Men are from Mars…
Answers to all the questions you should be asking but haven’t yet!
Everyone is talking about ‘IT’ at the gym, work, and even the pub. You get that gut health is essential, but really, does it make that much of a difference to men? And, isn’t it the same as the women’s stuff?
Yes, it does make a difference, and no, your microbiome isn’t the same as a female’s microbiome.
It can be the make and break of living a healthy life full of strength, power, and energy, or just a barely surviving, holding on by a thread, type of existence.
Let’s get educated on the basics, so you can make decisions to improve your physical and mental health.
I’ve heard the words microbiota and microbiome thrown about. What’s the difference?
Microbiota is the collection of microbes that live in and on your body. Microbiome refers to the genes which live inside these microbes.
Every one of us has a distinctive microbiota and microbiome. In fact, our individual microbiome is as unique as our fingerprints.
The gut microbiota is made up of a lot of micro-organisms. Still, bacteria and viral cells are the primary organisms. The precise number of bacteria changes throughout the day and is always turning over. When new bacteria are introduced into your gut through diet or probiotics, the viral cells help the good bacteria survive by transferring genetic code.
What does the microbiome influence in your body?
Our microbiome is central to all body operations. It impacts aging, digestion, our immune system, mood, and cognitive function.
Is there a difference between male and female microbiomes?
Researchers have been able to show that gut microbiota and microbiome differs significantly between men and women. This is likely due to the hormonal influences of estrogen and testosterone (Haro, et al., 2016).
The study of the interaction of hormones and microbiome in the genders is called microgenderome.
It is also believed the interaction is a two-way street. The microbiome influences hormones and hormones influence the microbiome.
The most important takeaway – if your gut and the organisms that keep it healthy is imbalanced, then it could be impacting your hormone levels, as well as your physical health, mood, and energy.
Does that mean men are more prone to different diseases?
The microbial composition of our gut not only contributes to how we feel daily but can also predispose us to, or defend us from, numerous health conditions.
The X chromosome (doubled up in females), harbours many immune-related genes. This means women have more immune cells, providing them with a more vigorous antibody and immune response to infection. As a rule of thumb, men have more and worse infections than women. Yes, that is right… Man Flu is real!
However, there is a trade-off. An over-eager immune system can make it harder on beneficial microbes and can lead to autoimmunity, where the immune system attacks its own tissue. Therefore, men may suffer more from infections, but women tend to end up with more autoimmune diseases, like lupus, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and celiac disease.
There is also a difference noticed in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Men are at greater risk of developing diabetes before puberty, and women are at higher risk of developing it after menopause (Santos-Marcos, et al., 2019). The vital research into these differences is still ongoing.
Does gender impact how our gut reacts to our diet?
The same study mentioned above found two recommended diets for metabolic syndrome – the Mediterranean diet and low-fat diet – changed the gut microbiome in men and women.
The researchers discovered that while the response to the Mediterranean Diet was comparable between men and women, some alterations in the gut microbiome were not favourable in men on the low-fat diet. They actually found an increase in the gut bacteria related to gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
This is important and in need of further investigation. What it shows – the standard dietary recommendations are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Not every recommendation will have the same effect on men and women.
What are the common gut problems men get?
While there are many preventable health problems we can encounter in our lifetime, digestive health issues are something many of us guys experience.
While gut problems can occur in both men and women, some seem to be more prevalent in males. When these disorders go untreated, they become chronic and interfere with everyday living.
This is why talking about gut health for men is essential.
Acid Reflux/Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)
Reflux/GORD or sometimes known as GERD, happens when stomach acid flows up the oesophagus and causes a burning sensation in the chest, sour taste in the mouth, and sometimes regurgitation. Some of us may have experienced it after having a big night out on the booze and food. Only to wake up in the middle of the night with a horribly sour taste in the mouth.
It’s caused by a malfunctioning shut-off valve that either fails to stay closed or doesn’t open at the right time. It also has to do with the amount of pH in your stomach. It’s often worse after heavy meals, caffeinated drinks, alcohol consumption, or when you lay down too soon after eating.
Long-term acid reflux can become a severe issue by harming the oesophagus and leading to Barrett’s oesophagus. This is a precursor to oesophageal cancer.
What should I do if I have this?
Acid reflux symptoms can be decreased or prevented through diet and lifestyle changes. Avoid greasy and spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Also, make sure you eat your dinner at least two hours before you go to bed. Ensure you give yourself some gut love to make sure the good bacteria are plentiful and keeping the harmful bacteria at bay. Try Gut Performance® every morning. Its prebiotic benefits will help feed your beneficial bacteria to keep your gut healthy and strong.
If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you should see a doctor before it becomes a chronic problem.
These are open sores that develop on the stomach and upper intestine. The symptoms include gnawing pain in the abdomen, which commonly wakes you up. Other symptoms can include weight loss, nausea, vomiting, bloating, acid reflux, and heartburn. They are caused by a specific bacterial infection, and overuse of pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin. It’s not caused by stress.
If left untreated, the sores become a hole in the digestive lining that causes excruciating pain……..and you will need surgery to fix.
If you suspect you have an ulcer?
Go see your doctor. There are medications to help, but they take several months to take effect. To prevent this issue, make sure you have a diverse diet full of whole fresh food to keep your gut health at an optimum to ensure your immune responses are high. Also, take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatories only as directed. These tablets can potentially be harmful to the lining of your gut if not taken correctly.
