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Sex and the Microbiome

Vive la différence! Sex plays a big role in our guts, not just our minds.

Mental disorders are not gender-neutral. Far more women than men suffer from depression, for instance, while men are more likely to be autistic. These sex differences are intriguing, and the most obvious explanation is hormones.

The latest research also shows that mental issues have a connection to inflammation, which typically originates in the gut. So it may not be surprising to find out that gut microbes are also not gender-neutral. Some gut diseases, like IBS, occur twice as often in women than men—and IBS is strongly associated with depression and anxiety. Men and women with depression have changes in their microbiome that are different from healthy people and different from each other.

Gut microbes, in general, are different between men and women, likely due to those same hormonal influences. This is supported by the fact that male and female microbial differences don’t show up until puberty when hormones start in earnest.

Despite the sex differences, a balanced and diverse gut microbiota is healthier for both women and men. But how do you balance your gut microbiota? The best plan is to eat loads of veggies and fruit. But if you find it hard to get enough veggies and fruit into your diet, don’t despair. You can try prebiotic flavonoid extracts, like those in Clarity Prebiotic Blend. They can improve the resilience of your gut, and help you deal with the vagaries of life, whatever your sex.

Read more about sex and the gut microbiota here.

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