You might have a certain supplement routine that keeps you feeling your best on a day to day basis, but when your usual schedule is disrupted, your brain and body really need that extra boost. Unless your next trip is to a wellness retreat (and if it is, can we join?), there’s a good chance that you ditch some of your healthy habits when you arrive at your destination. After all, travel is all about letting loose and escaping your normal life for a while, so we often end up telling ourselves that we’ll get back on track when we get home to make up for the cocktails by the pool, the late nights out on pub crawls, and all of the salads we’ve eschewed in favor of pastries and other goodies that just don’t taste the same back home.
Unfortunately, this mindset can leave us feeling under the weather when we really want to be feeling our best. Don’t worry, you don’t need to bring an entire pharmacy along in your backpack, but a few choice supplements with specific benefits definitely deserve a spot on our packing lists.
1. Vitamin C
Sure, you might pop some extra Vitamin C during cold and flu season, but did you know that traveling always puts your immune system to the test, no matter what time of year it is? Airplanes, trains, busses, and hostels can be hotbeds for germs, and indulging in local treats, staying up late, and reveling in the nightlife can leave you worn down and susceptible to illness. Give your immune system some extra prep by taking Vitamin C regularly before your trip, and stick with that routine until you get home—this can reduce the severity and duration of a cold. If you don’t start taking it until you’re already coughing and reaching for your travel pack of Kleenex, it’s not going to be as effective.
2. Vitamin D
If you’re traveling to a sunny, beachside destination, you’ll probably soak up more than enough Vitamin D just by stepping outside, but if you’re headed somewhere cold and gray, this supplement is a must-have. Vitamin D isn’t just a vitamin—it’s actually a hormone that has a powerful mood-boosting effect, and a Vitamin D deficiency can leave you feeling lethargic, anxious, and unhappy. If you’re backpacking through Europe in the off season or spending some time close to the Arctic circle, you don’t want your mood to match the weather. Bringing Vitamin D along as your trusty travel companion can help you ward off a case of the blues and enjoy your trip.
Melatonin, also known as “the sleep hormone,” keeps our circadian rhythm humming along, and it’s the hormone responsible for the drowsy feeling we get before going to bed each night. If you’re traveling overseas, there’s no escaping the symptoms of jet lag, but melatonin can help you get your sleep schedule back on track. Keep some melatonin within reach during your red-eye flight to help you doze off so that you arrive feeling well rested. Be careful with your dosage—taking too much can make you feel pretty groggy when you wake up, and it can also cause strange dreams.
Even the most experienced jet setters experience stress while traveling. There’s the physical stress on your body that comes with crossing time zones, encountering foreign germs, and walking around new cities all day. Plus, you’ve got to navigate unfamiliar areas, figure out public transportation, menus, and signs in foreign languages, and keep track of your itinerary. A laid-back vacation can be relaxing, but a longer trip with a packed schedule can require a lot of effort to pull off. That’s where magnesium comes in. Many of us are deficient in this miracle mineral, which is super effective for soothing the nervous system and reducing symptoms of stress like headaches, trouble sleeping, and anxiety. It’s also crucial for hormone regulation. Keep a cool head while trekking across borders with a little help from magnesium.
No one wants to deal with bloating, queasiness, and digestive issues on the road. If you want to try new foods without feeling your stomach grumble in protest, make sure your gut is in good shape with a little extra help from a probiotic. Not all probiotics are created equal, so it’s best to ask your doctor or do some independent research to figure out which probiotic will work for you. Be sure to choose a probiotic supplement that does not need to be refrigerated so that it won’t lose its effectiveness if you can stash it in your carry on.
Do you have a supplement you swear by while traveling?
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