“Why don’t you start something?”
That question continued to haunt nutrition enthusiasts Kurtis Frank and Sol Orwell. “They were on the website Reddit, and they were talking about while there were websites that had information on nutrition and covered studies, there wasn’t anything that they did systematically and there also wasn’t any website that didn’t sell anything,” said Kamal Patel, the director of Examine.com.
In early 2011, Frank and Orwell founded Examine.com, described on the site as “an independent and unbiased encyclopedia on supplementation and nutrition.” Patel said about 15 people are involved on a day-to-day basis. The majority of their time is spent looking through research on various topics and translating studies into comprehensive articles on Examine.com. “We have supplement entries, ranging from vitamins and minerals to sports supplements like keratin to different herbs and things for very specific health issues, like women’s health or auto-immune health issues,” said Patel.
The site is ever-changing and doesn’t support any particular view. Instead, Examine.com simply looks to provide information on nutrition issues. So, when something like CrossFit, the sport being what Patel labeled as a “gateway drug into researching nutrition,” leads people into learning about the subject, they can find simplified information on Examine.com.
Information like this could be beneficial for a Coach. Patel said a huge percentage of Examine.com’s audience is athletes, both competitive and not. “We have a lot of CrossFitters who write us emails asking us specific questions. So, it’s fairly applicable because our audience is mostly a sporting audience,” said Patel. “A lot of the topics we address are for performance or for flexibility or for fat loss and things like that.”
Understanding nutrition, from supplements to items like inflammation, is key when it comes to coaching athletes. For example, if someone is not performing as they want, the Coach needs to realize that there could be a deeper issue. “Often there’s something that you don’t quite know about,” said Patel. “There could be a nervous system issue. There could be an auto-immune system issue. You could have poor gut health. And those are the types of things you wouldn’t really know about unless you kept up on new studies.”
One of the biggest problems Examine.com deals with is the simplicity of its language. In the next year Patel said their goal for Examine.com is to breakdown the nutrition information and studies enough so readers don’t need a graduate or college degree in biology to understand what’s on the website.
While sources like Wikipedia, Mayo Clinic and nutrition gurus like Doctor Oz might supply nutrition information, Patel said those sources bring up concerns of accuracy and updated literature. Examine.com is attempting to be a trusted source for nutrition information. “We’ll say what we know and what we don’t know and we really try to have different layers of review,” he said. “We typically stick to facts. We don’t make recommendations based on our viewpoints as individuals.”