When I was in school for nutrition, I walked around with a suitcase full of supplements. It’s amazing how learning about vitamins and minerals can have the unfortunate side effect of making you a hypochondriac!
However, travel can add some additional stress on your body. Both in a fun way (why yes, I will have another glass of wine!) and in a not so fun way (does the woman with the face mask on the plane know something I don’t?). In order to help my body manage these stressors I support it with a few extra supplements. Each of the headers are a link to the specific brands that I use.
N-Acetyl Cysteine – NAC is a pre-cursor to glutathione, which is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants in your body. It also helps support the liver and is a great addition when you are planning on having alcohol. I take this as part of my normal supplement program as a part of my fish oil combo. However, when I travel I increase the dosage to give my body a little extra defense.
B-complex – There are 8 essential B vitamins and they all play important roles in your overall health. In this context, they are a great support support your adrenal system (the part of your body that handles stress) and can give you a little boost of energy. I take this during travel to help with jet-lag and the adjustment to time change.
Probiotics – probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that helps your body both digest and absorb nutrients. As long as you are taking care of your digestive track (i.e. getting in a lot of prebiotics through fruits, vegetables, etc.) and aren’t treating any specific digestive issues, I don’t think that you need to supplement with probiotics all the time. However, when I travel I do like to give my digestive track a little extra support. Look for a probiotic that has L. rhamnosus, as that is the strain that is typically associated with protecting you from traveler’s diarrhea.
Magnesium – a calcium/magnesium complex is a part of my normal supplement routine but I bring extra with me when I am going on longer trips. Magnesium is a relaxer so when taken before bed it can help with the quality of your sleep, which is helpful when adjusting to a time change. It can also help with bowel movements. So if you ever struggle with constipation when you travel I HIGHLY recommend you pack some magnesium. (side note: when I use the brand that I linked to, I take half the dose. ~500mg is a good starting point for magnesium and then you can work your way up if you need it.)
Activated Charcoal – activated charcoal helps bind to bad bacteria and transport it out of your body. It is really helpful if you eat something that doesn’t sit right in your stomach. It can help prevent or even lessen the duration of sour stomach or even food poisoning. It is my hope that I don’t need to take this but I always pack it just in case.
To be clear, this is what I add on longer trips where I am crossing multiple time zones. I also want to give my body a little extra love because in true American style I over scheduled myself both before and after my vacation! When will I learn?