When we talk about gut health and the gut microbiota, research shows that there are genetic (non-modifiable) and lifestyle (modifiable) factors that can impact our overall well-being. So, if differences in our physiology, diet, and mental health all impact our gut microbiome – what’s unique about men’s health, specifically the gut? Our in-house registered Nutritionist and gut health expert, Roisin, shares her expertise, and the science below.
Q1: What are the biggest indicators of poor gut health in men?
1. Low fibre intake
Fermentable fibres such as galacto-oligosaccharides contribute to the growth of beneficial bacteria, and a favourable overall balance of your gut microbes. Adequate fibre helps to reduce constipation and support regularity.
You can increase your level of fibre by enjoying a wide variety of foods such as lentils, beans, broccoli, and avocado. To support intake further, you can also add a small daily sachet of Bimuno Original into your tea or coffee, which contains 2.75g of fibre.
2. Poor Mental Wellness
The two-way communication between the gut and the brain has long been established in what is known as the ‘gut-brain axis’. This means that the gut can influence the brain, and vice versa. Having high levels of stress can disrupt the composition of the microbiota, leading to negative changes in intestinal barrier function and increasing the likelihood of functional gastrointestinal symptoms.
Men suffer from mental health issues just as much as women and yet research confirms that they are less likely to seek help; with men only accounting for 36% of NHS talking therapy referrals in the UK.
Q2: Is there a link between gut health and prostate health?
Research suggests that there is an emerging relationship between the gut microbiome and prostate health, in what is referred to as the ‘gut-prostate axis’. This means that the microbes living in your gut may have an influence on prostate health despite not living in the prostate themselves.
The same rules, therefore, apply to maintaining a healthy lifestyle by following a balanced diet, regularly engaging in physical activity, and getting good quality sleep can support a favourable composition of the gut microbiota, which in turn can support prostate health.
Q3: How does age impact men’s gut health?
For both men and women, as biological age increases, the relationship between the individual and the gut microbiota deteriorates and overall bacterial diversity and richness decrease, increasing the likelihood of dysbiosis. This can be further impacted by the physiological changes that come with age such as reduced appetite and irregular bowel transit.
These changes can minimise the beneficial effects gut microbes have on health and well-being, leading to changes in your gut’s capacity affecting the ability of your gut to absorb and produce certain nutrients, regulate your immune function, and support cognitive well-being.
Whilst research suggests there may be some small differences in the gut microbiota between men and women, these become more evident with age as women lose gut microbial diversity with the onset of menopause. Men still lose gut microbial diversity with advancing age, influenced by many lifestyle factors such as diet, stress, and sleep. For example, testosterone levels can also be known to decrease over time, and some individuals will increase levels of Zinc in their diet to help maintain normal testosterone levels in the blood.
Key nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin D, and C can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts but some may also choose to add a daily sachet of Bimuno Immunity containing 100% of your recommended daily intake, as well as our high-fibre prebiotic GOS.
Research is still somewhat in its infancy when it comes to the major differences between men’s and women’s gut health, but general trends in lifestyle behaviours related to stress and diet, as well as some key genetic differences may be an indication of how men feel the impact of poor gut health differently.
If fuelling your gut with good bacteria is on your mind, both Bimuno Original and Bimuno Immunity are convenient daily food supplements that can help bridge the gap and support men (and women) in their pursuit of good gut health.