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Placenta stage for secrets of celebs; The weird and wacky ways stars try to stay young & beautiful.

Byline: David Jeffs

FROM snake venom to sheep placenta - the rich and famous keep trying all sorts in the pursuit of health and beauty.

The People today reveals the secrets of stars who go to bizarre lengths chasing the elixir of youth. Some look like the weirdest of fads but the question with all of them is - do they work? Simon Cowell, 51, appears to have had some success with anti-ageing smoothie drinks made with a mix of exotic berries.

Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, 40, Sam says People health correspondent Sam Cope gives said: "This must be the healthiest Simon has ever looked. He's lost weight, his skin looks good and his eyes are shiny. It's either love or the herbs."

Another of his favourites is the Cowell Cobbler - a blend of water, spinach and banana. His ex and close pal Sinitta, 42, said: "It looks and tastes disgusting."

Model Katie Price, 33, told how her new no-carb diet is working.

She said: "As soon as I eat, my belly sticks out. I've noticed a difference since I've been having juice in the morning and two meals a day but no carbs."

her verdicts Here we look at the odd diets and treatments celebs have tried to fight the flab and slow the passage of time... with an expert verdict on each one. david.jeffs@people.co.uk Leech Therapy DEMI Moore swears by leech therapy, which she says helps "detoxify my blood". The actress, 48, is always looking at new ways to keep looking young.

Mother-of-three Demi said: "I was in Austria doing a cleanse and part of it was leech therapy.

"You feel the leech bite down on you and you want to go, 'You b*****d.' Then you rest and work on your breathing just to relax.

"You watch the leech swell up on your blood, getting fatter and fatter. When it's super drunk on your blood it rolls over like it's stumbling out of the bar.

"They have a little enzyme that when they are biting down in you it gets released in you. It detoxifies your blood and your health is optimised."

Sam says lEECHES can be used by surgeons doing micro-jobs such as attaching a severed finger or nose, or in plastic surgery. Demi's blood is being detoxified all the time anyway by her liver - the same for everyone.

Vitamin jabs JUSTIN Timberlake is only 30 and has been reported as one of the youngest male stars to have signed up for these injections.

Other celebrity fans include Madonna, 52, and Charlize Theron, 35.

Singer Katy Perry, 26, has admitted to having had a cocktail of vitamins, steroids and antibiotics injected into her bottom to give it a lift.

Russell Brand's wife had this treatment while visiting India last year.

It has been used for many years in the Third World, where the majority of patients cannot afford Hollywood prices.

Vitamin B12 in the jabs boosts energy levels. Together with the steroids and antibiotics they can bring about inflammation, lifting the buttocks.

Sam says aNY benefits the stars felt were probably a placebo effect - the power of the mind. Possible side effects include a dodgy stomach, anaemia, sore tongue, palpitations and tingly hands and feet.

Emu oil FORMER marathon champion Paula Radcliffe, 37, is a great believer in emu oil. She used it to speed up the healing of cuts and bruises after a collision with a cyclist during a training session in 2003.

The oil, from the fatty tissue on an emu's back, was recommended to her by a fellow athlete. It helped Radcliffe get fit in time to be the first woman to cross the finishing line in the 2003 London Marathon.

The oil is deeply penetrating and incredibly soothing so it increases the blood flow. It is said to be extremely effective in cases of inflamed joints and is used a lot in arthritis care and for back injuries. Stars Goldie Hawn, 65, and Melanie Griffith, 53, also swear by its anti-ageing properties.

Sam says EMU oil has been shown in many studies to reduce the depth and length of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also a moisturiser and natural skin softener. Non-toxic, it doesn't clog pores and is great for people with sensitive skin and allergies. I would definitely give it a whirl.

Synthetic gel fillers JENNIFER Lopez, 42, is the latest fan of Radiesse, a synthetic gel filler available since the mid-90s.

It consists of millions of tiny synthetic plastic bubbles that stimulate collagen production.

Radiesse is used for instantly filling wrinkles and plumping up sagging cheeks as well as producing collagen.

Like a number of other fillers, it contains a local anaesthetic to reduce pain, which is very important as the lips have more than a million nerve endings.

In 2010 it was reported that Brad Pitt,47, may have turned to the procedure to make his face look smoother and younger.

Sam says tHE long-term health effects are unclear so I would probably avoid it. Cheaper to invest in a good moisturiser, eat healthily, exercise and steer clear of cigarettes and alcohol.

