Supplements for Travel
You've been dedicated to healthy choices all year, then vacation or even heading to the parents' for Thanksgiving comes, and you're not feeling your normal vibrant self. You're tired. Your digestion is strange. You're feeling rundown. Travel supplements may help you get back to normal under less than normal circumstances.
Supplements for travel stress and immune system support
What if my flight’s overbooked and I get the boot? And I’m left stranded on the dreaded standby? I’ll be flying home by the time they find my luggage! If they even let me on the plane with my carry-on. What new rules will surprise me at security?
Travel is stressful. Antioxidants can help. Stress generates dangerous chemicals called free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species) that destabilize and can destroy healthy cells (the process of oxidative stress), leading to numerous health problems. Substances with antioxidant capabilities — like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Glutathione, and others — neutralize free radicals.
The problem is that these substances have many other functions in keeping your body working at its best. So, when they have to go neutralize free radicals, they can’t do their other jobs in your cells. Free radicals deplete the antioxidants like Vitamin C and Glutathione in your immune system cells.
These cells require Vitamin C to function at their best. When Vitamin C is depleted in these cells, you are more susceptible to other health issues. That’s why taking antioxidants like Vitamin C and Glutathione can help mitigate the damage that stress causes and support your immune system so you can have healthier travels.
Vitamin C performs more than 20 functions in your immune system. You need it in your white blood cells, which act as the front lines of your immune system, defending against threats to your health. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals before they can cause a cascade of damage to your cells. You may be tempted to stock up on those life-saver, cold-fighting Vitamin C powders and gummies, but please read the label. You’ll see that they often have 7X more sugar than they do Vitamin C.
Sugar directly interferes with your ability to absorb Vitamin C. It’s also inflammatory and causes more free radicals. Also, high-dose Vitamin C supplements from traditional pills and powders are known to cause gastric distress — the last thing you want when your only option is an airplane lavatory! That’s because you just can’t absorb that much Vitamin C at once from pills or powders.
Liposomal Vitamin C is a much better option for absorbing the larger doses of Vitamin C you need to offset the oxidative stress from travel. Our Lypo-Spheric® variety comes in single-dose packets with no need to refrigerate, and no questions from TSA.
When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it sacrifices its antioxidant capabilities in the process. Known as the “master antioxidant,” glutathione recharges other antioxidants, like Vitamin C, so you can get more free radical protection. Your body creates glutathione, but production slows with age. Foods don’t contain glutathione, but many contain the three amino acids — cysteine, glycine, and glutamine — that are the building blocks for glutathione. The most efficient sources are meats or a whey protein powder. The antioxidants selenium, carnitine, and alpha lipoic acid also facilitate glutathione production, which are found in many of the same foods.
Glutathione is difficult to supplement from traditional pills because the digestive system breaks the compound down into cysteine, glycine, and glutamine, which the body then must reassemble. This is not ideal because of the energy expenditure required to do so. If you want a more efficient supplement, liposomal glutathione supplements protect the antioxidant throughout the digestive system, and deliver it into the cells intact.
Vitamin B Complex
Stress creates an amino acid called homocysteine which, when it is chronically elevated, has been linked to heart disease. Researchers have linked mental stress to high homocysteine levels in post-menopausal women, young men, and children. The B vitamins — B6, B12, and folate — regulate homocysteine levels. Sometimes elevated homocysteine is a symptom of a deficiency in one of these vitamins. The good news is that these vitamins are easy to get from airport food. There is no shortage of overpriced bananas for B6. You can always find a spinach salad for your folate. Just top it with some chicken or steak and you’ve got your B12. Of course, if you don’t want to eat reheated, processed airport food, you can supplement. Look for a B complex with methylated folate.
Travel supplements for sleep support
This is of particular importance if you’re traveling to another time zone, but sleeping in unfamiliar places on an altered schedule can throw off your circadian rhythm. Some people take melatonin supplements for a rush of the sleep-inducing hormone, but the National Sleep Foundation warns that inappropriate dosage or timing can exacerbate sleep problems. The foundation instead recommends consuming melatonin-rich foods like tart cherries, bananas, and milk.
This mighty mineral performs 300+ functions in the body, including supporting the sleep-promoting transmitter GABA. Magnesium is known for its calming effect. You can find magnesium in many nuts and greens, but experts warn that these foods do not have the nutrient content they once did. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 50% of the US population is deficient in magnesium.
When evaluating magnesium supplements, do not let price be the major factor. The cheapest magnesium supplements are the least effective. Pricier forms of magnesium — like magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate — are much easier for the body to use. These forms may have a bit of a laxative effect, which can be welcome if you experience the common travel-induced digestive issues. If you don’t experience those problems, the laxative effect may not be too welcome when you’re trying to sleep. Magnesium L-Threonate is a unique type of magnesium specifically for absorption in the brain, and does not have the laxative effect.
Now this one depends on where you’re headed. If you’re going to Aruba and you aren’t totally slathered in sunblock from dawn til dusk, you’ll probably be getting more Vitamin D — the sunlight vitamin — than usual. If you’re headed home to Cleveland for a family Christmas, not so much. Research has shown Vitamin D to have a positive effect on sleep while depleted levels of Vitamin D can have the opposite effect. Sunlight is far and away the best source of Vitamin D since it enables your body to make it. Some foods, like milk, are fortified with Vitamin D. Supplements are easy to find with D3 known to be the most effective in raising Vitamin D levels.
Supplements for travel digestive support
It’s hard to eat your normal diet when traveling. And why would you want to? You’re experiencing a new environment; shouldn’t you experience the regional cuisine as well? It’s just hard to be as conscious of the micronutrients in exotic foods. Probiotics help ensure that your gut microbiota is rich and diverse, which can be helpful for supporting proper digestion when traveling. Yogurts and fermented foods — like kraut and kombucha — are cornucopias of probiotics. If you’re looking for supplements, you can always opt for non-refrigerated pills that you can take in your carry-on.