What is the best probiotic supplement for men? Do men need different probiotics than women? What makes a great probiotic? Are probiotics safe? Should you use a probiotic or a prebiotic? In this article we answer all of these questions and more!
It is now abundantly clear that your gut microbiome affects every aspect of your health and performance. As new research makes this fact ever-more obvious, people are looking for ways to maximize their gut flora and promote digestive health.
The way 90% of people try to optimize their gut health is by using probiotics.
It’s no real surprise then that probiotics are quickly becoming some of the most widely-used supplements in the world.
With increased popularity comes increased competition, and with that, a far higher standard of product. As more research is done into the workings of the gut and how that relates to health and performance, supplement manufacturers are able to produce better probiotics.
The best probiotics today are almost unrecognizable from the cheap pills that flooded the market just a few years ago.
There are now supplements tailored to every specific need imaginable; of these, probiotics for men is probably the most notable.
So what is the best probiotic for a man?
After all, with so many products on the market, telling the good from the bad can be incredibly difficult. Unless you know a great deal about the gut microbiome, how the digestive system works, and specific bacterial strains, one probiotic can look a lot like another.
That’s where we come in!
We’re going to help you find the best gut health supplement for men currently on sale so that you can start properly looking after your digestive system. We believe that by enhancing your gut microbiome, you will see notable enhancements in cognitive function and athletic performance too.
But before we get into the details, we should probably explain what we mean by “probiotic for men”.
What are probiotics?
“Probiotics” is the word we give to any food, supplement or substance that contains exogenous bacteria species which promote good digestive health.
So basically, a probiotic is any food or supplement which delivers bacteria species which improve digestive health.
When we talk about probiotics, we are almost always talking about probiotic supplements. When we’re talking about foods which deliver healthy gut bacteria, we invariably say “probiotic foods”, rather than simply “probiotics”.
In this article, when we say probiotic, we mean probiotic supplements.
Which bacteria are probiotic?
As explained above, probiotics are foods or supplements which contain bacteria known to promote gut health and aid digestive function.
In simple terms, the idea is that probiotic bacteria will (temporarily) colonize the gut, displacing unhelpful or even harmful bacteria in the process. A healthy human gut is home to anywhere from 500 to 1000 different species of bacteria. Probiotics deliver a small number of different bacterium strains which then create an environment which allows healthy bacteria strains to grow and proliferate.
In other words, probiotics create an environment in which healthy bacteria strains can thrive once again, and in which unhealthy bacteria struggle to survive.
Some examples of healthy gut bacteria genus typically found in probiotics are:
Different probiotic supplements will use different strains of bacterium. Exactly how the probiotic works, who it benefits, and how effective it is largely depends on the existing gut microflora and the flora in the supplement.
How important is gut health?
Your gut bacteria are absolutely vital for many different bodily functions. Without plenty of healthy gut bacteria, you would not be able to properly digest food, you wouldn’t be producing neurotransmitters like you should be, and your immune system would stop functioning normally.
Basically, without a healthy gut microbiome, your body would start to fall apart and your health would rapidly deteriorate.
Numerous clinical trials have shown that an imbalanced gut microbiome negatively impacts multiple different measures of human performance.
Having an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut, or not having enough “healthy” bacteria in the digestive system, has been found to negatively affect:
- Stress resistance
Similarly, studies have found that rebalancing the gut microflora through the use or prebiotics, probiotics, dietary changes and fasting can enhance cognitive function, improve immune responses, and even improve athletic performance.
Benefits of having good gut health
There are many benefits to promoting a balanced, healthy, diverse gut microflora.
Studies have found that improving your gut bacterial profile has profound benefits beyond merely improving digestive function. Enhancing gut microbiome health can:
- Enhance cognitive function, including memory and focus
- Increase strength and power output
- Increase stamina
- Reduce recovery time from physical activity
- Improve mood and bolster stress resistance
- Improve sleep quality and duration
- Help reduce body fat
As you can see, the benefits of improving gut health are numerous and varied.
It’s no wonder that probiotics for men are so popular right now!
Reasons why men have poor digestive health
There are lots of reasons why certain men might have very poor digestive health.
