Man flu is real after all as boffins conclude blokes ‘suffer more’ than women

Telly health guru Jenna Hope said blokes really do suffer more' when they get sick. They also are more likely than women to fall ill in the first place.

Jenna, who has a masters degree in human nutrition and health, helps Google and eBay staff stay fit and well and appears as an expert on This Morning, said: "It pains me to say this but man flu is real. Men really do suffer much more than women when they're ill.''

She said evidence showed the female immune system – with higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone and lower levels of testosterone – was stronger than males'.

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Since men have much higher levels of testosterone – which suppresses the immune system – they are more likely to be affected by illness than women who have much smaller amounts of the hormone.

Jenna said: "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.''

As a result blokes feel the effects of colds and flu – headaches, sore throats, aching limbs – more than women and find it harder to shake off', she said.

A study by scientists at America’s Harvard University 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.

Where the gene responsible for producing this enzyme was removed the creatures lost their resistance to infection.

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When applied to humans that means blokes contract viruses more easily than women – and feel the effects more.

It is not the only study supporting man flu as genuine.

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.

According to UK private health insurer Benenden (corr) 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.

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"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.

Security boss Pete Finlay, 47, from Norwich, said he always knew he suffered more than partner Rachel.

"When we both get colds at the same time my partner always makes fun of me saying I always complain more and exaggerate the symptoms,'' he said.

"But, it's true – it does affect me more because I'm a man. Thank you science. Now she can't tell me I'm being a big baby any more.''

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