies? What criteria does a clinical trial need to meet in order to be considered useful?
Some types of evidence can certainly be prioritized over others. This is actually the backbone of the scientific method – certain types of findings carry more weight than others. The graphic below perfectly captures what we mean:
At the very bottom of the pyramid, we have expert’s opinion. This is why we say that a person’s experience or degree only tells us so much. It can tell you that the person is educated to understand the topic, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the accuracy of their claims. An “expert” could easily have biases, ideologies, or financial interests.
Meanwhile, at the top of the pyramid you have meta-analyses. These are studies that inspect a large body of similar clinical trials.
For example, in a meta-analysis, a scientist might look at 20-50 studies all analyzing the effectiveness of Glucosamine as a joint health enhancer. Meta-analyses typically start by collecting as many relevant studies as possible, removing the ones that don’t meet their criteria.
Some of the criteria that’s common to meta-analyses include:
- Study participant numbers
- Study length
- Quality of controls in place (are they measuring the right variable?)
- Authors’ biases
The researchers will then use all the studies that meet the criteria and compare the findings. In the end, the will say whether, for example, Glucosamine is an effective joint function supplement, if it isn’t, or if the data isn’t strong enough to say with certainty.
This is why meta-analyses are so reliable – they look at many studies and identify the overarching findings, instead of looking at individual trials which may not have been performed in ideal circumstances (not to mention the studies’ inherent variability).
While we’re performing our research – including wellness guides and supplement inspection – we will always aim to rely on high-quality meta-analyses when that is possible.
When there aren’t robust meta-analyses available, we will use the data that is at the highest level of the evidence pyramid (e.g. randomized control trials or systematic reviews).
When doing research at Archchid, we will always follow the same system to evaluate scientific studies. We always make sure that the study:
- Is published in a respected journal
- Is from authors with no biases
- Is robust – no tiny sample size studies
- Lasts a sufficient amount of time
- Is not combining multiple substances
- Doesn’t use a biased group of people
- Has adequate controls in place
Only by knowing that studies don’t have issues in these areas can we ensure you’re getting good information in every review.
Our Supplement Review Process
This is an important part if you’re our regular reader. If you don’t understand our approach to reviewing supplements, then you can’t get the most out of our research.
Needless to say, the exact review process will vary from supplement to supplement due to factors like its ingredients, its claims, and its dosage recommendations among others.
That said, most of our reviews follow the same rigorous system:
- Identification of the review candidate
- Inspection of manufacturer’s claims
- Ingredient & dosage analysis
- Our commentary on the formula
- Safety inspection
- Value for money analysis
- Summary – recommend or not
In our experience, following the same basic protocol for our reviews enables us to more easily compare different products in terms of effectiveness, safety, quality, and value.
Check some of our reviews here to get an idea of what we mean:
It’s also worth checking our product guides, which we will be covering more as this site grows. These guides will give you a good insight into what makes a great product – for example, the most effective joint health supplements.
We recommend you start with our supplement guides before reading individual reviews to get a good overall picture of the supplement category, as well as what to expect from the highest-quality products.