The best probiotic supplements for men and why you need them

I don’t want to alarm you, but right now your body is full of bacteria. This is actually a good thing. Our bodies contain a microbiome, an ecosystem made up of billions of microorganisms like bacteria that help balance our gut, maintain homeostasis, and even protect our skin. In short: bacteria are very important for the overall health and functioning of our body.

That’s why you’ve probably seen probiotic supplements floating on the shelves of your drugstore or grocery store. While research is still ongoing, it has been discovered that certain bacteria can have health benefits like controlling digestive issues, improving brain function, supporting the immune system, and more. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt are natural sources of these beneficial probiotics, but unless you’re eating gallons of yogurt a day, you may want to consider giving your microbiome a boost by taking a probiotic supplement.

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Most of the probiotic supplements you see target gut issues like digestion, constipation, diarrhea, and IBS. That’s because the lion’s share of studies are on bacteria that have been shown to live in the gut and help it work. You don’t even have to have these specific issues to see a benefit from a probiotic – they can also just help everything go well. And beyond the gut, emerging research has shown that probiotics can benefit men in several ways. They help support the immune system, improve brain function by helping convert fiber to short chain fatty acids, support heart function by lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, reducing inflammation throughout the body and maybe even help you lose weight.

So it’s no surprise that probiotics are everywhere, but before you get to the first one you see, there are a few things you should know. Probiotics are measured in colony forming units (CFU) and higher doses have been shown to have a better effect. But, specific dose recommendations have yet to be determined – it depends mainly on the type of bacteria, as some have shown an effect at just 1 billion CFUs and some require much more. It is generally recommended to lean towards a higher dose, especially if there is a variety of probiotics in the supplement. The more the merrier when it comes to your microbiome!

There is also a difference between prebiotics (the foods bacteria eat), probiotics (beneficial bacteria), and postbiotics (compounds created by probiotic activity). You’ll see prebiotics and probiotics together more often, as prebiotics help maintain bacteria once they enter your gut and help them thrive.

Finally, some probiotics must be stored in the refrigerator to ensure their freshness, however freestanding supplements are becoming increasingly popular for convenience. Neither is necessarily better than the other, but be sure to read the directions for which one you choose. And if you’re having a hard time choosing a supplement, start with this list of the best probiotics for men – we won’t steer you wrong.

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