BY Frank Spinelli, M D
October 09 2009 9:00 AM ET
Jamie Lee’s not kidding. Probiotics can bring harmony to your digestive system.
Saturday Night Live parodies of Ms. Curtis’s yogurt ads aside, staying “regular” is more of a concern than ever after age 40. Doctors have always stressed the importance of a high-fiber diet to keep bowel movements regular (and reduce the risk of colon cancer), but another way to maintain that regularity is with probiotics, which are similar to the “good” bacteria normally found in a healthy digestive system. Probiotics can be found in many food sources, like my preference, yogurt (as advertised by Activia). They can also be found in soy drinks, miso, and supplements such as Align, available at your local health food store. While daily consumption is key to getting “back on track,” alter your intake based on your regularity.
Bigger. Faster. Longer?
Do male enhancement pills really work?
We’ve all seen those commercials in which the straight couple talk in code about how their sex lives were revolutionized by a magical penis-enlarging pill called ExtenZe. My partner and I, both doctors, were intrigued by the claims—especially because ExtenZe doesn’t have FDA approval and there’s no scientific evidence that any pill can increase penis size. So we decided to test the stuff out ourselves: I’d make the purchase and he’d be the guinea pig. The product website (4ExtenZe.net) guarantees that men will notice penile enlargement and experience harder, more frequent erections that last longer, with more intense orgasms. And the ingredients include yohimbe, the subject of numerous clinical trials for treatment of impotence. After a monthlong trial, we noticed no change in his sexual response and no increase in length (although he needs no help in that area). Our experiment was far from FDA-regulated, but we don’t need the agency’s sanction to tell you that you shouldn’t waste your time or your money on this stuff.
Holiday Gift Guide: 23andMe at-home DNA test
This easy home saliva test, a “consumer” version of genetic DNA testing, can be a useful prevention tool. Just spit into a tube and send the sample to a lab for analysis. Results reveal your predisposition to a range of conditions and diseases; knowing you had the trait for breast cancer can lead to a discussion with your doctor about getting a mammogram earlier than recommended by the American Cancer Society. $399. 23andMe.com
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