Probiotics have a well-earned reputation for their ability to support digestive health. But that's not all they do. These beneficial bugs provide a wellspring of benefits from head to toe—and new research shows just how important they are for men's health. Whether it's in the bedroom or the boardroom, probiotics can provide relief for some of the most common issues men face.
Your prostate is a problem waiting to happen. The most prevalent prostate problem for men under 50—and the third most common for men over 50—is prostatitis. Marked by inflammation that causes painful or difficult urination, frequent night urination, and pain in the groin, pelvic area, or genitals, prostatitis is responsible for about 2 million doctor’s visits every year.1 The cause? Oftentimes it’s a bacterial infection.
Fortunately, emerging evidence suggests that probiotics can significantly reduce the painful symptoms associated with bacterial prostatitis. In preliminary research, investigators found that probiotics can reduce the prostate cell inflammation caused by a bacterial infection.2 What’s more, a study of chronic bacterial prostatitis in humans showed that supplementing with probiotics could prevent symptomatic recurrence, improve quality of life, and reduce antibiotic use.3
Probiotics may do even more to support prostate health. Since 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, prevention is key. A recent report shows that taking a probiotic—in addition to making lifestyle changes—may delay or even prevent prostate cancer.4 It does this by improving the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome and reversing dysbiosis, which can promote the growth of cancer cells.
It’s a fact of life: aging affects male sex drive and function. But age isn’t the only thing that can put a damper on your love life. Research shows that there’s a strong link between the gut microbiome and men’s sexual health.5 And while you may not be able to defy Father Time, you can do something about your microbiome. And that, in turn, can improve your reproductive health. For example, one clinical trial appearing in Human Fertility showed that taking a daily probiotic significantly increased sperm concentration and motility as well as ejaculate volume. The study’s participants also experienced less oxidative stress and inflammation.6
Testosterone production also drops as a man ages. And that can present some unwanted changes, including reduced sex drive, decreased energy levels, and fatigue.7 Novel findings out of MIT and Harvard suggest that regularly consuming probiotics can boost serum testosterone levels and delay reproductive aging.8
Of course, nothing kills the mood the way digestive issues do. Gas and bloating don’t really fall into the sexy category. Thankfully, probiotics can help regulate your gastrointestinal woes and alleviate these common digestive issues, as well as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach rumbling.9
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an avid adventurer, probiotics can give your physical conditioning a boost. A 2023 systematic review of 13 studies suggests that regularly consuming probiotics can influence performance-related factors such as fatigue, muscle pain, body composition, and cardiorespiratory fitness. That means you can recover faster, build more stamina, and improve your physique. And best of all, probiotics’ benefits were witnessed across a wide range of activities, from rugby to badminton to endurance training.10
Probiotics can help you stay in game shape too. An earlier review of nine studies involving endurance athletes showed that probiotics protect against post training and competition illness by strengthening the immune system, shielding the upper respiratory tract from infection, and decreasing oxidative stress.11
Statistically, women experience depression at twice the rate that men do. But reports suggest that men are less likely to seek treatment—and they often underreport symptoms when they do speak up.12 That’s not surprising since talking about feelings isn’t really considered the most masculine trait. One way to deal with or possibly prevent depression is with probiotics. A 2016 meta-analysis showed that probiotics significantly improve mood and decrease the symptoms of depression.13 A more recent review of 16 trials backs up those findings by also showing a wealth of evidence that probiotics can improve clinical depression and anxiety symptoms.14
Probiotics’ brain benefits don’t stop there. They also help to improve cognition and memory. In a randomized, controlled 12-week trial, men taking a probiotic experience noticeably better memory when compared to a placebo.15
Probiotics are an invaluable asset to men’s health. By providing relief to a number of common male issues, a probiotic supplement is a smart addition to every guy’s health routine.
Ready to learn more about probiotics? Start here.
- Nickel JC. Prostatitis and related conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders. 2012:327–56.
- Murzilli S. Evaluation of the immunomodulatory effects of a probiotics and natural extract-based formulation in bacterial-induced prostatitis. Life (Basel). 2023;13(2):389.
- Cai T. The use of Lactobacillus casei DG® prevents symptomatic episodes and reduces the antibiotic use in patients affected by chronic bacterial prostatitis: results from a phase IV study. World Journal of Urology. 2021;39:3433–40.
- Fujita K. Gut microbiome and prostate cancer. International Journal of Urology. 2022;29(8):793–8.
- Osman MM. The gut microbiome and men’s sexual health. Current Sexual Health Report. 2019;11:348–57.
- Helli B. Probiotic effects on sperm parameters, oxidative stress index, inflammatory factors and sex hormones in infertile men. Human Fertility (Camb). 2022;25(3):499–507.
- Ibragimov S. Low testosterone levels in adults in central Asia regions. Grail of Science. 2023;25:493–5.
- Poutahidis T. Probiotic microbes sustain youthful serum testosterone levels and testicular size in aging mice. PLOS ONE. 2014;9(1):e84877.
- Kumar LS. Probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: a review of their therapeutic role. Cureus. 2022;14(4):e24240.
- Di Dio M. Effects of probiotic supplementation on sports performance and performance-related features in athletes: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023;20(3):2226.
- Díaz-Jiménez J. Impact of probiotics on the performance of endurance athletes: a systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18(21):11576.
- Fisher K. Men’s anxiety: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2021;295:688–702.
- Huang R. Effect of probiotics on depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2016;8(8):483.
- El Dib R. Probiotics for the treatment of depression and anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. 2021;45:75–90.
- Eastwood J. The effect of probiotics on cognitive function across the human lifespan: A systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2021;128:311–27.