The benefits of probiotics are becoming more apparent every day and tests and research have revealed a number of ways through which they help men in particular. Probiotics for men provide a daily dose of gut-friendly bacteria that eliminate the bad bugs and harmonize the internal flora of your system. Probiotic supplements do everything from battling infections to increasing virility and even improving skin health.
Stress, illnesses and strong medication like antibiotics can affect the essential microbes that colonize your guts and other organs. This ‘micro-flora’ is a critical part of most bodily functions, and disruptions can have a severely negative impact on human health.
As a man, your body is exposed to a number of elements that can impact this delicate relationship between ‘good’ bacteria and your organs. Best Probiotics for men can help replenish the colonies of helpful bacteria and keep you healthy.
What do Probiotics do for Men’s Health?
Probiotics for adults have been extensively researched and the results have highlighted varied positive effects. There are a number of benefits of probiotics for men :
- Yeast Infections: It’s not just women who are plagued by yeast infections, men have them fairly often too. They may be a little less common, but they can be just as severe and troublesome. Some experts suggest that they are commonly spread through intercourse, and the common treatment is a course of antibiotics.
However, even though they may help with battling infections, antibiotics are indiscriminate and kill off the natural probiotics from your body too.These bacteria fight off yeasts and without them, ironically, there’s a higher chance of getting infected again. In fact, taking probiotics after antibiotics can help the body regain its balance and rebuild itself. The acidophilus probiotic, a common lactobacillus strain, is commonly recommended.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Another common misconception is that women are the only ones who get urinary tract infections (UTIs). These too are less common among men, but are still definitely an issue. Ever felt a burning sensation when you relieve yourself? Well then, you know all too well the pain that UTI can cause.While just about every man is susceptible to it, if you’re over 50, you’re probably at a higher risk.
Part of the reason is prostate issues, which are common in middle-aged men. Male UTIs result from obstructions in the urinary tract, which an enlarged prostate can cause. Research into probiotics and their effects on preventing UTIs has found that lactobacillus rhamnosus is particularly effective.
- Cardiovascular Health: Heart disease is extremely prevalent nowadays. In fact, the CDC rates it as the number one cause of death for men in the US. While they are considered to be an ‘older men’s issue’, a number of factors place even young men at a risk for cardiovascular conditions.Triglycerides and cholesterol are known to be major factors influencing heart disease and recent research has identified probiotics as part of the solution, highlighting at least three ways in which they can reduce cholesterol. Additional research has found a number of strains that can reduce the effects on men’s health, and probiotics for weight loss could also reduce your risk of cardiovascular health.
- Gastrointestinal Health:One of the most noted benefits of probiotics is their effect on the digestive tract. Your gut is lined with hundreds of different types of bacteria that protect you from infections, inflammation and even help with digestion. The gut flora is delicate and easily disturbed by antibiotics or just a poor diet. Once the protection of the beneficial colonies of bacteria is gone, the ‘bad’ bacteria that causes diseases can flourish.A report which published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology points to the lack of probiotic bacteria as one of the main causes of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The report found that 78% of patients suffering from IBS had signs of bacterial overgrowth. It cites many other studies showing the ability of probiotics to improve immune activity and strengthen the intestines’ mucous lining.
Alzheimer’s and Diabetes
Changes in the gut microflora may play a role in diabetes in men and Alzheimer’s (sometimes called Type-3 diabetes). When combined with some dietary habits, the microflora in the intestines gets disturbed, leading to ‘leaky gut’ that allows toxins from the intestinal tract to leak out.
Leaky gut can cause inflammation, eventually resulting in your body building up insulin resistance. This increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Some probiotics can help your body’s vital systems function better, aiding its ability to process insulin, in addition to maintaining a beneficial bacterial balance that fights ‘leaky gut’ and other GI (gastrointestinal) disorders.
Improved Bone Strength
As you get older, your body start becoming weaker and your bones start to lose mass too. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that one out of every four men who are over 50 years old, will at some point break a bone. This makes the study of the effects that probiotics have on bone loss all the more fascinating.
