As awareness of the incredible health benefits provided by probiotics has become more widespread, much has been written about how this daily supplement can transform women’s and children’s health. Much less has been written about how probiotics can improve men’s health, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from a more balanced and healthier gut microbiome–and there are distinct benefits that probiotics can provide that address men-specific health concerns. Here are the top 13 reasons why the men in your life should add a probiotic supplement like LoveBug Probiotics’ Here’s the Skinny to their daily routine.
1. Probiotics can support heart health.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for American men, so doing everything possible to support heart health should be a priority for all men. Probiotics supplements have been shown to help lower high blood pressure, particularly with long-term use. Other research also supports the hypothesis that probiotics can help control triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
2. Probiotics can help lower bad cholesterol and maintain good cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol levels are closely related to heart health issues in men, with about 40 percent of all adult males in the United States having high total cholesterol levels. Studies have found that certain probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus reuteri can help lower bad cholesterol levels; in this case, the study participants–who all had high cholesterol at the start of the study–were able to lower their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 12 percent in just nine weeks by taking a probiotic supplement.
3. Probiotics can support prostate health.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one in nine men will face prostate cancer over the course of his lifetime. In the face of this sobering statistic, probiotics may be able to help. There’s some evidence that probiotics can help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as an enlarged prostate; benign prostatic hyperplasia is also commonly associated with urinary tract infections in men.
4. Probiotics can support better mental health.
Mental health issues can be devastating for men, particularly because men are often less willing than women to speak about their struggles. Because the gut has such a huge impact on mental health via the gut-brain axis, achieving a balanced gut microbiome with the help of a probiotic supplement can have a significant effect on mood and anxiety levels. In particular, probiotics can help maintain hormone levels that interact with moods, such as oxytocin, serotonin, and cortisol.
5. Probiotics can help boost immune system function.
The “man cold” or “man flu” is a long-running joke among many married couples, but there actually is scientific evidence that men may experience more severe symptoms and take longer to recover when infected with these common illnesses. All the more reason for men to take better care of their immune systems and probiotics have been shown to cut back on sick days from upper respiratory tract infections as well as to reduce symptoms.
6. Probiotics can eliminate ulcers.
One in 10 Americans faces stomach ulcers at some point in their lives, and the burning abdominal pain that ulcers cause can be excruciating. Luckily, men who suffer from ulcers may be able to find relief through probiotic supplements. The bad bacteria strain Helicobacter pylori is connected to ulcer development, and research suggests that probiotics can combat this strain and the ulcers it causes.
7. Probiotics can raise testosterone levels.
Testosterone levels in men naturally begin to decrease after age 30. However, lower testosterone can have a number of unpleasant side effects, such as reduced bone density and red blood cell production, lowered muscle mass and strength, and reduced sex drive. In the face of this, evidence suggests that probiotics in the Lactobacillus family can help maintain youthful testosterone levels, even during aging.
8. Probiotics can increase sperm count.
Testosterone levels also play a key role in sperm production, and this health concern is so important to many men (and their wives!) that it deserves its own attention. In examining a group of couples who were facing fertility issues, researchers found that sperm is significantly more likely to be vital and healthy when the semen microbiome has large amounts of beneficial Lactobacillus strains.
9. Probiotics can help fight diverticular disease.
As men age, they are increasingly at risk for diverticulitis, or inflamed and infected pouches in the colon that cause pain and changes in bowel habits. This risk increases if a man is obese, smokes or fails to exercise. However, research indicates that probiotics may be better than prescription drugs at treating diverticular disease.
10. Probiotics can help maintain bone health.
While we commonly associate bone density issues with aging women, a reduction in bone density is actually more serious in men than in women, according to research. Luckily, other scientific studies indicate that probiotic usage can help fuel the bones’ natural rebuilding process and assist in the body’s process of absorbing key minerals that support bone health.
11. Probiotics can reduce body fat.
Whether due to flagging testosterone levels or the normal effects of age, many men experience an increase in body fat percentage as they age. Here again, probiotics may be able to help. One study of more than 200 participants found that supplementing with Lactobacillus gasseri led to an 8.5 percent loss in belly fat in just three months–and significantly, the fat returned in just a month after the study participants stopped taking the probiotic supplement.
12. Probiotics can alleviate the symptoms of IBS.
While irritable bowel syndrome more commonly affects women than men, there is some evidence that this is due to diagnostic criteria. In any case, for the eight to 15 million men who face IBS in the United States each year, any relief is welcome–and probiotics can offer some. Randomized, double-blind studies have demonstrated that the beneficial bacteria in probiotic supplements can reduce symptoms of IBS such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
13. Probiotics can help control blood sugar levels and ward off diabetes.
Diabetes affects more men than women in this country, making blood sugar control of utmost importance for all men. Whether a man is currently experiencing type 2 diabetes or is simply at risk for the disease, evidence suggests that regular probiotic supplements can help keep blood sugar levels within a normal range.
In short, every man can reap a whole host of health benefits just by adding a simple probiotic supplement like LoveBug Probiotics’ Here’s the Skinny to their morning regime. If your husband thinks that he doesn’t need the gut health help that probiotics can provide, just show him this list and see if there isn’t something here that could have a meaningful impact on his health and well-being.
Carabotti, M., Scirocco, A., Maselli, M. A., & Severi, C. (2015). The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Annals of gastroenterology, 28(2), 203-209.
Diemer T, Huwe P, Ludwig M, Hauck EW, Weidner W (2003) Urogenital infection and sperm motility. Andrologia 35: 283–287.Jones BV, Begley M, Hill C, Gahan CG, Marchesi JR. Functional and comparative metagenomic analysis of bile salt hydrolase activity in the human gut microbiome. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA2008; 105: 13580–13585.
“Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer | Prostate Cancer Facts.” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html.
Kumar M, Nagpal R, Kumar R, Hemalatha R, Verma V, Kumar A et al. Cholesterol-lowering probiotics as potential biotherapeutics for metabolic diseases. Exp Diabetes Res 2012; 2012: 902917.
Poutahidis, T., Springer, A., Levkovich, T., Qi, P., Varian, B. J., Lakritz, J. R., Ibrahim, Y. M., Chatzigiagkos, A., Alm, E. J., … Erdman, S. E. (2014). Probiotic microbes sustain youthful serum testosterone levels and testicular size in aging mice. PloS one, 9(1), e84877. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084877
“Men and Heart Disease Fact Sheet|Data & Statistics|DHDSP|CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_men_heart.htm.
Muldoon MF, Manuck SB, Matthews KA. Lowering cholesterol concentrations and mortality—a quantitative review of primary prevention trials. BMJ 1990; 301: 309–314.
Ridker PM. Evaluating novel cardiovascular risk factors: can we better predict heart attacks? Ann Intern Med 1999; 130: 933–937.
Shmerling, Robert H. “Is ‘Man Flu’ Really a Thing?” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, 3 Jan. 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/man-flu-really-thing-2018010413033.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). NIMH Strategic Plan for Research (NIH Publication No. 02-2650). Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/index.shtml
Wostmann BS. Intestinal bile acids and cholesterol absorption in the germfree rat. J Nutr 1973; 103: 982–990.
Yan, F., & Polk, D. B. (2011). Probiotics and immune health. Current opinion in gastroenterology, 27(6), 496-501.