Probiotics for men are the key to effective nutrient absorption, a robust immune system, and better overall health.
Men sometimes think of probiotics as a ‘women’s supplement’. But nothing could be further from the truth. Probiotics are vital to the proper functioning of every human’s digestive tract.
Our team of experts examined scores of popular brands and determined that the following are the best probiotic supplements for men of 2020.
1. 1MD Complete Probiotics
When it comes to probiotics, the more colony forming units (CFUs), the better. 1MD Complete Probiotics provides a robust 51 billion CFUs drawn from 11 different strains in their Complete Probiotics. It’s a pure, potent probiotic supplement that will right your digestive ship in short order.
What we like: 1MD Complete Probiotics address the full spectrum of digestive issues including proper nutrient absorption, immune system function, elimination, and more. They are also free of GMOs, soy, gluten, and artificial additives.
Flaws: Their claim that you will notice benefits within hours needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
2. Now Probiotic 10
Now has been producing high-quality supplements for decades. They always do their scientific homework, and Probiotic 10 is another example of that. They provide 10 of the most beneficial probiotics known to science in each easy-to-swallow capsule.
What we like: The probiotic strains here are resistant to stomach acid. That means more will survive to populate the small intestine where the real digestive action occurs. These particular strains are also known for bolstering immune function.
Flaws: The 25 billion CFUs is not the biggest dose, but nothing is stopping you from taking 2.
3. Nuzena Probiotic 40 Gut Boost +
Nuzena is a relative newcomer in the probiotic space, but they have not wasted any time making a name for themselves. Their Probiotic 40 Gut Boost + offers 40 billion CFUs of some of the most effective probiotic strains delivered in an easy-to-digest veggie capsule.
What we like: Probiotic 40 Gut Boost + focuses on restoring order to your gut microbiome, bolstering the immune system, and resolving issues like chronic diarrhea and constipation.
Flaws: We typically want to see a greater variety of probiotic strains. But Nuzena hit the nail on the head by including only those that are proven and highly effective.
4. Garden of Life Once Daily Men’s Probiotics
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Garden of Life Once Daily Men’s Probiotics target the specific digestive needs of men. Unknown to many men have a shorter digestive tract than women. And that digestive tract also has thicker walls. This influences both the way probiotics work and specific strains that are most effective.
What we like: Garden of Life Once Daily is formulated to accommodate the vagaries of the male digestive system. It provides 50 billion CFUs spread across 15 potent probiotic strains that ensure optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
Flaws: Some customers are unhappy with the new plastic bottle.
5. BioSchwartz Advanced Strength Probiotic
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BioSchwartz addresses a couple of important issues with their Advanced Strength Probiotic supplement. Their probiotics are freeze-dried to guarantee a long shelf life. They also include prebiotics to ensure the probiotic strains have plenty of fuel.
What we like: Heat is the enemy of most probiotics. BioSchwartz gets around this by subjecting theirs to freeze-drying. This means you don’t have to refrigerate these probiotics after opening and don’t have to worry if you accidentally leave them in a warm place.
Flaws: Not the largest variety of probiotic strains.
6. Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics
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Each Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics capsule is loaded with 70 Billion CFUs. That is among the largest dose you will find in any probiotic supplement. They are great for those looking to restore a healthy gut microbiota after antibiotics or those in need of bolstering their immune system.
What we like: Complete Probiotics from Dr. Mercola is a serious probiotic supplement for those suffering nutritional deficiencies, those with chronic diarrhea, men with compromised immune systems, and more.
Flaws: May be too much for someone who just wants to take probiotics as a preventative measure.
7. CaptainBiotics Probiotics
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In spite of the somewhat silly name CaptainBiotics Probiotics means business. Each suggested serving provides 50 billion CFUs derived from more than a dozen and a half probiotic strains. This is a fine all-purpose probiotic for guys just starting out.
What we like: CaptainBiotics hits all the right probiotic bases with lactobacillus, streptococcus, and bifidobacterium species all well-represented. As such, it’s a good choice for treating everything from chronic diarrhea to borderline malnutrition.
Flaws: We are not fans of the proprietary blend label as it undermines transparency.
