Probiotics are everywhere these days. You can find them in everything from skincare to supplements – and for good reason. Evidence suggests that probiotics may be one of the best things you can take to improve your health – whatever your goals. So read on to find out exactly what the benefits of probiotics for men are.
- Probiotics are living microorganisms found in fermented foods and supplements that can improve health.
- Probiotics can improve digestion and gut health by promoting a healthy range of gut bacteria and promoting the integrity of the gut lining.
- When choosing probiotics, aim for multi-strain formulations and at least 25 million CFU per dose. Probiotic-rich foods and supplements can be incorporated into the daily diet.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are alive. They are living microorganisms which are found naturally in fermented foods. They are also produced in supplement form to provide you with a much-needed gut health boost.
Probiotics come in many different strains – and evidence shows that they work both independently and synergistically to improve the health of the host – i,e you!
How Do Probiotics Work?
When you take probiotics, either via fermented food or supplements the idea is they will replenish your existing stores. This is because you want to have a higher proportion of helpful to harmful gut microbes.
You want to crowd out any existing harmful bugs and make sure they are outnumbered by many more beneficial strains. This will help to prevent you from experiencing gut dysbiosis which is when you have more negative than positive bacteria strains.
During life, you can end up becoming depleted in positive gut microbes through antibiotic overuse, infections, certain medications, stress, and other illnesses. So it can pay to top up your existing stores.
Different types of probiotics can offer entirely different benefits. Studies show that specific probiotic strains can reduce your risk of anxiety, help you to manage your weight, and even reduce your risk of cognitive decline. (Source)
The key thing is that the probiotics you consume are alive, and will reach your gut that way too. So, it’s really important that you consume plenty of fiber-rich prebiotics in your diet.
This is because they act as fuel for your probiotic beneficial bacteria too.
The Science-Backed Benefits Of Probiotics For Men
There are many potential benefits of probiotics for men. Here are some of the best:
Improved Digestion And Gut Health
Many of us struggle with gut health issues – whether it’s the result of a condition such as IBS, or just regular discomfort and bloating.
The good news is that probiotics can have a positive influence on both your digestion and overall gut health.
You need a healthy range of gut bacteria to digest the food you eat and absorb the nutrients too. Having too many bad bacteria can lead to incomplete digestion and symptoms such as bloating and loose stools.
So, when you take probiotics you crowd out the bad bacteria and have plenty of good bacteria waiting to digest your food.
Similarly, the by-products of some of these digestive processes can include short-chain fatty acids. These have many beneficial roles in the body and one of them is to promote the integrity of the gut lining. (Source)
A healthy gut lining is essential for good gut health – which is yet another reason to prioritize probiotics.
When you have a busy life – the last thing you need is to be struck down with a cough or cold. Well, probiotics do more than just improve your gut health.
This is because a large part of your immune response system also resides within your gut. So, having strong defenses here is key.
Studies have shown that by positively manipulating your gut environment (i.e. by taking the right kind of probiotics) you can heighten your immune system’s systemic response to viral infections. (Source)
Which means less sick days for you.
Support In Muscle Recovery
When it comes to muscle hypertrophy (growth), muscle recovery is as important as time under tension. So, helpfully probiotics can also make a positive difference here.
One particular probiotic strain known as Bifidobacterium Longum has been shown to support muscle maintenance by encouraging the breakdown of key macronutrients involved in muscle recovery and growth. (Source)
Another strain known as Bacillus Coagulans is even able to increase your protein absorption in a way that leads to healthier muscle growth. So, it turns out that just focusing on your protein intake isn’t the only way to support muscle recovery – you need to add probiotics into the mix too. (Source)
Mental Health And Mood Balance
We’ve talked a lot about the physical health benefits of taking probiotics regularly, but remember that the gut and brain are closely connected too.
In fact, studies show that certain strains of probiotics can mitigate conditions such as anxiety and depression. They do this via something called the gut-brain axis. This is because the gut can ‘speak’ to the brain via this route. (Source)
So when your gut is healthy and happy, your mind is more likely to be too. And even if you don’t have any particular mental health condition, having a healthy gut can also improve your mood and help you to handle daily stressors.
Potential Role In Heart Health
You might not think the gut has much to do with the heart but in fact, studies have shown a link between a healthy microbiome and a healthy heart. In particular specific microbes appear to reduce inflammation in the body which is one of the leading causes of chronic diseases such as heart problems. (Source)
And because specific microbes can also reduce your obesity risk, this too can in turn positively affect your heart health.
Weight Management And Metabolism Boost
Men looking to manage their weight in a healthy and sustainable way should consider their gut health as well as their calorie intake.
This is because certain strains of probiotics are associated with decreased body weight and higher metabolic rates.
Studies show that people with more diverse microbiomes – that means having lots of different probiotic strains – tend to be less obese and overweight than those who have fewer strains. (Source)
This may be because certain strains from the lactobacillus family appear to prevent excessive fat absorption from the diet. (Source)
And other strains may regulate your appetite to prevent overeating, therefore assisting you in maintaining a healthy weight. (Source)
Tips On Choosing The Right Probiotic For Men
Firstly, aim for multi-strain formulations which will provide you with multiple benefits – aim for a range of strains from the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli families.
