In general, what steps could a layperson take to ensure the product they consume is healthy for them, or to get to know the adverse health effects of said product.

A good answer would talk about where to find medical studies regarding consumption of products, how to evaluate the reliability of those studies, and what other easily accessible resources one should consult.


Educate yourself! That means reading up. From reliable sources. Most of the information on the internet is mere statements on sites that present health relevant info as easy and simple. But in reality most often answers to your question are not so easy and not so simple.

While certain companies and sometimes even mother nature might not subscribe to the following principle, at least you should treat yourself like a good doctor promised to do: first, do no harm! That means when looking for information you should always keep a very keen eye on on the cost/benefit relation that the information you find will hopefully enable you to estimate. Look for the possible side effects.

Using information about the product in general

  1. PubMed is a free archive of medical articles regarding almost anything. Enter the product name (or the active agent) and see what comes up.
    • If you have questions regarding a specific article, feel free to ask here.
    • If you are looking for the whole article source, and not just the abstract, copy the article name and paste it into a Google search field, using parenthesis ("Abstract Title Goes Here"). This way, Google will only show you search results for exactly this combination of words. Check through a few links at the top to see whether one of the archives has the full text without a text wall. If you still do not find the full text, consult your university library (if any) or talk to your librarian in your public library. Otherwise, ask on our main chatroom, The Waiting Room, and someone might be able to help you out.
  2. Visit the website of the FDA and search for the name of your product.
    • If negative or positive health effects are listed and you do not understand why the product in question does have this effect, feel free to ask here.
  3. Visit MayoClinic and see if anything pops up.
    • If you have questions regarding the Mayo Clinic Article, feel free to ask here.
    • Do go to the bottom of the article and have a read through the sources MayoClinic provides.
  4. Try googling the product name directly (using parenthesis).

    • If you are uncertain, whether such the search results come from reliable resources, ask on our main chatroom, The Waiting Room.
    • If you do not understand why the product has the effect you were able to find, feel free to ask here.
  5. For cosmetics and their ingredients you might consult databases like CodeCheck or SkinDeep.

Using information about the ingredients

  1. Research all molecules and ingredients of the product at PubChem.
    • If you do not understand what a chemical compound is, or how it interacts with other chemicals, feel free to visit Chemistry.SE and ask there.
    • If you have a question about the interaction of said chemical with your body, visit the sections "Drug and Medication Information", "Pharmacology and Biochemistry" and "Biomolecular Interactions and Pathways". If you do not understand information there, decide whether you should ask at Chemistry.SE or here

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