Last Updated: September 6, 2019
Nobody’s told you about the benefits of probiotics for men before? Here, Hunter, our resident exercise physiologist, breaks them down for you!
It may come as a bit of a surprise but there is growing evidence suggesting that your gut bacteria may be able to seriously improve specific aspects of male health.
Over the last decade, there has been tons of research examining many microorganisms found in the human body. These organisms (an incredibly vast combination of bacteria, fungi, and viruses collectively referred to as your “microbiota“), have an incredibly complex relationship with your body.
In fact, research has shown that the state of your microbiota can actually affect:
And, now, there are suggestions that the state of your microbiota can affect male-specific health.
This is exciting news! And not just because we now know more about human health! But also because it opens up a brand-new way to help boost male health: enhancing the health of your microbiota.
Which is exactly where probiotic supplements enter the discussion.
What are Probiotics?
Simply put, probiotics are foods and supplements that contain living microorganisms, which, when consumed, improve the health of your microbiota.
This entire process and the many probiotics benefits can be read about in much greater detail in this post, but the important thing to mention here is that probiotics enhance the health of your microbiota by providing your body (specifically your gut) with healthy and helpful microorganisms.
Now, you might find yourself wondering how in the world eating bacteria, fungi, and viruses can improve male health? Well, hopefully, I can shed a little light on this topic through the rest of this article!
How Do Probiotics for Men Work?
Studies show that increasing the number of healthy bacteria within your intestines can improve two key aspects of male health. These are:
Through each of these interactions (which I explore in more detail below), probiotics can seriously enhance male health.
How Do Probiotics Affect Male Fertility?
To understand how probiotics influence male fertility, we need to take a step back and talk a little bit about one of the key human sex hormones, estrogen.
Estrogen is generally considered the “female sex hormone” because it promotes female features in the human body and regulates the menstrual cycle.
Since estrogen is so important for women’s health, we often think of estrogen as strictly a female hormone, but that isn’t the case. You see, men also have healthy baseline levels of estrogen in their systems, which are required for – you guessed it – sexual and reproductive functions.
Moderate levels of estrogen within the male body are essential for the maintenance of a healthy libido and sperm production. If your levels of estrogen become too high, however, (a state known as “estrogen dominance”), your sexual health can suffer.
Interestingly, there is a unique interaction that occurs between the microbiota and the levels of estrogen found in the body.
Every day, your liver removes excess estrogen from your body and binds it to a specific compound known as “glucuronic acid“. This hybrid molecule mixes with your bile and moves into the digestive system where it aids digestion.
When you have enough healthy bacteria within your gut, they break down this glucuronic acid-estrogen complex.
But, if your microbiota is out of whack, you reabsorb the estrogen. This drives your estrogen levels up, causing declines in sperm production and libido.
Boosting levels of healthy bacteria in the gut by consuming specific probiotics (particularly Lactobacillus paracasie) can improve estrogen removal from the body and improve male fertility.
How Do Probiotics Affect Prostate Cancer?
In conjunction with the above, probiotics are showing to improve male health through one other key interaction.
You see, there is evidence to suggest that chronic inflammation may contribute to the onset and development of several different types of cancers – including prostate cancer.
While the details of this process are incredibly complex, it is important to note that inflammation increases cell exposure to key compounds known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROSs cause DNA mutations, which then leads to cancer.
But, fortunately for you, healthy organisms (particularly Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium bifidum) in your gut produce a group of key compounds called “short chain fatty acids (SCFAs)” SCFAs are absorbed through your intestinal wall and can fight inflammation throughout your entire body.
By boosting levels of healthy bacteria in your gut, probiotics ensure that SCFA production is high and inflammation is low. This reduces your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Best Probiotics for Men
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links. Click here for details.
If you are interested in taking probiotics for men, then I have two great options for you!
Each of these contains all five of the key bacterial strains mentioned above, increasing the likelihood they will be able to reduce estrogen absorption in the gut and protect against prostate-cancer-causing inflammation.
This probiotic supplement by NewRhythm contains a whopping 20 unique bacterial strains, including all of those mentioned in this piece (Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium bifidum).
As an added bonus, a huge 91% of consumers who purchased this product on Amazon rated it 4 stars or higher.
This popular probiotic by NatureMyst also contains the five key bacterial strains that are believed to improve male health.
Similar to the above product NewRhythm customers report loving this this product! A full 91% of people have given it 4 or more stars on Amazon!
Take Home Message
It is crazy to think that taking probiotics can improve male health, but that is exactly what the research suggests. By maintaining normal estrogen levels and limiting harmful prostate cancer-causing inflammation, probiotics can improve male fertility and reproductive health.