Why Today’s Man Should Take Probiotics


No man likes to content with gas, diarrhea and various other digestive problems. The good news is that no man has to, at least not in the majority of cases. Even though you may not know it – yet – you can avoid a lot of these health issues. We'll be looking at what you can do shortly.

Most men today take on far too much. We seem to live in a world that never shuts off, and because of this health can, and sometimes does suffer. It's not always obvious, but an overly busy lifestyle, stress and poor diet can chip away at our inner workings. Gastrointestinal problems are so normal in modern times that we've just kind of got used to living with them. The good news is that it doesn't have to be like this (keep reading). Here are some common symptoms that never used to be so “common” just a couple of generations ago:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess gas
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

How often have you suffered from any of the above symptoms and just put it down to something you ate? Or maybe you thought it was an “off beer” down at the local watering hole! These things can trigger stomach upsets of course, but they're not always the root cause of the problem.

When a condition becomes chronic (long lasting, regular), there's usually something more serious going on. It could mean you have too much “bad” bacteria in your gut. Experts now think that harmful bacteria are the root cause of many of today's modern ills. Scientists are beginning to study the links between the bacteria in our intestines and the diseases that inflict us all. [1]

This is where probiotic choices for men can come to the rescue. Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do for an out of whack body. Probiotics are microorganisms that scientists call the “good” or “friendly” bacteria. They live in your intestinal tract (gut), and when all's well they do a great job at keeping you in good working order. These colonies of friendly bacteria also help to prevent the occurrence of disease. The way they do this is by keeping the numbers of bad bacteria down; the ones that can wreak havoc when allowed to flourish.

Here are a few important names to know for the “friendly” bacteria. You might want to make a note of the three probiotics below so that you can become familiar with the products labels:

  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium Longum
  • Bifidobacterium Bifidum

Make sure that any probiotic product you buy contains these three important strains of bacteria. Any product containing more strains is even better. The three above are perhaps the most important, but some additional names to look out for on the labels include:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium breve

Probiotic Sources – Food VS Supplements

It's quite possible to get probiotics from a range of fermented foods. This includes things like natural yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchee to name a few. Any man who is in great shape should include these foods in his regular diet as a way to maintain the health of his gastrointestinal tract (GI tract or GIT).

If you're experiencing ongoing digestive problems, then food alone may not be enough. In this case you will likely need a more therapeutic dose of probiotics to help restore a healthy balance of the “good” bacteria in your gut. There are plenty of quality probiotic supplements around that can do a great job at this.

About Dysbacteriosis

Dysbacteriosis (also called dysbiosis ) is a term for a microbial imbalance inside the body. To put that in more simplistic terms, it's overgrowth of yeast, harmful bacteria, viruses or parasites in the intestines. With dysbacteriosis there can come a plethora of associated illnesses. Some of these include inflammatory bowel disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. Other issues are obesity, cancer and colitis.

Factors associated to the cause of dysbacteriosis are linked to modern western living. As pointed out in the opening paragraphs, modern lifestyles are hurting men. Diet, stress and the inability to fully relax have a detrimental impact on the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract [2] [3]

Probiotics can definitely help to restore the natural balance in your gut. Once good gut health is restored your health improves in so many ways and on so many levels. But probiotics alone are not the sole answer. Any man who is serious about claiming his body back needs to also look at his diet and lifestyle. Only you can know how you live your life, and only you can take charge and make any necessary changes [4].

As this piece is on probiotics for men's health, let us take a look at some of the main reasons why men should consider taking supplements.

To Treat Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea

Incidents of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea have gone up by a lot in recent years. It is a condition which occurs in 25-30 percent of all patients who receive antibiotics. There has been some evidence which suggests that taking probiotics helps in this area. There needs to be further studies, but the many of the smaller trails thus far have shown promise in some patients [5].

The scientific debates roll on, as science so often does. However, patients who have used probiotics to successfully treat their antibiotic-associated diarrhea care little about the science.

