Anyone ever tried studying the studies?
If a study is of interest or relevance to me, I go to the original publication, and start with the part titled Financial Disclosure at the very end. If it says something natural or traditional or alternative is bad for you and the party that paid for the study is a pharmaceutical company that makes a drug that treats the condition that is prevented by the natural or traditional or alternative substance, I ignore it.
Next, if this test has been passed by the study and it was paid for by an independent party (whose independence I take the trouble to verify if the study is of interest or relevance to me), I study how it was actually conducted. E.g., a study that "proved" the inefficiency and even harmful effects of large intravenous doses of vitamin C for certain conditions for which it is used in orthomolecular medicine (pioneered by Linus Pauling of two Nobel prizes) was revealed in its technicalities as set up specifically to prove what it purportedly proved. Vitamin C solution in Pauling's protocol was freshly prepared for each IV, since it rapidly degrades (within an hour) under the influence of light, oxygen and heat. In the NIH or Mayo clinic study (don't remember which it was), however, the solution was prepared in advance for the whole duration of the study, something like a month's supply, and under these conditions provided the study subjects not with ascorbic acid but with products of its degradation, specifically dehydroascorbic acid, and in the body, 2,3-diketogulonic acid, 3-deoxythreosone, xylosone, and threosone. All of which are of course metabolically active in ways poorly understood, hardly ever studied, but having the in vivo effects either very different or even opposite of those of the original substance. However, the study asserted it was the original substance they studied. Only it wasn't.
Next, if the conditions to actually study what they say they are studying are observed, I look at the source of the substance and how closely it resembles the natural original. E.g., the synthetic vitamin E, tocopheryl, is chemically similar to the natural vitamin E, tocopherol, in the test tube, but has a dramatically different (and harmful) effect in vivo. If they say "vitamin E was shown to be bad," I want to know which one they tested, tocopherol (the real thing) or tocopheryl (the franken-E).
I don't stop even there if I am going to take a "study" seriously, but this gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. Study the study. If you believe it without studying it, you may be buying into someone's agenda rather than getting informed. If I'm going to believe in something without studying it, it better be of divine origins, not human.
Edited by Taomeow, 11 December 2016 - 03:12 PM.