8. Renew Life Adult Probiotic
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Renew Life Adult Probiotic contains an array of beneficial probiotic strains that will help men restore that all-important gut microbiome. With 30 billion CFUs per capsule, it’s a good choice for average-sized guys with nagging problems like constipation or wayward blood sugars.
What we like: Older gentlemen will also find this probiotic supplement can fill the nutrient gap created by years of wear and tear on their immune system. And it will treat any number of nagging, digestion-related problems.
Flaws: Not the cheapest probiotic on the market.
9. Align DualBiotic Prebiotic + Probiotic
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Probiotic deficiency usually does not manifest in a life-threatening way. Instead, it rears its head in the form of diarrhea, fatigue, or maybe an outbreak of dermatitis. For those occasions, there’s Align DualBiotic.
What we like: If you are suffering from traveler’s diarrhea, constipation or you have just finished a course of antibiotics, the bacillus coagulans in Align DualBiotic can help. They also provide a dose of prebiotics to make sure the bacillus has plenty of fuel.
Flaws: Contains sucrose and corn starch.
10. LiveWell Pro45 Probiotic Formula
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Although they contain naturally occurring probiotics, not all such supplements are vegan safe. Some are processed in factories that also process animal flesh, or the capsules contain animal-based gelatins. LiveWell Pro45 is a rare, vegan-friendly alternative.
What we like: This is a very well-rounded capsule with 11 different probiotic strains and a dash of prebiotic fiber thrown in for good measure. It’s an excellent choice for boosting the immune system or making sure you optimize what you eat when you’re dieting.
Flaws: Would be nice if it came in a larger quantity.
Why do Men Need Probiotics?
Probiotics are not a diet trend. Probiotics are the engine that drives the digestive system. Men can ignore them if they choose. But they do so at their own peril.
Probiotic deficiencies can arise if a man has been taking antibiotics, if he has been surviving on fast food and soft drinks, if he has been under a lot of stress, or if he has been dieting.
The warning signs can be subtle but should never be overlooked. They include skin problems like eczema, as well as moodiness, bad breath, chronic diarrhea, and more.
Age is also a factor when it comes to digestive distress. As we age, our digestive system suffers from wear and tear, just like the rest of our body. By the time a man reaches 50, his digestive tract is nowhere near as efficient as when he was 20. Ignoring this fact can lead to a multitude of health problems in old age.
So why do men need probiotics? They need them to ensure proper digestion, to avoid nutrient deficiency, to ward off a slew of chronic diseases, to help power their workouts, and to live a long, healthy life.
How We Ranked
When ranking probiotics for men, it all starts with CFUs or ‘colony forming units’. This is the system for measuring the approximate number of live probiotic microorganisms in a single serving. In most cases, the more CFUs, the better.
Once we eliminated most of the low dose supplements, we looked for those that offered probiotic species and strains known to be of benefit to men. Those include lactobacillus acidophilus (known to reduce cholesterol levels) and bifidobacterium bifidum (believed to bolster the immune system and play a role in warding off certain types of cancer).
We also looked for supplements that spread the probiotic joy around a bit by offering a variety of strains. But not just any probiotic strains would do. They need to be backed up by clinical data confirming their usefulness.
Finally, we looked at the manufacturer’s reputation and whether they produced their supplements in a Good Manufacturing Practices facility certified by the FDA.
Probiotics for men ensure a healthy digestive tract. Without a properly functioning digestive tract, men can suffer nutrient shortfalls that manifest in ways both obvious and subtle. For example, an iron deficiency can cause muscle weakness and a general sense of fatigue. A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause confusion and jaundice (1). While a calcium deficiency can make a man vulnerable to devastating fractures later in life.
Probiotics for men help prevent urinary tract infections. While women are much more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs) than men, that does not mean men are immune (2). UTIs occur when the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in your system becomes unbalanced in favor of the harmful bacteria. Probiotics are one way to ensure the harmful bacteria don’t have their way.
Probiotics for men benefit your heart. ’Bad’ LDL cholesterol can collect along the walls of a man’s veins and arteries in a process known as atherosclerosis (3). Atherosclerosis restricts blood flow and increases the odds of angina, heart attack, and stroke. A healthy gut environment produces less bad cholesterol and helps put an end to atherosclerosis, thereby relieving pressure on your heart.