At the Michigan University, a study was performed to measure the effects that probiotic bacteria have on mice. Interestingly, only the bone mass of the male mice improved. After four weeks of receiving probiotics, their bone density increased significantly, while that of the female mice was unaffected.
What is the Best Probiotic for Men ?
In the search for the best probiotics, it’s important to look for strains that have been extensively researched and show promise at treating certain conditions. Of course, general probiotics benefits like improved gastrointestinal health and immunity are common to most probiotic sources, whether they’re ingested through supplements or foods.
The most common probiotics for men include strains of lactobacilli, streptococci, and bifidobacteria:
Lactobacillus Acidophilus – These are the predominant probiotic bacteria that colonize the upper part of your intestinal tract.
- Acidophilus helps prevent other harmful bacteria from establishing itself.
- It also reduces the levels of yeasts, especially in the small intestines.
- It produces an important enzyme called lactase, which helps in the digestion of milk.
- During digestion, it also helps the body produce B-vitamins.
Bifidobacterium Longum and Bifidobacterium Bifidum – These are the primary probiotic bacteria that are found in the large intestines.
- These bacteria prevent yeasts and ‘bad’ bacteria from invading the large intestines.
- They help in the detoxification of bile, an essential fluid produced by the liver.
- They also aid in the production of B-vitamins.
Streptococcus Thermophiles and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus – These are usually found in yogurt, and play a transient role in the GI tract.
- These transient bacteria do not colonize the colon, intestines or other parts of the gut.
- By producing lactic acid, they encourage the growth of other probiotic bacteria.
- They also synthesize substances called bacteriocins, which act like natural antibiotics that target bad bacteria.
To improve digestive functions and abdominal health, the most favourable microorganisms that should be a regular part of your diet are lactobacillus sporogenes, lactobacillus rhamnosis GG and saccharomyces boulardii. Taking a regular course of these probiotics can help alleviate many distressing symptoms, and probiotic-rich diets can counter the side effects of antibiotics too.
How Men Should Take Probiotics For Maximum Health Benefits
A daily serving of probiotic-rich yogurt is helpful in keeping your immune and gastrointestinal systems healthy. These days, manufacturers add probiotics to numerous foods such as cereals, snack bars, and juices, as well as supplements like probiotic pills, capsules, powders and liquids, but you can also turn to natural probiotic foods to build up your immunity and health.
Miso, kimchi and sauerkraut are great, healthy fermented choices that are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Pickles, kombucha tea, and tempeh are other fermented foods that are reported to have probiotics, and certain methods even allow you to ferment your own probiotic foods in the comfort of your home.
Remember that a large quantity of probiotic-rich foods would have to be consumed to derive the same probiotic benefits that bacterial supplements provide. Supplemental probiotics, rather than foods with probiotics, also have higher microflora concentrations and are a better option for treatment.
Be careful with taking probiotics in case you have an immune system disorder or other conditions that have compromised your health. Before deciding on whether to add probiotics to your diet, especially through supplements for weight loss or other reasons, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
When Should Men Take Probiotics?
Consuming supplements or foods with probiotics as part of one’s daily diet is highly encouraged as a preventive measure for numerous digestive and health problems in men. These natural probiotics include fermented foods with active cultures, especially those strains that have been proven through research to provide probiotics benefits.
Of course, when there’s a specific ailment to treat, you should look into probiotic supplements that can help. One of the main situations in which men need to take probiotics is when their normal gut microflora balance gets disturbed. This can happen due to any of the illnesses discussed above, from the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, or even when traveling.
It is particularly important to have a plan for the intake of probiotics foods and supplements after undertaking a course of antibiotics to replenish beneficial bacteria in one’s body. For instance, probiotics taken during traveling can help prevent infectious diarrhea by resisting pathogenic attack and keeping digestive processes running smoothly.
You don’t need to worry about probiotic side effects; mild bloating and gassiness are the most commonly reported ones. However, more serious side effects may occur with the intake of unpasteurized fermented foods, so it’s best to consult a doctor for more information about which probiotics can be used by in case you have weak immunity.