What are the health benefits of yogurt? Many people indulge on yogurt because it’s one of the few healthy foods that actually taste good. The gooey, pudding-like substance has long been a favorite snack among fitness enthusiasts.
What makes it a superfood is the whopping dose of probiotics you get out of each serving. Probiotics do all sorts of good for your body. Recent research has also hinted a strong link between probiotics and endocrine health. For men, this means a direct correlation with their testosterone levels.
(Warning: You may feel a strong urge to stock the fridge with Yoplait after finding out what the science has to say about probiotics and its impact on hormone regulation.)
What Are Probiotics?
In short, probiotics are a form of bacteria.
Don’t worry, though, they’re the good guys. The human body has roughly 100 trillion bacteria living inside it; that’s more than the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Some of these are good and promote normal body function, while others are considered invaders and cause all sorts of maladies from the common cold to life-threatening illnesses.
While probiotics contain numerous benefits, they are mostly known for improving digestive health by shuttling food through your intestines. Some people have also attested that adding probiotics to their diet has helped improve other areas in their body, such as by:
- Staving off allergies
- Preventing urinary and vaginal infections
- Reducing dental caries
- Promoting better epidermal conditions
Probiotics Improve Endocrine Health
More research, though, is beginning to shed light over the role of probiotics on endocrine health. The human endocrine system consists of several glands in the body responsible for the production and regulation of hormones, namely testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
READ MORE: What Are the Best Probiotics for Women?
The environment, unfortunately, is littered with what is known as endocrine disruptors. These consist of chemicals and compounds that do exactly what their name suggests. They enter your body through your skin or orifices and trick your body by mimicking the hormones in your system. This throws your body into hormonal disarray as it responds by producing either too much or too little hormones.
There are no avoiding endocrine disruptors as they are practically everywhere, including in:
- The foods you eat
- Sun tan lotion
- Plastic bottles
- Even the air we breathe
The Research Behind Probiotics
So you get that probiotics are good and endocrine disruptors are bad, but how does the former shield you from the latter? Recent research suggests that probiotics may facilitate the removal of harmful disruptors through bodily excretion.
In one study, lab rats were exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor. One group was later given probiotics. When compared to the controlled sample, the results yielded these three findings:
- The amount of BPA excreted through urine and bowel movement was 2.4 times greater in the rats given probiotics.
- The percentage of BPA bound to the excrement was significantly greater.
- BPA concentration levels in the blood were lower for the rats administered probiotics.
The results suggest that probiotics may expedite the excretion of BPA and minimize its effects on human health.
Still not convinced? Here’s another scientific study that lends merit to the discussion. Water exposed to herbicides (another known endocrine disruptor) were treated with milk, which did not remove the chemicals in the herbicide. However, when exposed to the compounds Yakult, Actimel and Bifidus — all forms of probiotics found in yogurt — the endocrine disruptors began binding to them, which rendered the chemicals less bioavailable.
Why That Serving of Yogurt May Preserve Your Testosterone Count
When it comes to endocrine health, probiotics are your allies.
For men, you should care about maintaining optimal androgen levels and keeping your significant others satisfied in the bedroom.
Studies show that probiotics may play a role in keeping cortisol levels at bay. If you know anything about testosterone production, then the very word “cortisol” should make you cringe in your boxers.
This is not to badmouth the hormone because cortisol plays a vital function. It helps regulate blood sugar levels as well as protein, carb, and fat metabolism. However, too much stress prompts the body to produce cortisol in excess, hence its moniker as the “stress hormone.”
Too much cortisol has been linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and erectile dysfunction. It is also linked to excessive protein breakdown, which results in the breakdown of muscle. In a study published under the International Journal of Sports Medicine, the rise of cortisol correlates to lower testosterone, with the vice versa also holding true.
Okay, so you get that cortisol is bad news, but how do probiotics factor into the equation?
In a study conducted at University College Cork, one group of mice was administered probiotics while another group got nothing. Both groups were then placed inside a maze, which normally causes stress for rodents. The mice fed probiotics remained relaxed, while the control group quickly went into panic mode. Not surprisingly, the latter group’s cortisol production went into overdrive.
How to Get More Probiotics in Your Diet
Your body actually produces probiotics, though the amount created tends to wane due to poor lifestyle factors like a sloppy diet. Never fear, though: Eating probiotic-rich foods will counteract the effects of low production by the body.
There’s other foods besides yogurt chock-full of this beneficial bacteria, so no need to worry for those who can’t consume dairy without immediately making a trip to the bathroom.
Add these foods to your diet to get a probiotic boost:
- Kombucha (fermented tea)
When shopping for these foods, read the label and aim towards selections with the label “live and active cultures.” This means that extra cultures have been added on top of what is already naturally found in the product.
The One Issue With Getting Probiotics…
Here’s a fact: The majority of Americans are NOT consuming enough probiotics through their diet due to highly processed foods, soil nutrient depletion and more. I happen to be one of them! I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of most foods that contain probiotics. And if you’re like most people, you’re probably on my side!
So how do you still get all the benefits of probiotics without eating probiotic foods?
One word: Supplementation.
The only issue with supplementation is that most probiotic supplements on the market today are junk. They don’t contain the right strains of probiotics and they don’t contain the right amount that has been shown in research to provide the benefits you want.
That’s why I created my own probiotic that actually works.
Floracil50 offers a high amount of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus and reuteri. These two bacteria are notable for men because they may help to decrease cortisol, improve sperm production and motility, and aid in the overall health of the testes, resulting in higher testosterone output.