Probiotics for men are a must if you take antibiotics. Antibiotics are some of the most commonly prescribed medicines on earth. Their job is to track down and eliminate invasive bacteria that cause infection. Sometimes, though, they do their job a little too well and take out the beneficial bacteria in your gut (4). If you are taking antibiotics or have just finished a course of antibiotics, it is a good idea to take probiotics to restore a healthy gut biome.
Probiotics for men are important for healthy skin. The skin is the largest organ in the human body. As such, it soaks up many of the nutrients metabolized by the digestive tract. If a man’s digestive tract is not operating at peak efficiency, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and an array of other skin conditions can result. There is a growing body of evidence that probiotics can prevent these and bolster the skin’s immune function as well (5).
Probiotics for men are essential for healthy lungs. Millions of men in the US suffer from lung ailments. These include asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Many doctors will prescribe antibiotics or corticosteroids (6) to treat these conditions. But there is compelling evidence that probiotics also have a role to play in the treatment of various lung ailments (7).
Probiotics for men can help you keep the weight off. Women are not the only ones who struggle with weight issues. As they age, men often find themselves struggling to maintain a healthy weight (8). Since obesity can significantly shorten a man’s life (9) this is nothing short of a life and death battle. Taking probiotics to create an efficient digestive tract enables a man to eat less while still maintaining proper nutrition.
Probiotics for men can help them maintain proper hormone production. The gut is inexorably tied to the production of hormones (10). That means the production of the primary male hormone, testosterone (11), as well as all the others. A healthy gut biome is crucial to the production of testosterone which, in turn, is crucial to a man’s libido, and strength, as well as sperm and red blood cell production.
Probiotics for men are important for bone health. Men are generally larger than women, and this additional body mass puts additional stress on their skeletal system. It is vital for men to maintain healthy bones at every stage of life. A healthy digestive tract is the key to ensuring your bones get the vitamins and minerals they need to stay strong. Probiotics supplements are an easy way to create and maintain that efficient, effective digestive tract.
Probiotics for men are important for maintaining sexual function. As we mentioned, a healthy gut is vital to hormone production. That includes testosterone production. Testosterone is the primary male hormone and plays an important role in sexual function, including erections (12). A testosterone deficiency can make it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. Having a healthy gut microbiome can help ensure sufficient testosterone production.
Probiotics for men boost immune system function. It has become increasingly clear that a robust gut microbiota is vital to the maintenance of a robust immune system (13). The thinking used to be that the immune system waited for blood to deliver nutrients. We now know the gut/immune relationship starts right at the intestinal walls. For this reason, probiotics play an important role in maintaining a responsive, effective immune system.
Probiotics for men promote regularity. Regularity is one of those things few people are comfortable talking about. But regular, consistent stools are a fairly reliable marker of overall health. Chronic diarrhea or constipation, on the other hand, often indicate digestive problems (14). Probiotics can create a healthy gut microbiota and better nutrient absorption, which, in turn, should manifest as fewer episodes of diarrhea or constipation.
Probiotics for men are good for your brain. Understanding of the gut/brain relationship has undergone major revisions in recent years. Just as we now know the gut has a direct influence on immunity, it is also apparent that it has an intimate relationship with the brain. We mentioned earlier that the gut is crucial to hormone production. Well, that includes the production of the hormones serotonin (15), melatonin (16), and cortisol (17). These three hormones play a pivotal role in influencing how we feel and sleep and how we respond to stress.
Probiotics for men help regulate blood sugar. Whether you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or just concerned about not developing either of those conditions, probiotics can help. Roller coaster blood sugars are sometimes a result of digestive issues. Studies indicate that the probiotics lactobacillus and bifidobacterium exert a powerful influence on blood sugar levels (18), helping to keep them within normal ranges.
Probiotics for men may help prevent certain cancers. A healthy gut is critical to the smooth operation of countless metabolic processes. Now, it also seems it may have a role to play in cancer prevention. That is the conclusion being drawn by recent studies that suggest probiotics have antitumor capabilities (19) and that the role they play in modulating immune system activity can be harnessed to both prevent and treat cancer.