You also want to consider how many colony-forming units (CFUs) are present in your probiotic formulation. Because this will affect how many make it to your gut alive, and colonize where they are needed.
Aim for at least 25 million CFU per dose, ideally higher if you can find it. And make sure your probiotics are live – so that they will withstand the journey to your gut.
Finally, make sure you check your product label to see if it needs refrigeration or not. Luckily most modern probiotic products do not, making it more convenient to take on the go.
Probiotic Foods vs Supplements: What’s Right For You?
This doesn’t need to be an either-or situation. Ideally, you will regularly consume a wide range of probiotic foods, but realistically you won’t be able to always fit these into your daily diet.
So taking a specially formulated probiotic supplement is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on your daily probiotic dose.
How To Incorporate Probiotics In Daily Diet
Probiotic-Rich Foods Men Should Include
Aim to include a wide range of probiotic foods because this means you will be exposed to the widest variety of beneficial bacterial strains.
Aim to alternate options such as kimchi, kefir, miso, and kombucha. Sourdough bread and tempeh count too. And remember you can make a lot of these probiotic-rich foods at home, as many shop-bought varieties are actually pasteurized and you lose out on the benefits.
Safe And Effective Dosage Of Probiotic Supplements
Always stick to the safe upper limit on your chosen product, and remember to start slowly if you are new to probiotic supplements to reduce any side effects such as gas and bloating.
The same applies when introducing new probiotic foods too – slow and steady wins the race.
Synergistic Foods: Pairing With Probiotics For Benefits
Aim for a fiber-rich diet to complement your new probiotic supplement regime as this will ensure your beneficial bacteria thrives in your gut.
So, have a wide range of plant-based foods such as garlic, asparagus, beans, pulses and more.
Potential Side Effects And Considerations
Who Should Be Cautious?
If you have severe gut issues or are immunocompromised it’s important to be careful when starting a new probiotic regime.
Similarly, if you are on chemotherapy, or have any other particular health concerns it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor before embarking on a new supplement program. But for most people probiotics are safe.
Common Side Effects And How To Mitigate Them
Some people find they may have a temporary increase in symptoms such as gas and bloating as your gut gets used to the new probiotic strains. But this doesn’t mean your probiotics aren’t working – in fact the opposite is true.
Try taking your probiotics with food (unless indicated otherwise) and taking smaller doses until your symptoms settle. People with IBS or SIBO may need to go extra slowly when introducing probiotics due to existing gut imbalances.
Interactions With Medications Or Health Conditions
Medication interactions are uncommon – just remember that if you are also taking a course of antibiotics then you need to take your probiotics at a different time of day, otherwise the antibiotics can render the probiotics ineffective.
To conclude, it’s clear that most men can benefit from probiotics. Whether through busy lifes, excess stress or poor diets – it’s normal to have sub-optimal gut health.
Probiotics can help you to increase the health of your gut microbiome – and in turn, enhance many areas of health. You can improve your heart health, boost your testosterone levels, manage your weight and much more.
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to improving your health via probiotics. Whilst you can get extra gut health benefits through fermented foods – many men find it easier and more convenient to supplement.
So why not get started and try our probiotic tonik today?
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Probiotics Increase Testosterone?
Some might! There is some evidence to show that certain probiotic strains may indirectly boost the level of testosterone in men as they age. (Source)
This benefit was mainly shown when ageing mice drank water enriched with a strain of probiotic bacteria called L Reuteri. The only human study so far which showed this connection was small scale so more research is needed to confirm this effect.
How Often Should Men Take Probiotics?
You might like to take a probiotic every day as part of your daily health and well-being routine.
Other people only take them after a course of antibiotics, or before travelling abroad.
So it’s really a personal choice but for many men -taking probiotics daily may offer the best results.
Is It Okay To Take A Probiotic Everyday?
Yes. For most people, it’s completely safe to take probiotics on a daily basis.
Some people like to alternate the type of probiotics they take every three months or so to ensure they get a wide range of benefits. If you are immunocompromised or unwell then do check with your doctor.
What Is Probiotic Powder?
Probiotic powder is simply an easy way to consume probiotics, especially if you’re not keen on swallowing tablets.
Kids probiotic powders are common too. You can add the powder to a range of drinks and snacks, making it a versatile way to get your daily dose.
Do You Need Both Prebiotics And Probiotics?
Yes. In order for your probiotics to have a real benefit you need to provide these living organisms with sufficient food.
So make sure you load up on onions, garlic, green banana and oats on the daily to get your prebiotic benefits. It’s not prebiotics vs probiotics as you need both for a healthy gut. (Source)
Can Probiotics Support Men’s Immune Function?
Absolutely. Probiotics can help to improve your gut health which in turn enhances the ability of your immune system to do its job. (Source)
So as well as eating a brightly coloured diet filled with fruit and veg – supplementing with probiotics can be a great option.
Julia is a health content editor and nutritionist from Norwich, UK. She has worked as a health coach in private practice and for the national health service. She undertook an MSc in nutritional medicine to deepen her knowledge.
She enjoys producing evidence-based content which inspires people to become healthier and happier.