Constipation is generally caused by a lack of fibre in your diet, medication side effects, stress, and absence of physical activity—just a typical day in modern society. But rest assured, it ISN’T a normal part of growing older.
What if I’m clogged up?
If you want to prevent constipation, exercise, drink plenty of water, and add more fibre to your diet. You can do this through food or adding a glass of Gut Performance® every morning. This will add extra fibre to your diet and act as a stool softener, so it’s easier to come out.
Lengthy bouts of constipation can be a sign that something more serious is up. You should call your doctor if constipation is an ongoing or regular problem.
What’s setting off my gut issues and how do I fix it?
You might not have any of the pressing issues or concerns above, but you know your gut health could do with some improvement.
Despite what the Google Medical Professionals at the pub believe, getting your insides in shape isn’t as simple as ingesting a couple of over the counter fake food supplements.
Everything you consume and your lifestyle can affect the microbes in your gut.
Eating a healthy lunch full of colour and fibre causes you to produce helpful bacteria that speeds your digestion throughout the rest of the day. If you narrowly miss getting hit by a bus because your head was planted in your phone when you stepped off the curb, it will unleash a cascade of hormones that will alter the microbes’ environment and cause digestive distress.
Microbes are like the annoying office manager at work. They know everything that goes on, and they set the mood and tone for the day. If they are poorly treated, nothing good happens – you experience it as gas, bloating, constipation, and general discomfort.
Here are some of the top reasons that make a healthy gut go south…
Fight or Flight Response
When you are anxious, hormones and chemicals are released by the body to prepare it for fight, flight, or freeze. These compounds enter your digestive tract and directly interfere with digestion – to make sure you have the right energy going to the right places if you need to run.
These chemicals, particularly if they are chronically released into the gut, harm your good gut bacteria and decrease your antibody production. This makes you more susceptible to infections. They also significantly slow down your metabolism of food.
To fix this, sink your stress levels. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness activities, going for a surf or getting out in nature. All these activities can help lower the chemicals wreaking havoc with your gut and your brain.
Your body needs a night of good sleep, long enough to allow it to digest the food you ate the previous day. Just because you are sleeping, doesn’t mean your gut will stop working. If you miss out on sleep, your gut doesn’t get the time it needs to restore or replenish.
Getting good quality sleep can help regulate your hormones that play a significant role in mood, which, in turn, aids your gut health. Have a look here to see how Gut Performance® and, in particular, its prebiotic properties can help you regulate your sleep.
Useless fats and sugar feed your harmful bacteria, which then excretes chemicals that lead to inflammation, leading to diarrhoea, bloating, and much more. If you have a steady diet of hydrogenated fats and sugar, it sits up against the lining of your intestines. This unleashes your immune system and sets you up for chronic metabolic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
The only way to avoid this is to ensure you cut down on your sugar, poor quality fats, and booze. Yes, you should cut down on the alcohol. To help enhance your diet, use Gut Performance®. It doesn’t contain any colours, flavours, preservatives, or chemical stimulants. It’s made from 100% natural concentrated food. It also helps to lower the glycaemic index of the foods you do consume – helping to control your blood sugar levels.
Fibre feeds good bacteria – it’s their favourite food – like a packet of Smarties in the hands of a six-year-old. When they consume it, they produce short-chain fatty acids that prevent inflammation and help nerve endings in your intestine move things down along the pipe. Without it, expect an intestinal traffic jam that causes bloating and gas because all the bacteria have plenty of time to sit and ferment.
Make sure you get a diverse range of fruits and vegetables into your body daily. You can also try Gut Performance® as it contains a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibre that feeds your good gut bacteria (prebiotic) and makes you regular.
Festival of the Couch Potato
Don’t worry, we have all been guilty of it during the 2020 lockdown at one time or another. Researchers have found that if you are sedentary, then exercise for six weeks, you get a significant increase in gut bacteria which assists in the production of short-chain fatty acids preventing metabolic diseases such as diabetes. But, when you stop exercising, within a short six-week period, your gut health returns to its sluggish self, and you are no longer protected.
Well, we know how to fix being a couch potato and the resulting symptoms of constipation and chronic gut problems. All you have to do is get up and move your body.
If these lifestyle interventions don’t cut it, you need to consider going to seek professional help. It’s often important to be evaluated by a health professional. This is because there are various conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, causing gut symptoms that just don’t go away without a bit of professional assistance.
Let us know via our Gut Performance® Instagram page and #gutperformance if you have had success and dealing with your gut issues by taking Gut Performance®.
It’s not just for the girls. We love to hear from everybody about how Gut Performance® has taken their gut health to the next level.
Haro, C., Rangel-Zuniga, O. A., Alcala-Diaz, J. F., Gomex-Delgado, F., Perez-Martinez, P., Delgado-Lista, J., . . . Camargo, A. (2016). Intestinal Microbiota is influenced by Gender and Body Mass Index. PloS one, 11(5). doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154090
Santos-Marcos, J. A., Haro, C., Vega-Rojas, A., Alcala-Diaz, J. F., Molina-Abril, H., Leon-Acuna, A., . . . Camargo, A. (2019). Sex Differences in the Gut Microbiota as Potential Determinants of Gender Predisposition to Disease. Molecular nutrition and food research, 63(7). DOI:e1800870. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201800870