Probiotics have been getting a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason, since a lot of men are being more mindful of their gut health.
Living microorganisms have been attributed to all kinds of health benefits that relate to gut health and beyond. If you are looking to improve your overall physical condition, then you should definitely consider taking the right probiotics.
Good Bacteria Versus Bad Bacteria
Probiotics is crucial for men’s health. (Image Source: DailyMail)
Trillions of bacteria live inside the human body and most of them are found in the large intestine. This colonic community does a lot of things–from immunity health, digestive health, vitamin synthesis, and more.
But some of these microorganisms have no business in our system, as they can cause diseases. The body tries to balance the ratio of good and bad bacteria, but many factors tip the balance off in favor of the bad bacteria. This can lead to various health problems. This is where the importance of probiotics comes into the picture.
Probiotics are similar to the good bacteria found in the body. Many probiotic products and supplements in the market contain a wide range of bacterial strains. To truly get the benefits, you have to find the right ones for you.
These probiotics are microorganisms that, when consumed in the right amounts, provide tons of health benefits. These can come in different forms, from fermented food such as yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut to supplements.
Different Probiotics Offer Different Health Benefits
Not all probiotics are made equal, and more research is necessary to truly understand all the benefits that come with various probiotic strains. Lactobacilli, for example, live in the genital, digestive, and urinary systems. It is the most common form of probiotics and is found in fermented foods such as kimchi. Bifidobacteria is a lactic acid bacteria that also lives in the intestine and is found in fermented substances as well.
Here is a breakdown of some probiotics out there and their uses and health benefits:
For heart health: Lactobacillus acidophilus
Taking probiotics regularly can greatly reduce the risk of a heart attack. This is proven by several studies which show the benefits of certain bacteria found in fermented products like yogurt and probiotic supplements.
The bacteria works by increasing the levels of the “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and reducing the levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Other forms of probiotics for heart health include:
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Lactobacillus reuteri
These probiotics can also help in lowering blood pressure.
For brain health: Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium longum
The brain and gut have a strong connection. Thus, bacteria in the colon digest and ferment fiber in short-chain fatty acids, which nourishes the gut. Studies show that these compounds can provide benefits for both the brain and the nervous system.
These strains improve symptoms of poor memory, anxiety and depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even autism. Other specific strains can even improve mood, reduce stress, and help in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Other forms of probiotics for brain health include:
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus helveticus
For boosting Immunity: Lactobacillus GG and Lactobacillus crispatus
Multiple studies show that taking probiotic supplements can shift the balance in the gut bacteria. It is also known to strengthen an individual’s defenses against infections, allergies, and even cancer.
Other forms of probiotics for the respiratory system include:
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Bifidobacterium longum.
In addition, these probiotics can reduce inflammation, which is a known risk factor for most diseases.
Meanwhile, certain strains of probiotics such as Lactobacillus brevis can strengthen the gums and prevent various infections such as gingivitis.
Yogurt is one of the best natural sources of probiotics. (Image Source: Pexels)
For weight Loss: Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Studies suggest that certain probiotic supplements are excellent in achieving a healthy body composition as well as weight loss. This is because the bacteria greatly reduces the calories and fats the gut absorbs, promoting a healthy balance, all while reducing belly fat.
Probiotic supplements are excellent for people looking to limit weight gain from high-calorie intake.
Other probiotic forms for weight loss include:
- L. gasseri has been shown to work effectively in men
- L. rhamnosus for women
- A combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis
For constipation: B. Lactis
This probiotic provides excellent relief from mild to chronic constipation in both children and adults. It can resolve abdominal fullness, belching, and bloating after meals.
Other probiotic forms for constipation include:
- S. cerevisiae
- B. longum
- Combination of L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus and B. animalis
For diarrhea: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus acidophilus
Diarrhea may be usually a short-lived problem, but for some, it can be a chronic condition. The probiotics mentioned above have been proven to reduce the frequency of stools for infection-related diarrhea (commonly caused by gastroenteritis or stomach flu and food poisoning).
Other probiotic forms for constipation include:
- Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains combination
For general health: Bifidobacterium bifidum
Aside from specific health benefits, you can also take probiotics and supplements for improved general health. Recent research shows that these can promote better aging and reduce inflammation in older men. Of course, this should be paired with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Getting Started with Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe, but they’re not for everyone. They can do more harm than good for people with compromised immune systems or who are extremely ill due to HIV or AIDS.
Though there are no hard and fast rules in taking probiotics, it definitely requires trial and error to find which ones best work for you. If you notice and feel the benefits after a few weeks, then that means that a specific strain of bacteria is good for you. People who suffer from bloating and gas may need to change their probiotics. If you are new to probiotics, you might be interested to try out soy protein supplements. If you are, make sure to check this to learn more about soy protein.