We would actually go as far as to say that most men in the developed world have an imbalanced, unhealthy gut microbiota.
As a result, a significant portion of men are experiencing the effects of an imbalanced gut microbiome without realising it; low mood, impaired cognitive function, limited stamina, poor recovery, and low sleep quality to name a few.
Why do so many men need probiotics? Why do they have such poor digestive health?
Here are some of the main reasons why men struggle with gut health:
- High alcohol intake
- High stress levels
- High red meat intake
- Low fiber intake
These factors would all cause an imbalance in your gut microbiota, leading to a rapid growth in unhealthy gut bacteria strains. These factors are also much more common in men than women, which is why so many probiotics are designed for and marketed explicitly at men.
The best probiotic foods
So what are the best probiotic foods for men to eat? Which foods should you be eating on a regular basis to promote gut health and proper digestive function? Are any of the so-called “probiotics for men” not that useful in practice?
Most of the popular blog articles on probiotic foods – especially those about probiotic foods that are good for men – are incredibly misleading.
Eating more probiotic foods can help with digestive health, no doubt about that.
But eating foods full of probiotic bacteria is not a fool-proof cure for an unhealthy gut microbiota. Nor can probiotics, even the best probiotics, counteract the damage done by poor diets and lifestyle choices.
So while many fermented foods and probiotic supplement can help men in numerous different ways, they can only do so much. Ultimately, eating more prebiotic fiber, reducing alcohol intake, eating less red meat, and reducing stress will all have a far greater impact on your gut microflora health than probiotic foods or supplements.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the best prebiotic foods you can eat for promoting gut health.
Here are the best probiotic foods for men to eat for maximum digestive health and gut microflora balance:
- Miso soup
These foods are all fermented. They contain live cultures of bacterial strains which promote a more healthy, balanced gut microbiota.
The bacterium found in these foods allow the healthy bacteria in your gut to thrive, while also replenishing levels of healthy bacteria that might have diminished due to stress, alcohol consumption, or a lack of fiber.
Are probiotics or prebiotics more effective?
If someone wants to rebalance their gut microbiota, the first thing they reach for is a probiotic.
This is understandable since these are the most heavily-advertised supplements relating to gut health, and probiotic foods can definitely promote a healthier gut microflora.
But probiotics are not always the best option for improving gut health.
We believe that men looking to enhance gut health should consider using a prebiotic before they think about utilizing probiotics.
Prebiotics are ultimately more effective when it comes to addressing serious gut microbiota imbalances.
This is because prebiotics promote the growth of endogenous healthy gut bacteria, as opposed to probiotics which introduce exogenous (foreign) bacteria species.
High quality prebiotics will selectively feed the most beneficial, health-promoting strains of gut bacteria. This allows healthy bacteria to thrive and multiply at the expense of harmful or unhelpful bacteria that might be disrupting your digestive system.
The distinct lack of side effects is also another major benefit of prebiotics over probiotics.
Even the best probiotics for men can cause noticeable side effects, including:
As you are introducing foreign bacteria species to your digestive system – albeit healthy strains found in many foods – you run the risk of distressing your gut microbiota even further.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, simply provide plentiful food for the most healthful bacteria species already in the gut. They promote the growth of healthy species and leave the harmful species to starve. The chance of experiencing side effects is therefore considerably lower.
The bottom line is, if you want to have a healthier gut (and all the benefits that come with it), then prebiotics are probably the best option. If they don’t work as you expected, then introducing a probiotic alongside a prebiotic is the intelligent way to proceed.
Best prebiotic foods
If your goal is to maximize gut health for good, then we think it is far more effective to eat more prebiotic foods than probiotics.
As explained above, prebiotics foster an environment in your gut in which healthy endogenous bacteria strains can thrive. Prebiotics allow your existing gut bacteria to rebalance.
Probiotics instead introduce foreign, exogenous bacteria strains.
We think increasing intake of prebiotics is a far more sustainable, safer way to maximize gut health than constantly eating probiotic foods or supplements (even if they are high quality probiotics for men).
So what are the best prebiotic foods to eat?
