Why this probiotic supplement claims to make testicles grow

"Floracil50 contains the only living bacteria that can solve the problem of small balls."

That's what it says on the manufacturer's website, anyway. A one-month supply of this probiotic dietary supplement will cost you just under $50 on Amazon, and there are plenty of people willing to shell out that money, according to a recent Wired investigation. Christopher Walker, the founder of UMZU, the company that makes Floracil50, is an Instagram influencer with nearly 500,000 followers. But that apparently doesn't help his reading comprehension skills.

As the Wired article explains, the "key" ingredient in the supplement — that which allegedly solves the problem of small balls — is a gut-friendly bacteria called Lactobacillus reuteri:

Since it was first isolated in 1962, scientific studies have found that in a probiotic form, L reuteri – which is also found naturally in the digestive system – can help inflammatory diseases in the gut as well as conditions such as colic. Today, millions of L reuteri supplements are sold each year in health food shops and online retailers, with the market-leading producer, Swedish healthcare company BioGaia, selling more than £60 million of probiotics in 2020 alone. But the scientific evidence that L reuteri does anything to expand testicles is almost nonexistent, with a spokesperson for BioGaia distancing the company from self-experimentation and rival's claims, saying it would be "unethical" to make such "unsupported claims". In fact, all claims about L reuteri's potency as a ball-enhancer rest on a single study from 2014, which found that one strain of the bacterium could help reduce testicular shrinkage in mice.

Of course, "reducing testicular shrinking in mice" is hardly the same as "embiggening human balls." But that kind of bait-and-switch is part of what makes the Wired article so fascinating. Writer Matthew Ponsford uses the empty ball promises to explore the larger problems with marketing-based holistic "medical" nonsense, as well as general toxicity of hypermasculinity, and the tragic folk who are desperate to get duped by such shady supplements.

They wanted big balls. This startup said it could help [Matthew Ponsford / Wired]