Forgotten and surprising reasons men need probiotics

Most of the time, you’ll find us recommending that you look to whole foods for improving and maintaining your health, before you turn to medications, or even to supplements.

But in the case of one very important addition to your nutritional regimen, the right kind of supplements may be more beneficial than trying to get enough just through the foods you eat.

Why? Because this particular nutrient needs to be personalized to your individual internal chemistry. In particular, it needs to match the unique combination of bacteria that live in your gut.

We’re talking about probiotics, of course. As you know, probiotics are beneficial bacteria that balance your gut chemistry, which we now understand may be the actual epicenter of all the health benefits, and problems, that we experience.

Everyone can benefit from taking a probiotic supplement. But what’s less known is that supplementing with the right combination of healthy bacteria offers special benefits to men.

But first…

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What probiotics do for you regardless of sex

The word microbiome means “community of microbes.” Most people associate bacteria with illness, when in fact there are billions of beneficial, even necessary, bacteria living within us. The majority of these live in our digestive systems.

Some researchers feel that about 90 percent of all that ails us can be traced back to our gut and the bacteria that do or don’t live there at any given time. Autoimmune diseases, as well as heart disease, arthritis, dementia and more, have been traced back to our gut health.

Some things that probiotics do for you include:

  • Help protect the digestive tract from harmful, disease-causing bacteria
  • Help the gut microbiome return to normal after being thrown off balance by antibiotics or disease
  • Helps maintain your own personal arsenal of healthy gut bacteria
  • Stimulate the immune system

The right probiotic supplement can keep your gut balanced and healthy. Abundant research shows that poor gut health is intimately tied to dozens of diseases, most notably:

  • Autoimmune diseases. When a leaky gut no longer protects us from disease-causing bacteria, the body attacks itself, causing autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease, arthritis and irritable bowel disease.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia. Inflammation is linked with these, and an unhealthy gut microbiome leads directly to bodily inflammation of all sorts.
  • Many studies have linked gut health to protection from free radical damage.

Allergies, asthma, learning disabilities, fatigue, depression and anxiety have also been linked to poor gut health.

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Specific reasons men need probiotics

Beyond all of the above, there are reasons that men in particular need to use the right probiotic supplement to keep their gut balanced…

Heart disease. Men account for between 70 and 90 percent of sudden cardiac deaths in the United States. Half of those men had no previous knowledge of having a life-threatening condition.

A healthy microbiome reduces cholesterol, which in turn reduces plaque formation in the arteries and ultimately reduces heart attack risk. This is especially true for older men, who have a smaller range of healthy bacteria than they did when they were younger.

Hormone balance. Studies show that a probiotic supplement may help maintain optimal testosterone levels, which can improve sex drive, vitality and energy level, as well as help build lean body mass.

One, in particular, using mice, saw that Lactobacillus reuteri, a bacteria commonly found in yogurt, resulted in much higher levels of T than in controls.

Studies also suggest that certain probiotics can help maintain the health of a man’s testes as he ages.

Yeast infections and urinary tract infections.  These two fairly common maladies have been lumped under women’s health problems for years… leaving men completely out in the cold.

Urinary tract infections may be a little more common in women due to the short distance from the urethra to the bladder, but men have felt the burning pain of urination — that first telltale sign of a UTI.

They’ve also experienced the itching of yeast infection, which can occur anywhere on the body, including the anal area.

These are not just a problem for women. And both are tied to antibiotics: yeast infections often result from prolonged antibiotic use that causes dysbiosis; and overuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance, which has made it difficult to treat some UTIs.

The answer, again, is a probiotic supplement. For UTIs, the Lactobacillus strain, L. rhamnosus was found to be effective. For yeast, consider taking L. acidophilus regularly to avoid an overgrowth.

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.