The Benefits of Probiotics for Men, Women and Everyone

How men and women both benefit from probiotics.

Man and woman in running gear tying shoe laces
Man and woman in running gear tying shoe laces

Our digestive systems may be the same, but it is hypothesized that men and women may get some different benefits from food and medication.1,2,3 The same goes for probiotics – good bacteria that work with the gut to fight diseases, and help improve overall digestive health.4 We all have probiotics living inside of us, either from eating fermented foods or occurring naturally. These organisms can flourish with support from prebiotics like Benefiber – fiber that nourishes the good bacteria and helps keep your digestive system balanced.5**

While prebiotics may help improve probiotics’ benefits, these benefits depend on a person’s individual needs and existing gut flora in their microbiome – the stomach’s environment where different bacteria interact with one another and process nutrients.6 One way to address these needs is to consider the factors linked with the microbiome and other health concerns.

Physiological Differences in Men and Women

Men and women differ greatly in their reproductive systems, but how does that affect their digestive tracts?

In women, the reproductive organs are located in the lower abdomen, which can make them vulnerable to abdominal pain.7 Women tend to have higher rates of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than men.8 Women also process stress differently than men – producing hormones that can affect digestion.9

Meanwhile, men tend to complain more of acid reflux and ulcers. Emerging research suggests probiotics can help with these types of symptoms for men and women.10

How to Choose the Best Probiotics for Men and Women

In women, reproductive stages impact hormonal balances and can react with the digestive system. For example, there’s evidence of postmenopausal women benefitting from probiotic strains of Lactobacillus spp. Women may also find this strain to be beneficial when experiencing infections like vaginosis and fungus.11

Similarly, women with IBS or IBD may find some relief from their stomach troubles with strains of Lactobacillus plantarum, which is shown to help with symptoms across genders.12

In men, emerging research suggests strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus may help with fertility and reproductive issues.13

And in a small study, men saw a decrease in their cholesterol levels after consuming Bifidobacterium-fermented yogurt for a period of time.14 However, further research is needed to better understand this correlation.

Universal Considerations

While men and women have diverse needs when it comes to probiotics, prebiotics are more universal. The prebiotic fiber in Benefiber works the same way in men and women: by nourishing the good bacteria and keeping the microbiome balanced and happy.

Whether you’re taking probiotics to address stomach troubles, fight infections, or just to maintain a healthy gut, prebiotics give these microorganisms the best possible chance to flourish.**

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Use as directed.

Show ReferencesHide References

  1. Afify SM, Pali-Schöll I. Adverse Reactions to Food: the Female Dominance – A Secondary Publication and Update. World Allergy Organ J. 2017;10(1)):43 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746020/
  2. Anderson GD. Gender Differences in Pharmacological Response. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2008;83:1-10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18929073/
  3. Sharifi N, Amani R, Hajiani E, Cheraghian B. Women May Respond Different From Men to Vitamin D Supplementation Regarding Cardiometabolic Biomarkers. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2016;241(8):830-838. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4950395/
  4. NIH: National Center for Complementary and Inegrative Health. Probiotics What You Need to Know. Updated August 2019. Available at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
  5. Davani-Davari D, Negahdaripour M, Karimzadesh I, et al. Prebiotics: Definition, types, sources, mechanisms, and clinical applications. Foods. 2019;8(3):92. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6463098/
  6. Bull MJ, Plummer NT. Part 1: The human gut microbiome in health and disease. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(6):17-22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566439/ 
  7. NIH: National National Library of Medicine – Medline Plus. Updated 18 October 2019. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/pelvicpain.html
  8. Kim YS, Kim N. Sex-gender differences in irritable bowel syndrome. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2018;24(4):544-558. http://www.jnmjournal.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.5056/jnm18082
  9. Zhang N, Liao X, Zhang Y, Li M, Wang W, Zhai S. Probiotic supplements for relieving stress in health participants. Medicine. 2019;98(20):e15416. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Fulltext/2019/05170/Probiotic_supplements_for_relieving_stress_in.8.aspx
  10. Sun Q, Wang H, Sun S, Zhang X, Zhang H. Beneficial effect of probiotics supplements in reflux esophagitis treated with esomeprazole: a randomized controlled trial. World J Gastroenterol. 2019;25(17):2110-2121. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6506578/
  11. Kim JM, Park YJ. Probiotics in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal vaginal infections: Review article. J Menopasal Med. 2017;23(3):139-145. https://e-jmm.org/DOIx.php?id=10.6118/jmm.2017.23.3.139
  12. Le B, Yang SH. Efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum in prevention of inflammatory bowel disease. 2018;5:314-317. Toxicology Reports. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214750018300490?via%3Dihub
  13. Valcarce DG, Genovés S, Riesco MF, et al. Probiotic administration improves sperm quality in asthenozoospermic human donors. Beneficial Microbes. 2017;8(2):193-206. Available at: https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.3920/BM2016.0122
  14. Xiao JZ, Kondo S, Takahashi N, et al. Effects of milk products fermented by Bifidobacterium longum on blood lipids in rats and healthy adult male volunteers. Journal of Dairy Science. 2003;86(6):2452-2461. https://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302(03)73839-9/fulltext

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