Pureed Baby Food CHERYL Cole was reported to be a big fan of the Tracy Anderson Baby Food Cleanse diet before she was laid low by malaria last year.

The singer, 28, turned to US diet and fitness expert Tracy when she was bidding for a job on American X Factor.

According to Cheryl, you replace one or two meals a day and snacks with 14 little jars of baby food and eat a light meal in the evening such as grilled chicken or fish with green veg.

A variation is to replace one meal a day or high calorie snacks with the baby food.

The idea is the baby food will prevent overeating and keep you satisfied with smaller portions. If you stick to the plan you should get fewer calories and trigger weight loss. Another fan is believed to be former Friends star Jennifer Aniston,42.

a Sam says THIS is too extreme. Baby food is just that - not meant for adults. The only way to achieve sustainable weight loss is through a healthy balanced diet and exercise.

Ceramic crystals ONE-time supermodel Jerry Hall has had a special ceramic crystal facelift to beat the ageing process.

Biphasic tricalcium phosphates (BTCP) are ceramic crystals that are used as a restructuring agent to help the skin produce its own collagen. It is not intended to fill wrinkles or plump up volume but to treat sagging skin and create a facelift effect. Jerry, 55, had small doses injected under the skin and her face was massaged for even distribution. Known as Dr Dray's 10-minute facelift, the process was created by French dermatologist Dr Maurice Gray. The crystals are commonly used in porcelain and dental powders.

Sam says RaTHeR than tightening, this treatment may be associated with the development of nodules in some patients. although it should not damage the skin itself, I'm afraid harmful lumps may form beneath the surface.

Snake and bee venom GWYNETH Paltrow, 38, is said to have used a cream made with snake venom treatment to firm her face as an alternative to Botox.

It works by sending signals to the nerves to stop wrinkles forming.

Similarly Dannii Minogue, 39, used a bee venom mask recommended by sister Kylie, 42, and said it beat Botox. Problem: pounds 5 a jar.

Sam says THIS is a new one to me but apparently tiny amounts of venom are also good for helping to stimulate the release of cortisone, beneficial in treating rheumatic diseases including arthritis.

Fountain of Youth routine eVeRY morning Sir Bruce , 83, follows this exercise regime which has been used for 2,500 years by Tibetan monks.

He does 25 twirls, rotates his knees, wriggles his toes, slaps his calves and swings his hips.

The Strictly Come Dancing host said: "I don't want to grow old gracefully. I want to put up a bit of a fight."

Sam says IT sounds similar to yoga. I can definitely see the long-term health benefits, mentally and physically.

Biological terrain analysis NEW fad BTA has been enthusiastically taken up by Madonna, 52. It means testing various body fluids to get a picture of overall health, including ageing, immunity and energy levels. After testing, your diet and lifestyle changes are prescribed to detox and rebalance the body's pH levels. Madonna is also a fan of ginger tea and the herb yerba for boosting vitality.

Sam says I aM a big believer in directing the body more towards the alkaline by avoiding acidic foods such as red meat, dairy, wheat and alcohol. So I would definitely try this.

Vinegar shots FERGIE from the Black Eyed Peas swears by drinking two tablespoons of unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar after lunch and dinner.

The singer, 36, said: "It slows the rate of food emptying from my stomach so it makes me feel less hungry. I've noticed a difference on my stomach." Vinegar has long been known for health benefits including digestion.

Sam says aS well as hot water with lemon in the mornings, I drink hot water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed. It's great for the blood, kidneys, bladder and liver.

Sheep placenta cream CHARLIE Sheen's ex-wife Denise Richards, 40, has been treated with serum from sheep placenta. It is thought to promote and reproduce younger hydrated skin cells. The method is laser treatment or injections. Denise said: "I don't want surgery."

Sam says TO be honest I really wouldn't fancy a treatment that meant smearing a sheep's placenta all over my face. But maybe that's just me.

Dracula facelift ANGELINA Jolie, 36, is said to be a fan of this treatment, which is supposed to blast wrinkles and give an instant glow.

Called platelet-rich plasma treatment, it involves taking some blood, processing it then injecting it back.

Sam says I WOULD steer clear of needles, and this doesn't sound much better than Botox. The injections are proven to work but the effects can be short-lived.

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Sam says People health correspondent Sam Cope gives her verdicts
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2011
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