Probiotics: Not As Good As You Think?

Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor
Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner

Live bacteria from probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for us, especially for the digestive system. Some of the benefits are believed to come from the following:

• Replenishment of “good” bacteria in our system, while balancing good and bad bacterial ratios
• Production of beneficial acid compounds that keep the lining of our gut healthy and aid our immune system

Several probiotic strains are found in common foods, such as yogurt and soft cheese, as well as in dried form within popular multivitamin supplements.

A recent review published in the British Medical Journal pooling 313 randomised controlled trials with nearly 50,000 participants showed that taking probiotics results in all kinds of beneficial effects. And other ongoing research on probiotics has been focusing on alleviating certain health complications, such as:

• Diarrhoea
• Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
• Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Yeast infections
• Urinary tract infections
• Lactose intolerance
• Certain skin conditions such as eczema
• Allergies and asthma
• Inflammation and low immunity
• Depression and anxiety
• Obesity
• And many more

The Downside of a “Good” Bacteria?

Although masses of evidence have shown that probiotics are beneficial to health, a recent study published in the journal Cell suggests that this may not always be the case.

Researchers from Israel saw that certain types of probiotics do not always stick around in the gut. Instead, they were simply excreted in the stool. But that’s nothing new for us. We’ve already known for a while that there are two types of bacteria:

• Pass-through bacteria, which tends to leave the digestive system
• Resident bacteria, which tends to stay in the digestive system

This means that different bacterial strains can confer different benefits, and the body needs both.

For example, Lactobacillus bulgaricus from fermented yogurt is “pass-through” yet it has been shown to enhance immune protection against the common cold and flu.

The main takeaway from this study is that it’s important to personalise which probiotics are given for different situations and different individuals, depending on the risks we want to reduce and the benefits we want to promote.

In A Nutshell:

Are probiotics worth taking? Our short answer is YES. And while not all probiotics may permanently stay in the gut, they can also confer incredible health benefits. They may be doing so by producing beneficial chemicals and by aiding our immune system.

Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor
Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner

What If You Don’t Go To University

It’s August, which means it’s that time of the year again: A Level Results Day.

And whether it’s your friends or your grandma, there’s one question on everyone’s lips…

Are you going to university?

You might be heading back from college to the tune of ‘Did you get the grades?’

Or maybe you never wanted to go to uni in the first place.

Whichever boat you’re in; what happens when your friends are prepping for freshers’ week, but you’re not?

No fear – we’re here to help! The first thing you need to consider is:

Are you sure about your decision?

It’s difficult to aim for your goals if you don’t know what they are, or how to reach them. This means that if you have a particular career in mind, you might want to see a careers advisor or thoroughly research alternative routes into the field you’re passionate about before making a final decision.

But then what? Well, first, it’s important to know…

There are a ton of careers that don’t require a university degree

It’s true! You may have considered some of these options: hairdressing, beauty, personal training.

But those aren’t the only choices – many careers have a variety of pathways into them, from accountancy, to journalism, to nutritional therapy.

Read on to see what you can do instead of going to university:

Take a Gap Year

Fondly known as the ‘gap yah’ among millennials, many teens take a year out to decide what they want to do before continuing their education. This often takes the form of travelling, learning a language, and gaining lots of experience of different cultures – but it can also involve volunteering in a mix of industries to help you make a more informed decision about your future. While this kind of break provides a temporary solution, it’s common for people to head back to school once they complete their gap year, but many teens also open doors to careers they never knew existed!

(Pssst… Looking for the latest work experience opportunities? GoThinkBig is a good place to start).

Find an Apprenticeship

Becoming an apprentice is a great way to get straight into work AND gain a qualification while you earn. From farming, to hospitality, to law, you can choose your apprenticeship from a huge selection of fields and levels, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Level 6/7 (degree equivalent). Depending on the level, an apprenticeship can take between 1 and 5 years to complete, but you’ll be learning loads of job-specific skills along the way.

If you’re in the UK, you can click here to find an apprenticeship.

Get an Entry-Level Job

While a large number of entry-level jobs will attract applications from students and recent graduates, many employers offer roles aimed at school-leavers – including training schemes. The obvious benefit of heading straight into work is that you’ll be earning right away.

A great way to find entry-level jobs is to keep an eye on websites that advertise vacancies in specific fields. Mediargh is a great example for media-related careers (publishing, science – whatever).

Become an Entrepreneur

Ever wanted to start your own business? Now might be your chance! This can be an exciting option for those not looking to go to university, but it’s wise to first consider the funding, support, and advice you’ll need along the way. If you’re in the UK, check out these government guidelines for new businesses.

For an extra boost when it comes to marketing your business effectively, check out Google’s Digital Garage for free digital marketing training.

Study for an Online Diploma

A huge barrier for many prospective students is the possibility of getting in over £50,000 of debt for a qualification in an area they’re not entirely sure about, or wasn’t necessary for their preferred career.

Whether you’re looking to boost your entrepreneurial endeavours, or you want to get a feel for a subject before jumping into a degree, an online diploma can be a great way to go! Loads of platforms offer you the chance to study via the web and many don’t require specialist technology, so you can get going with just a laptop and a cup of tea.

If it’s nutrition you’re into, we at The Health Sciences Academy® have a whole host of certifications and short courses for you to explore.

Nutrition not your thing? Not to worry – there are loads of other great providers out there. Check out Coursera and Lynda for an array of online courses on a variety of subjects.

They’re called options for a reason…

It’s important to remember that choosing to not go to university isn’t something that sets your career in a permanent direction. You may try one of the above and decide you want to go to uni after all! Perhaps you want some work experience, maybe you’re looking to boost your know-how before embarking on a degree, or you might even decide to do both an online course and an apprenticeship – the point is: the sky’s the limit.

What you’re doing this September doesn’t necessarily define the rest of your life, but it CAN boost it. Do what’s best for you and remember: it’s quite natural to need a little bit of extra time to work out where you want your career to go.

The Health Sciences Academy® is the UK’s largest online educator in nutrition science.

We are home to a variety of Level 5 online diplomas, in addition to a range of accredited short courses in nutrition topics – ready to help you ignite your career.

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