Man flu ‘real’ as experts conclude men ‘suffer more’ than women

A television health expert has concluded man flu is real, as men “suffer more” and become sick more often.

Jenna Hope, who has a masters degree in human nutrition and health, helps Google and eBay staff stay fit as well as offering guidance on ITV’s This Morning. She says there is evidence that the female immune system is ‘stronger than males’ due to higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone and lower levels of testosterone.

Since men have higher testosterone levels, which surpresses the immune system, they are more likely to be hit by illness. Jenna said: “It pains me to say this but man flu is real. Men really do suffer much more than women when they’re ill.”

Speaking to the Daily Star, Jenna added: “When we look at the evidence we find that the female immune system is actually stronger than the male immune system. Higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone (which women have more of) can increase the efficiency of our immune cells.

“We know that testosterone plays a role in the suppression of the immune system. So not only do men have more of the hormone that suppresses immunity, they have less of the ones (oestrogen and progesterone) that support it.”

It means men feel the effect of colds and flu more than women, Jenna said. This includes symptoms such as headaches, sore throats, and achey limbs.

A study from scientists at Havard University in America also found men were at a sickness disadvantage to women due to their lack of immune-bolstering oestrogen. Researchers gave male and female mice doses of oestrogen which cured them of bacterial pneumonia by activating an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase.

Researchers gave male and female mice doses of oestrogen which cured them of bacterial pneumonia by activating an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase. Where the gene responsible for producing this enzyme was removed the creatures lost their resistance to infection.

When applied to humans, it meant men contract viruses more easily than women. They also feel the effects of illnesses more.

It wasn’t the only study that found man flu to exist. According to the medical journal BMJ (corr) scientists found evidence men who had symptoms of a viral respiratory infection had a weaker immune response that lasted longer and was more severe than women.

Private health insurer Benenden says fellas should take special steps to safeguard themselves against man flu. It advises: “Firstly make sure you are eating the right things during the winter months.

“Foods full of immune-boosting vitamins include blueberries, watercress, kale, beetroot, garlic and ginger, which all taste delicious and are really versatile. Secondly, invest in a flu jab. These may cost a little if you aren’t classed as vulnerable but will help to keep flu at bay over the coming months.

“Other man flu-fighting tactics involve getting a good night’s sleep to keep your immune system healthy. Sleep helps to regulate your hormones and maintains a healthy immune function.”

The firm also suggests ‘exercising to increase your blood flow’ which ‘in turn strengthens your immune system’ and using Covid-busting hand sanitiser after touching things like door handles in public spaces.

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