Probiotics for men can help reduce blood pressure. Recent health studies have been clear in this regard (20). But, because these results are drawn from a relatively small sample size of 543 participants, large-scale follow-up studies are needed to confirm these results beyond any doubt before doctors begin prescribing probiotics for high blood pressure. But the day does not seem far off.
Probiotics for men may reduce migraine symptoms. A review of recent studies concluded that there is compelling evidence to suggest probiotic supplements may have a role to play in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines (21). If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating they can be. The ability to reduce their impact through probiotic supplementation is an exciting prospect.
Probiotics for men are good for your eyes. Like any other organ, your eyes require proper nutrient levels to function correctly. Probiotics that enhance the effectiveness of your digestive system can certainly play a role in good eye health. But more than that, probiotics have recently demonstrated the ability to help alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome (22). That’s good news for those who have spent years dropping artificial tears into their eyes to keep them moist.
Q: What are probiotics?
A: Probiotics are microorganisms that live inside the human gut and facilitate digestion. They assist digestive enzymes in separating nutrients from inert materials while at the same time keeping a watchful eye out for unwanted pathogens. If a person does not have enough probiotics in their gut, nutrition suffers, and the immune system is compromised. Probiotic supplements can restore a healthy and effective gut microbiome (23).
Q: Why should I take probiotics for men?
A: There are a lot of reasons why you might want to take probiotic supplements. If you have just finished a course of antibiotics, there is a good chance your gut’s probiotic population has been depleted (24). If you have been indulging in a less than ideal diet, probiotics can help you get more from the food you eat. If you are suffering from asthma, diarrhea, high blood pressure, or numerous other conditions, probiotics can likely help.
Q: Should older guys take probiotics?
A: As men age their nutritional needs change (25). Because they are not as active as before they typically do not need to eat as much. However, age also causes nutrient absorption to suffer. Meaning a man may actually need to eat more just to glean the same nutrient value from his food. Probiotics can help older guys restore some kind of order to the digestive process so they can safely eat less without suffering nutrient deficiencies.
Q: Are probiotics potentially dangerous?
A: In the past couple of years, some researchers have raised concerns about the possible adverse effects of taking too many probiotics (26). What they found is that people who take excessive amounts of different kinds of probiotics sometimes experience bloating, gas, and even ‘brain fogginess’. The takeaway? Stick to the dose recommended on the bottle. And if you experience problems, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.
Q: Are probiotics for men fast-acting?
A: Probiotics typically get to work as soon as they are ingested. But that does not mean that you will see immediate benefits. If you have been suffering from poor nutrition, it may take some time to feel better. If you are hoping to buttress your immune system, that too will take time, and any success may be hard to discern. On the other hand, if you are hoping to alleviate diarrhea, it is likely you will see results relatively fast.
Q: Are probiotics the same as prebiotics?
A: Probiotics and prebiotics are two different things. Although, in a very real sense, they are two sides of a single coin. Probiotics are living microorganisms that spend their lives in the digestive tract facilitating the absorption of nutrients. Prebiotics (27) are typically non-digestible fiber that is able to pass through the stomach intact and end up in the small intestine where they act as fuel for probiotics.
Q: Can antibiotics and probiotics really be taken together?
A: It might seem counterintuitive since one is ‘pro’ and the other is ‘anti’, but the two not only can be taken at the same time, it is usually a good idea to do just that (28). Antibiotics have the unfortunate habit of taking out beneficial gut bacteria at the same time they’re cleansing your body of invasive bacteria. So taking probiotics will help minimize the damage done by the antibiotics and enable your gut to recover faster once you have finished the antibiotics.
Q: Should I take probiotics for men if I am on a diet?
A: It is likely that probiotics can help facilitate weight loss, as long as you eat less and exercise too. Probiotics will help you get more from the food you eat. So you should be able to maintain proper nutrition even though you are not consuming as much food as before. Be aware, though, that probiotics are not diet pills. You cannot take them and continue to eat what you have always eaten and expect to lose weight.
Q: Are all probiotic capsules coated?
A: The stomach is an incredibly hostile environment. Not all microorganisms that make it to the stomach can survive for long, including some probiotics (29). Because of this, you may notice that some probiotic capsules have a protective coating, and others do not. The ones without the coating can survive the acidic onslaught of the stomach and pass through to the small interesting intact. Those with a protective coating cannot.
