Appreciation for the role probiotics play in enhancing overall health has finally reached the mainstream. That's why more and more people are reaching for that yogurt cup or simply pop a probiotic supplement these days. Why? Because, it's almost basic knowledge that these microorganisms found in most (if not all) fermented foods confer various health benefits, whether you are a man or a woman.
However, if smooth digestion is the only health benefit you can think of, it's time you knew the whole story. Read on to find out the surprising health benefits of probiotics for men and women alike.
Excellent Sources of Probiotics
Probiotics aren't a synonym to just yogurt. Nature is rich in various probiotic sources, most of which have the power to rock our palate. From kefir and kimchi to kombucha and sauerkraut, you have every excuse in the world to crowd your diet with probiotics.
However, since some of these foods can be an acquired taste due to their strong flavor, many people resort to probiotic supplements instead. And why shouldn't they? Not only do they deliver the same health benefits as their food counterparts, but they are also accessible at all times. That's especially convenient if you lead a busy lifestyle and special dietary demands can't always be met.
Benefits of Probiotics for Men and Women
From the millions of bacteria residing in your gastrointestinal tract, almost all of them are friendly. That means that all they want to do is help your body break down food easily and promote the absorption of nutrients while eliminating potentially harmful microorganisms.
These so-called “good bacteria” (known to us as probiotics) are part of two different groups found in the gut: firmicutes and bacteroidetes. According to one study(1), the amount of bacteroidetes in the human gut is significantly lower in obese people than in lean ones. In fact, the study continues by claiming that once the "good bacteria" sum increases, the individual can't help but lose weight.
But, this isn't the only study linking weight loss to a healthy gut environment. In 2006, researchers(2) concluded once again that an exhausted population of gut microbiota is bound to lead to obesity. So, you know what to do if you want to keep weight off for good.
Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Probiotics may be the answer. Whether you're going down with the flu or struggling with chronic inflammation, these microorganisms are known for regulating your immune response(3) and, thus, promoting your overall health.
In fact, probiotics trigger several mechanisms in the human body to suppress and eliminate any potentially harmful diseases such as viral infections, eczema, allergies, vaccination responses and much more.
Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Regulating mood and anxiety disorders is indeed one of the most surprising health benefits of probiotics for men and women. According to a literature review(4), the regular consumption of probiotics attenuates depressive and anxiety-like behaviors. However, further research is necessary.
Regularly exposed to bacterial, environmental, physical and chemical challenges, skin is one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body. Research(5) proves that this may no longer be the case due to the use of probiotics.
These microorganisms can maintain, optimize or even restore the microbiota of the skin which is responsible for the youth-like and fresh looks in a variety of ways. In particular, probiotics for men and women enhance skin's natural defense and, thus, prevent diseases(6) such as eczema, acne, UV-induced damage, dermatitis, allergic inflammation and much more.
Extra Benefits of Probiotics for Women
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common health issues that afflict women worldwide. Luckily, the answer may be hiding in your kitchen or supplement cabinet. Probiotics, especially the lactobacilli species, is known to prevent UTIs(7) by restoring the flora of the female urinary tract. This way probiotics leave no room for the growth of uropathogenic substances.
Newsflash: Over 50 species of microbes reside in the human vagina. Sooner or later, this composition is about to change due to a variety of environmental factors such as age or poor hygiene. But, when that does happen, infections enter the scene. According to research(8), probiotic-rich foods or supplements have the power to treat such diseases by fighting the causative bacteria and restoring vagina's flora.
Without appropriate bacterial balance throughout your body, your overall health may be hanging by a thread. One way to ensure that this balance remains intact is nutrition. But, since it's tough to get enough of these microorganisms just from food, a high-quality probiotic supplement is a good bet. Are you ready to change your life for the better?