Notice the men around you looking a little more hairy than normal? A mustache is definitely a conversation starter, and No Shave November, also known as Movember, is all about inspiring conversation about an important cause - men’s health awareness.
Movember has funded more than 1,000 projects for men’s health, spending millions to date for projects worldwide that research and support issues such as various cancers, mental health, and physical inactivity while also helping those who are already suffering.
We’re so inspired by the Movember and No Shave November missions that we’re growing our ‘staches this month, too. Impassioned by improving human health naturally and educating others about the power of the microbiome, we’ve rounded up some common ways that probiotics can help support men’s health. Check them out below!
Probiotics and Men’s Health
First, let’s be clear: probiotics can optimize the health of anyone—young or old, male or female. Probiotics are simply good bacteria that naturally reside within your gut environment and help to keep you healthy.
As humans, we’re 90% microbial which means that our microbes outnumber our human cells in a stunning ratio of 10:1. The careful balance of bacteria in your gut might not be something you think about frequently, but it makes a big difference and can affect almost every aspect of wellness - from energy to mental health and beyond. Probiotic supplements provide beneficial bacteria that can help you improve your chances of wellness and help you live your healthiest days by supporting the following:
• Digestive Health: According to 2010 digestive health statistics for the United States, 60-70 million people were affected by digestive distress - nearly three quarters of which which were men. Unfortunately, many of the foods we eat, medicines we take, and other lifestyle factors can disrupt the balance of bacteria that keep you feeling your best.
A high-quality probiotic supplement can effectively deliver the good guys to your GI tract, where billions of beneficial bacteria can help ease common issues such as gas, bloating, irregularity and occasional diarrhea.
• Mental Health: Gut health is not only important to digestion and regularity, but it also affects all other supportive systems, especially the nervous and immune systems. You may be able to improve your mood and boost overall energy by making simple lifestyle changes that include eating whole foods and using probiotics to get your gut back on track.
Consider this: medical and nutritional professionals have dubbed the gut as the “second brain” and here’s why: the stomach and intestines connect to the brain through enteric nervous system (ENS), which is an offshoot of the autonomous nervous system, upon which we rely for our “fight or flight” instincts.
By “connect”, we mean a two-way communication link. The ENS produces the neurotransmitters, or “brain chemicals”, dopamine and serotonin. We tend to attribute these hormones to the brain itself, but the GI tract actually makes most of our serotonin and at least half of our dopamine. If something impedes this process, it can then interfere with your mood and mental clarity.
Probiotic supplements can help you rebuild your probiotic colonies in the gut, which in turn can have a positive influence on your mental health and energy day to day.
• Heart Health: Many factors play into the health of our heart throughout men’s lives, especially when when you consider that men are more likely to experience physical inactivity as they age and are also more likely to smoke cigarettes (as published by the Movember Impact Investment Strategy).
Diet, exercise, and family history play a fairly prominent role in heart health, and interestingly enough these factors can also influence whether or not our microbiomes are in good shape. According to recent analysis published in the Journal of Hypertension, the microbes that comprise our bodies are interconnected, and probiotics can affect your immune system, inflammatory responses, and even your blood pressure, which is why a growing number of cardiologists are starting to recommend probiotics for a healthy heart.
• Immune Health: 80% of the human immune function resides in the GI tract. And similar to our delicate gut environments, the immune system often gets thrown out of balance as well. Many aspects of our daily, modern lives can affect our immune function - from the natural aging process to pollution, stress, travel, the amount of sleep you get and the foods that you're eating every day.
When the immune system gets worn down, overstimulated, or simply becomes unbalanced, chances are you’re going to notice. That’s why a balanced, resilient immune system is key to maintaining year-round wellness and vitality for the long haul. Taking an effective, high-quality probiotic like Hyperbiotics Immune can balance and fortify your immune system from the inside out.
• Bone Health: More than half of Americans are affected by some bone or joint condition, and research shows that probiotics have the potential to optimize bone and joint strength as well as longevity. A 2013 study from the University of Michigan found that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus reuteri supported bone density in male mice, while also demonstrating evidence of probiotic strains boosting antioxidants, and helping to slow the oxidation (or breakdown) of bones.
For men and women alike, probiotics can have a big impact in supporting our foundational health. Remember that not all probiotics are created equally. While you can find these naturally residing bacteria in many foods, a quality supplement taken daily can offer more targeted and direct support for digestive, immune, heart and bone health.
Want to participate in the Movember movement? Grab some probiotics, grow a little scruff, and donate to a few of the charities listed on Movember and No Shave November’s websites to promote men’s health this month.
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
How have men’s health issues affected your life? Let’s keep the conversation going.
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