Q: I’m the poster child for taking fiber to control diarrhea. After an ileostomy for ulcerative colitis, I was a slave to Imodium to control constant loose stools. A doctor prescribed psyllium fiber instead of Imodium for my malady. Miracle of miracles, the fiber not only gave me relief from the diarrhea, it made the stool much softer.

Another benefit was lower cholesterol. After nearly 30 years, I’m living proof of the benefits of a tablespoon of fiber before each meal.

A: Most people think of psyllium as a way to control constipation. But this soluble fiber can also help combat diarrhea (Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, March 1, 2021).

In addition, as you note, psyllium can lower LDL cholesterol (Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, Jan. 16, 2021). Scientists have discovered that this fiber can also lower the glycemic index of a meal (Foods, Feb. 27, 2021).

You can learn more about psyllium fiber and other ways to manage diarrhea in our eGuide to Overcoming Digestive Disorders. This online resource can be found in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: I have read articles suggesting that coffee may have health benefits, especially against dementia. As a result, I try to drink four or five 6-ounce cups a day. Does this seem sensible?


A: When coffee is roasted, compounds form that appear to have neuroprotective activity (Frontiers in Neuroscience, Oct. 12, 2018). Coffee contains compounds such as caffeic acid, quercetin, chlorogenic acid and phenylindane that contribute to this effect.

Caffeine also may be protective. A review in the journal Nutrients (Feb. 6, 2021) concludes that “caffeine may exert some beneficial effects in AD” [Alzheimer’s disease].

When cocoa or chocolate is added to coffee it may be even more helpful. Italian researchers reported that older people consuming two or more cups of mocha coffee daily were less depressed and had better scores on cognitive function tests (Nutrients, Feb. 6, 2021). They note: “This is the first study focused on the association between a specific coffee preparation method (i.e., mocha) and cognitive impairment and late-life depression in a homogeneous population of non-demented elderly subjects with SIVD [Subcortical Ischemic Vascular Disease].”

Q: About two months ago, after getting my sneakers wet during a rainstorm, I developed seriously stinky feet. It was superbly embarrassing.

I tried new shoes and every anti-odor spray and powder, but nothing worked.

I was about at my breaking point until I tried rubbing alcohol. I put it on my feet after a shower and use it as disinfectant on my leather shoes. My feet have been odor-free ever since.

A: Some readers have used rubbing alcohol to disinfect their shoes and reduce foot odor. It makes sense that it might help to apply alcohol to the feet as well. Other people use amber Listerine foot soaks. This mouthwash contains 26.9% alcohol.

You can learn more about home remedies for foot odor in our free Guide to Solutions for Smelly Feet. Look for it in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.