It's no secret I love to travel. But with a background in Nutritional Medicine, I cannot help but consider what I put into my mouth, including supplements that may benefit me from time to time. When I travel, it's highly likely I'm eating different foods (especially when out of Australia), drinking more red wine than usual, sleeping differently, and in different time zones, and then of course with exchange rates and not knowing whether or not you will be able to find certain things shall you require them, half my luggage is usually supplement bottles.
Now everyone is different in what they may be taking regularly, and again whilst travelling. But I have been asked more than a few times this week alone, what my recommendations are for supplements when travelling. So I thought why not curate a list for you.
Bear in mind that a holiday to Vietnam may warrant a very different list of supplements than a holiday to Los Angeles, where you will find everything, and often better quality than that in Oz.
Nevertheless, here's my list and reasons why.
Ensuring you have healthy gut flora is pivotal to keeping your digestion happy, thus your moods happy, and it also means your immune system is stronger than if you were not taking them, as most of our immune system is actually in our gut. It also prevent the likelihood of travellers diarrhoea. Airplanes are notorious for picking up a cough or a cold due to poor air circulation, extreme air conditioning, and the confined space with so many people - who's health you don't know about.
Take one daily before brekkie, and consider bumping it up to two (at once, or split up over the day) when flying. Look for one with multiple strains, and preferably over 25 billion.
The god send of all supplements should you need it. I've got this with me now, but it's a must for anyone travelling to Asia in my opinion. Better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. If you get food poisoning, drink too much alcohol, or eat a meal and have a knowing "there was something funny in that" but perhaps not enough to elicit throwing up for you, these are all times you wanna take a few caps. I got a stomach bug in Thailand a couple of years ago, was sick as a dog, and could only stomach water for 2 days. I finished an entire bottle of activated charcoal on that trip!
The reason it works so well is that it essentially binds to anything nasty in your gut, and takes it on out when you go to the toilet, instead of circulating thorough your blood.
Take as needed. Best brands are made from coconut. Bulletproof is a brand I love.
If you have a sensitive tummy, these might become your best friend as we tend to eat foods different to how we eat when at home, and our tummy may not always be so prepared for them. I find I only need them when I might be eating food that isn't the best quality, more than when I'm specifically eating gluten or dairy (in Europe at least - due to their processing methods being far superior to back home). These will assist digestion of the foods you are eating, and therefore alleviate bloating and cramps if you were to get them without enzymes.
Depending on brands, take either before, with, or after your meals. Easily available at all pharmacies and health food stores globally.
Another immune system helper, but vitamin C is also beneficial for our skin health which can get a beating whilst travelling (I know mine has). It's beneficial for wound healing (hormonal acne or a tad too sun kissed perhaps?), inflammation and keeping our immunity strong.
Take in powder or capsules. Daily dose minimum 2000mg I recommend. Double this prior to flying.
A God send! I find that people taking magnesium swear y it and cannot live without it. And people yet to start taking it don't know what they are missing out on. Most of the Western population are deficient and magnesium is one of the top 5 most abundant minerals in our body so we need sufficient supply. It is also used in so many processes, including our energy cycle, that deficiency can mean we're anxious, restless, have trouble sleeping, have trouble pooping, get moody... all the stuff that can crop up more whilst travelling.
Take a minimum of 300mg daily. Available at all pharmacies, health food stores, and some supermarkets.
Now this may not be a 'supplement' per se, and this is definatley something you can buy wherever you are, but this stuff is useful for so many things I cant believe it took me a few weeks to buy a jar over here in Europe. Use as a cooking oil, for oil pulling to make sure your oral hygiene is on point, as a body moisturiser when in the sun and surf everyday, as a deep conditioning hair treatment for the same reason... to make home made chocolates, add to oats and other meals, and to top up your fat intake if you're someone who likes a higher fat diet.
Use as you like. Also great to add to carby-meals to balance blood sugar levels post eating if you're not one to eat a lot of carbs usually, but eat more on holidays.
This is something that I don't take regularly, but when you haven't slept properly and need a good sleep, or when you're on an overnight flight and if like me, can never sleep on a flight, melatonin is like crack cocaine in those instances (Disclaimer: I'm only assuming).
Take as directed on the bottle. My favourite if from Premier Research Labs in the US as it's a fermented liquid version and works a treat.
Turmeric and Cinnamon
I travel with these as spices not in capsules for a few reasons. Firstly, I'm obsessed with cinnamon and want it on everything. We cook a lot in our apartments instead of eating out so much so having a few staples that don't weigh a tonne are great. We add cinnamon to oats, bulletproof coffee, buttered toast, protein shakes, or yoghurt (it's excellent blood sugar stabiliser as well). And turmeric we eat daily on sauteed veggies, roasted veggies, in scrambled eggs... Both of these are highly anti-inflammatory as well being antioxidants which protect us from free radicals (being pollution, flying, excess sun[burn] and more).
Use wherever and however you please!
And last but not least...
If you're a fan of Traditional Chinese Medicine you may have heard of this one. It's from Dragon Herbs which is my favourite line of Chinese Herbals ever! To be honest though, I have only recently been taking this as we got it over in the US (but you can purchase it online) and with a history of chronic fatigue, something like this covers everything! I know people who love this and travel with nothing else it's that good. It helps support immune functions, is an adaptogenic herbal formulation which combines to build the body's and mind's ability to resist stress and overcome challenges both short and long term... Now tell me that doesn't scream TRAVEL SUPPLEMENT?!?
Take as you wish! The bottle says 3-12 squirts a day! It's also excellent in alcohol as alcohol is used as the driving force to get these herbs into your blood stream pronto ~ the reason why any herb is absorbed better with alcohol, so where you can, pimp your grog!