Helps Lower Cholesterol

Scientists have been trying to work out how probiotics can help to lower cholesterol levels. Test results have been mixed, though most indicate positive results. Some studies have shown very convincing cholesterol-lowering effects of probiotics. Others have not been so positive. There is no question of doubt that most results do look favourable, though the theory remains controversial [6].

Probiotics for Depression and Anxiety

Two probiotic strains, helveticus and B. longum, are worth a mention here. These have shown to be effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety and clinical depression.  Anti-depression drugs can often cause more issues than they treat. Such drugs really are a last resort for people suffering with clinical depression. If probiotics can offer a safer alternative then this is huge.

There are a growing number of scientists who show keen interest in probiotics and prebiotics. Thanks to a recent, albeit small study, probiotics look promising for treating mental health issues.

This new study at Leiden University, selected 40 healthy subjects. The volunteers underwent four weeks of probiotic treatment. At the end of the trial they showed a decrease in negative thoughts and feelings.

The researchers administered multi-strain probiotics, which meant they contained different types of bacteria. They gave these to 20 healthy participants every day for four consecutive weeks. The other 20 volunteers received a placebo. When the results were in, the findings were remarkable. Those who took the probiotics were much less reactive to sad moods. The conclusion was that improving the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut had a protective effect against rumination. What this means is that the subjects were much less likely to over-think or obsess about situations or life events [7].

Treat/Cure Both Types of Diabetes

This is new and exciting research looks into how probiotics may help to cure both types of diabetes. The idea is that a simple probiotic pill ‘rewires' the body. The new drug contains live bacteria from the human gut. The test results have shown how it drastically lowers blood sugar levels. This groundbreaking story focused on research from Cornell University in the USA. The journal “Diabetes” were first to publish this study in 2015 [8].

Probiotics for Chemotherapy Side Effects

Men who receive chemotherapy for prostate and other cancers often experience unpleasant side effects. Some of these cancer treating drugs can be so toxic. One side effect of chemotherapy is that it can weaken the immune system. When this happens, diarrhea can often follow. Some chemotherapy treatments can even cause diarrhea directly. This happens when the treatment damages the wall of the gut.

There's already plenty to contend with for cancer patients, and diarrhoea only adds to the misery. Aside from destroying the man's quality of life, chronic diarrhoea can also be dangerous to his physical health. The reason for this is because it can cause dehydration and delays in follow-up treatment. It may even see him having to take a lower dose, which also drags out treatment.

Tests are showing some real promise in using probiotics in cases of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea. There have also been favorable results in radiation therapy. So far the trials have been small scale and the results mixed. The good news is that this is an area which has made the scientists sit up and take note. Most agree that more well-designed clinical trials are needed, but so far the research is exciting those involved in the studies [9].

Other areas where probiotics are said to be of use include:

  • Boost and maintaining a healthy immune system
  • Diverticular disease
  • Help to eradicate ulcers
  • Reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss and weight management

Summing Up

Probiotics are easy to take with very few incidents of side effects. A daily dose of the “good” bacteria helps to balance out the bad bugs in a man's gut. Any man who suffers with digestive problems like gas, constipation and diarrhea, should consider supplements. In these cases, a controlled, therapeutic dose of probiotics can work miracles. Probiotic supplements worth considering are ALIGN and Culturelle. There are others too, but these are good examples of “quality” supplements. Both of these brands have been through clinical tests to prove their effectiveness at helping reduce intestinal inflammation.

Any man who is in good health should add probiotic foods to his regular diet. This way, he gets to maintain his already healthy gut flora.

Resources

  1. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20140820/your-gut-bacteria
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448089/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15253677
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antibiotic-associated-diarrhea/basics/prevention/con-20023556
  5. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/830002
  6. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775157_2
  7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159115000884
  8. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2015/01/27/db14-0635

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24280481

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