Are you looking to improve your health and digestion?
If you have digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent survey found that 74 percent of Americans are living with gastrointestinal discomfort.
Luckily, probiotics can help improve your digestion and overall health.
Check out this guide to learn about the top health benefits of probiotics for men.
What are Probiotics?
Before we talk about the benefits of probiotics, we first need to answer the question, “What are probiotics?”
Probiotics are a combination of live yeasts and bacteria that naturally exist in your body. When most people think of bacteria, they think of the bacteria that make you sick.
However, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria in probiotics help keep your body healthy. And, this good bacteria is able to fight off bad bacteria so you don’t get sick.
Probiotics make up just one component of your microbiome. Your body is made of trillions of microbes that are a combination of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Everyone has a unique microbiome and no one has the same microbial cells.
For a microbe to be considered a probiotic, it must have several traits. It must:
- Be able to survive in your intestine after ingestion
- Be isolated from a human
- Be safely consumed
- Benefit you in some way
Probiotics live in your gut, mouth, genitals, skin, lungs, and urinary tract.
How to Add More Probiotics to Your Diet
While probiotics exist naturally in your body, adding probiotics to your diet can make you even healthier. Here are some ways you can add probiotics to your diet:
Take a Supplement
Taking a probiotic supplement is quick and easy, and it’s a great option for anyone who doesn’t enjoy the traditional probiotic foods.
Probiotic supplements, such as ProbioZen, can be purchased at the grocery store or online. When choosing a probiotic supplement, you want to look for one that contains billions of organisms. A good probiotic dose should contain 5 to 100 billion CFUs (colony-forming units).
It’s best to start with a low number and then increase as you learn what your body can tolerate. You’ll also want to make sure that the supplement you boy contains multiple strains of bacteria. Sometimes, this is listed as a proprietary blend.
You also want to keep your eye out for binders and fillers. Cornstarch, lactose, and other binders and fillers can cause unwanted side effects such as bloating or gas.
Eat the Right Foods
Probiotics can also be found in many different foods. Here are some healthy foods that contain probiotics:
- Traditional buttermilk
Certain types of cheese also contain probiotics, such as mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, and cottage cheese.
The Benefits of Probiotics
Now that you know what probiotics are, let’s talk about some of the benefits of probiotics. These include:
- Balance Out Your Digestive System
One of the biggest benefits of probiotics is that they help you to balance out your digestive system.
As we mentioned earlier, probiotics contain good bacteria. If your gut has too much bad bacteria, then it becomes imbalanced and you’ll be more likely to suffer from allergies, digestive issues, mental health problems, weight gain, and more.
With the right amount of probiotics, your gut will be able to balance itself out.
- Relieve Constipation
Another major benefit of probiotics is that they can help relieve constipation.
If you’re constipated, it means that you’re experiencing infrequent bowel movements that are hard and difficult to pass. Everyone experiences constipation once in a while, but for some people, it becomes a chronic issue.
This is especially the case for older adults. Those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome are also more likely to experience chronic constipation as a side effect.
Oftentimes, people will treat their constipation with laxatives and stool softeners. But, it’s important to understand that these are only temporary solutions.
A number of studies show that supplementing your diet with probiotics can help relieve constipation in the long-term.
- They Can Help With Diarrhea
Another major benefit of probiotics is that they can help with diarrhea.
While everyone experiences diarrhea from time to time, those who take antibiotics are more likely to experience it. This is because antibiotics have a negative impact on the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
By taking probiotics, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of antibiotic-related diarrhea that you experience. Even if you get diarrhea that’s not related to antibiotics, probiotics can still help.
In fact, a large review of 35 studies found that probiotics can help reduce the duration of infectious diarrhea by 25 hours. One of the studies found that probiotics helped to reduce the risk of traveler’s diarrhea by 8%,
- Improve Your Mental Health
According to Mental Health America, 6 million men are affected by depression each year in the United States. Unfortunately, men are a lot less likely to voice their struggles with mental health than women.
This is due to the unfortunate societal belief that men need to “put on a brave face” and “keep it together”. Luckily, the stigma surrounding mental health and men is beginning to go away.
And, we’re now more aware than ever of the things we can do to improve our mental health. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, probiotics may be able to help.
This is because our guts have a huge impact on our mental health. This is because your gut microbiome plays a major role in maintaining your hormones. When our guts are imbalanced, so are our minds.
