How to Boost Your Immune System During Travel
Traveling can take you out of your time zone and comfort zone, which can be a refreshing change of pace. But traveling over long distances is not without the risk of psychological and physical stress. Health concerns such as upper respiratory illness, dehydration and traveler’s diarrhea are common with travel, especially over long-distance flights; however, if you’re prepared, you can lower this risk or at least have what you need to recover faster.
Here are the best vitamins and supplements to boost your immune system and keep you healthy while you travel.
You’re on vacation and it hits you — a nasty cold that is trying to take you out! You haven’t been sick all year long. Why does it happen now that you’ve decided to take that time away to rest and rejuvenate?
When you’re stressed and your body is locked in ‘flight or fight’ mode, your immune system is at its peak and you can fight off illness before they take hold — this is thanks to the stress hormone adrenaline. However, once you are finally on vacation, adrenaline reduces but the stress hormone cortisol remains high. Cortisol suppresses your immune system which makes you more prone to illness during times of stress.
Vitamin C can reduce the severity and duration of your cold so that you can get back to enjoying your vacation. However, it is most important to slow down, rest and not push yourself. Try not to pile too many excursions into your schedule as this can slow healing time.
Shop recommended Vitamin C supplements:
According to the GI Society, traveler’s diarrhea affects 20 to 50 percent of people traveling from industrialized to developing countries, and it is primarily caused by ingesting food contaminated by feces that contains pathogenic bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Sacchromyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast that prevents traveler’s diarrhea by reducing the colonization of the colon by pathogens. It has been used for over 30 years as a treatment of bacteria induced diarrhea such as clostridium difficile infection in hospitals. It is shelf-stable which makes it easy to pack as there is no need for refrigeration.
Shop recommended supplements with Saccharomyces Boulardii:
The humidity levels on most commercials airlines is reportedly 10 to 20 percent. The recirculating air on the plane can be drying to your skin and body. One of the best ways to do stay hydrated is to limit your consumption of alcohol and coffee and increase the consumption of water.
In addition to increasing your water intake, add in some electrolytes. When you sweat or drink beverages that increase your urine output such as alcohol and coffee, electrolytes are also lost which leads to dehydration. Electrolyte tablets such as Nuun will enhance your water with electrolytes magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium using clean, non-GMO ingredients. It is gluten and soy-free and bound to leave you feeling well-hydrated and ready for sightseeing and adventure after a long flight.
Shop recommended products with electrolytes:
If you are traveling to a destination at a higher elevation or plan to be ascending to a high elevation while skiing or hiking once you arrive to your destination, acute mountain sickness is a real risk. Acute mountain sickness or AMS is a condition that occurs above 8000 feet or 2,400 meters above sea level where there are lower levels of oxygen and decreased air pressure. Symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath and headache.
Ginkgo biloba has been shown in studies to prevent AMS when taken 24 hours prior to ascension in people with no previous experience with high altitudes. This Ginkgo biloba extract by Orange Naturals is a single herb formula in capsule that has the added benefit of improving blood circulation and cognitive functions.
Shop recommended Ginkgo Biloba supplements:
Magnesium is an essential mineral for many of your body’s biochemical processes and it is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in modern day societies. With travel, due to time changes and the consumption of a variety of new foods, your bowels may become a little sluggish which can lead to painful constipation.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer that can help relieve constipation. If you get anxious and tense about flying, magnesium may also be the solution for you. Magnesium can bring calm to your mind and put you in a state of relaxation by increasing GABA — a calming neurotransmitter in the brain and reducing cortisol, one of the primary stress hormones that contributes to feelings of anxiety.
Shop recommended Magnesium supplements:
Staying healthy during your long-haul flight and throughout your vacation can be a little tricky. However, if you are prepared with the appropriate tools and knowledge, you should be able to bounce back into vacation mode without skipping a beat. Bon voyage!