Q: Can probiotics for men alleviate diarrhea?
A: They can, but they should not be considered anti-diarrheal medication per se. Probiotics work to restore a healthy gut microbiome. Doing so should help restore regular bowel movements. But it is likely to take time. Essentially, if you have chronic diarrhea, probiotics may be the best choice. But if you are suffering through an occasional bout of diarrhea, you may be better off with an OTC diarrhea medicine that produces faster results.
Q: Will probiotics keep indefinitely?
A: They will not. Probiotics are living organisms that, like all living organisms, need to be properly handled and have a finite lifespan. You should never leave probiotics in direct sunlight or in a place that can become excessively hot, like the glove compartment of your car. This will kill them and render them useless. The best approach is to store them in a cool place, away from sunlight. Even so, you will need to watch the expiration date.
Q: Can I use my son’s or my father’s probiotics?
A: In theory you can. But in practice, what works for one man may not work for another. Different men have different needs. Some are looking to bolster their immune system. Others are more interested in preventing cancer, or regulating blood sugar, or boosting sexual performance. Different agendas often call for different probiotic strains. So sharing them with someone else is likely to end with one party disappointed.
Q: Which probiotic strain should I use?
A: That depends. The lactobacillus genus, for instance, is good for promoting nutrient absorption and bolstering the immune system. So if you are concerned about either of those, this is the genus to consider. On the other hand, the bifidobacterium genus promotes overall digestion and is a good choice for preventing constipation. Keep in mind too that there are multiple species and strains within each genus (30).
Q: I eat yogurt. Do I still need to take a probiotic supplement?
A: Yogurt is a popular source of probiotics, and there is little doubt you would be able to enjoy some benefits from consuming it. However, the amount of probiotics present in the typical serving of yogurt is just a fraction of what you will get in a probiotic supplement. Also, with probiotic supplements, you can pick exactly the strain that would be most beneficial for you. With yogurt, you get what you get as far as strains are concerned.
Q: Are digestive enzymes a type of probiotic?
A: Digestive enzymes (31) work alongside probiotics but they are not the same thing. Digestive enzymes are proteins that deconstruct the food you eat and extract the viable nutrients. Digestive enzymes are secreted by the mouth, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine (where most nutrient absorption actually takes place). There are four different types of digestive enzymes that break down different types of food.
Q: Can any man take probiotics?
A: Probiotics are considered safe and effective for the vast majority of men. The only ones who might want to pause and reconsider taking them are those who are currently taking a doctor-prescribed medication for a pressing health condition. If you are currently taking blood thinners, you should also talk to your doctor before taking probiotics, likewise if you have recently undergone gastric bypass or intestinal surgery.
Q: Are there side effects to taking probiotics?
A: Probiotics are typically free of significant side effects. In some cases, people with sensitive stomachs may experience gas or a stomachache. Switching to a different probiotic strain may alleviate the problem. As a general rule, if you are experiencing adverse side effects, it likely means you are not taking the right probiotic to address your specific need. You may want to discuss the matter with your doctor.
Q: What are freeze-dried probiotics?
A: In the quest to produce probiotics that have a longer shelf life and are less susceptible to heat, manufacturers have taken to freeze-drying them (32). When the process was first attempted, most of the probiotic microorganisms died during the process. Subsequently, manufacturers discovered that if they mixed the probiotics with certain other ingredients, those ingredients protected the probiotics during freeze-drying, and they remained viable. Today, many probiotic supplement makers use freeze-dried probiotics.
Q: How long do I need to take probiotics?
A: That decision is entirely yours to make. But keep in mind that in most cases, it can take some time to realize the full benefits of probiotic supplements. If you are taking probiotics to boost your immune system, for instance, that cannot be accomplished overnight. Or even in a week or a month. Probiotics are tug boats, not speed boats. And straightening out a wayward gut is a process, not an event.
Probiotics for men enable you to be at your best at all times. Among other things, they ensure proper nutrition, provide the energy necessary to power workouts, help ward off chronic disease, and help you keep your weight in check.
Probiotics can pick up the slack of an unhealthy lifestyle. But you will need to do your part by eating better, exercising and getting the sleep you need.
Use the information in this guide to determine which probiotic for men is right for you.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended probiotics for men, click here.