One review of over a dozen studies found that taking probiotic supplements for 1 to 2 months helped improve anxiety, depression, OCD, autism, and memory in men and women.
Another review studied 70 chemical workers for 6 weeks. This study found that the men who took a daily probiotic capsule or consumed 100 grams of probiotic yogurt per day reported improvements in anxiety, depression, stress, and overall health.
- Improve Your Heart Health
Certain strains of probiotics can also improve your heart health.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in American men, so you should be doing everything possible to support the health of your heart. Probiotics help keep your heart healthy by lowering your levels of bad cholesterol as well as your blood pressure.
In fact, one study found that eating probiotics for 2 to 8 weeks could help lower our LDL cholesterol levels by 5% and your total cholesterol levels by 4%.
If you consume probiotics in conjunction with diet and exercise, you should see major improvements in your heart health.
- Boost Your Immunity
Probiotics can also boost your immune system, improving your body’s defense against infections, allergies, and cancer.
There are certain strains of probiotics that are particularly beneficial for your immune system: These include:
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Lactobacillus GG
- Lactobacillus crispatus
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
These strains in particular are known for reducing the risk of eczema and respiratory illness in children, as well as reducing the risk of UTIs in adult women.
Plus, we’ve all heard of the long-running joke about the “man cold” or “man flu”. However, scientific evidence suggests that men actually take longer to recover and experience more severe symptoms when infected by common illnesses.
This is all the more reason why you should be taking better care of your immune system.
- Help You Lose Weight
Obesity is a huge problem in the US. In fact, 35 million men are obese in the US and another 54 million are overweight.
While exercising and eating right are the best ways to lose weight, consuming probiotics can also help with your weight loss goals. While the research is still in its early stages, it has shown that certain types of probiotics are more common in thin people, while other types of probiotics are more common in overweight people.
What’s more, some probiotics help prevent the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine. Rather than being stored in the body, the fat is then excreted through the feces.
Plus, probiotics can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, and they can help you burn more calories, all of which contribute to weight loss.
One study had 210 people taking a low dose of probiotics for 12 weeks. Those who took the probiotics experienced an 8.5% reduction in body fat.
- Support Your Brain Health
It’s an unfortunate reality that many men suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss as they age.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s a strong connection between our guts and our brains. The gut and brain are in constant communication with one another, as probiotics in the gut produce and metabolize messenger signals that are sent to the brain via the bloodstream.
This means that the composition of bacteria in your gut can have an influence on the messages that are sent to your brain. By boosting your probiotic intake, you’ll be able to boost the signals that are sent from your gut to your brain.
- Improve IBS Symptoms
According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, around 25 to 45 million people in the US suffer from IBS. One out of three IBS sufferers are men.
IBS is a disorder of the large intestine that’s characterized by cramping, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. The prevalent myth is that IBS only affects women, however, many men don’t get the help they need because they believe something else is going on.
In fact, women are three times as likely as men to see a doctor about their IBS symptoms. And, while women are more likely to experience pain and bloating from IBS, men are actually more likely to experience dysphoria, which is a general feeling of being unwell.
In addition to taking medication, probiotics can also help you deal with some of the unpleasant symptoms of IBS. In fact, one study found that participants who suffered from IBS experienced a significant reduction in pain and bloating once they started consuming certain strains of probiotics.
- Reduce the Severity of Certain Allergies and Skin Conditions
Another major benefit of probiotics is that they can help reduce the severity of certain allergies and skin conditions.
Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea can all be helped with the use of probiotics. This is because probiotics can help reduce inflammation, which is a major symptom of nearly every skin issue.
Some probiotics may also help reduce your inflammatory responses to certain foods, such as milk or dairy.
- Help Maintain Bone Health
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, as many as one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Additionally, around 2 million men in the US suffer from osteoporosis, and another 12 million are at risk.
Men are also 50 times more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to suffer from prostate cancer.
When most of us think of building strong bones, we think of consuming milk and other dairy products. However, foods rich in probiotics can also help improve your bone health.
This is because probiotics can fuel your bones’ natural rebuilding process. And, probiotics can help your body absorb minerals that are key for strong bone health.
Probiotics for Men: Are You Ready to Give Probiotics a Try?
Now that you know about the benefits of probiotics for men, it’s time to give them a try. Soon enough, you’ll notice just what a difference probiotics can make.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more men’s health tips and tricks.