If you’re a man and you’re experiencing symptoms of digestive distress, or you want to experience some of the benefits of a properly functioning gut microbiome, you should consider eating more prebiotic fiber.
The best prebiotic foods for men are:
- Jerusalem artichoke
Some of the best of these foods are relatively difficult to obtain and eat on a regular basis. This is necessarily the case with prebiotic foods; water soluble fiber can be difficult to eat in large quantities if you aren’t used to it! A lifetime of red meat and sugar means most people find fiber slightly difficult to eat!
So if you want to completely optimize your gut microbiota, we recommend using a prebiotic supplement which provides a large dose of fiber obtained from chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke.
The Best Probiotic for Men
What is the best probiotic for men?
If your goal is to fix gut microflora imbalances caused by a lifetime of bad habits, then we honestly think a probiotic is going to be of limited value.
You cannot use a probiotic, rebalance your gut bacteria, and then continue to reap the benefits of having a healthy gut microbiome while still eating the foods you have always eaten.
For the vast majority of men, the best thing to use is a high quality prebiotic supplement rather than a probiotic.
However, if your diet is full of water soluble fiber anyway and you want to take things further, than you should consider introducing probiotics to your diet as well.
The best probiotic for men is…a wide variety of probiotic foods!
Rather than spending good money on a probiotic supplement, you can get the same bacteria strains from foods that are a natural part of the human diet. This saves you a lot of money, and gives your body food that it is used to consuming (rather than a bizarre cocktail of bacteria in a capsule).
For optimal gut health and performance, we recommend using a high quality prebiotic and eating more probiotic foods a couple of times per week. For example, alongside a daily dose of prebiotic fiber, we recommend eating yogurt once or twice a week, tempeh a few times per month, and other fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir when the opportunity arises.
On top of that you should be trying to eat plenty of soluble fiber every day. We know may people will struggle with this, which is why a prebiotic supplement might be a good idea.
We know many of you searching for the “best probiotic for men” will be looking for a specific supplement recommendation. However, the truth is that when it comes to probiotics, the best probiotic for men is a diet that includes various fermented foods.
If you want a supplement to help with gut health, then the best probiotic for men is actually a prebiotic plus some dietary changes.
The best gut health supplement for men on sale today
The best way to improve gut microbiome health is to consume more prebiotic fiber on a regular basis.
Feeding your own, naturally occurring gut bacteria is always going to be more effective in the long-term than constantly consuming foreign bacteria species through probiotics (probiotic supplement manufacturers bank on you never having a fully functioning gut microbiome).
However, we know that most of you are going to struggle to eat enough prebiotic fiber every day from food alone.
Eating 2 apples, oatmeal, an onion, a leek, asparagus, and bran flakes every day can leave any of us feeling pretty bloated.
If you aren’t used to eating much fiber (like most men in developed countries), then eating more than some bran flakes in a day can leave you feeling bloated.
That’s why high quality prebiotic supplements can be enormously beneficial for many men.
Prebiotic supplements provide concentrated doses of prebiotic fibers carefully manufactured to selectively feed beneficial species of gut bacteria.
The best prebiotic for men currently on the market is Performance Lab Prebiotic.
It delivers a large dose of ultra-potent prebiotic fiber from chicory root. Performance Lab Prebiotic selectively feeds beneficial gut bacteria, leaving the less helpful (and harmful) species to starve.
See our detailed Performance Lab Prebiotic review.
Who should not take probiotics?
Men who have serious gastrointestinal issues should think very carefully before using any probiotics. If you have serious, chronic digestive distress, then you need to talk to a doctor before you use nay probiotics or prebiotics. They may make your condition worse. Get medical advice first!
Is yogurt better than a probiotic supplement?
In our opinion, simple probiotic foods like yoghurts or kimchi are better than probiotic supplements. They deliver the same species of bacteria, but in a more natural “package” that the body can recognise. On top of that, yogurt is a lot cheaper than probiotic supplements!
Should you take probiotics every day?
No. Probiotics should not really be consumed every day. Even the best probiotic for men should not be taken on a daily basis for long periods of time. The makeup of your gut bacteria is very different to the bacterial profile of a probiotic supplement. Using them daily for a long time can cause more problems than they solve.