Best Supplements to Take When You Travel
Traveling should be fun. It’s a chance to see new places, reconnect with distant loved ones, and escape your normal routine for a little adventure. But the truth is that travel can also be hard on the body. The sudden disruption in your routine and exposure to new environments, new foods, and new time zones can create all kinds of challenges for your digestion, immunity, sleep, stress levels, and more.
Feeling unwell on your vacation is no fun, so it’s a good idea to give your body some extra nutritional support. Here are some tried-and-true supplements to pack on your next trip so you can stay well while you travel and make the most of your time away.
Travel often disrupts your normal sleep schedule. Between the crossing of time zones and the change in your daily habits while you’re on vacation, travel can easily mess with your circadian rhythms, throwing off your body’s natural sleep-and-wake cycle. Instead of feeling sleepy at night, you may find yourself lying awake in a strange bed, restless and distracted by your new surroundings, only to feel tired and cranky the next day.
If this sounds like you, then melatonin is a must. Melatonin is the hormone that your body naturally releases at night to prepare you for sleep. It’s normally triggered by your circadian rhythms, but if you are experiencing a circadian disruption, such as jet lag, your body may not produce enough on its own. That’s when a melatonin supplement can really help.
Studies show that melatonin can be remarkably effective at managing jet lag.1 Many travelers take melatonin to help them sleep on a nighttime flight or to adjust to a different time zone during and after a trip. Keeping your circadian rhythms on track not only helps you sleep, it also supports your immunity, energy, metabolism, and mood, providing a more graceful traveling experience.
When you travel to new places, you may be exposing yourself to a whole new range of microbes that your body doesn’t normally encounter from different foods, people, and environments. This can present a challenge for your digestive health as well as your immunity. Digestive challenges such as traveler’s diarrhea and constipation are common experiences for travelers.
Your first line of defense against unwanted microbes is, in fact, your own gut microbes. These friendly bacteria play a huge role in your digestive health and your immune health, helping to maintain normal gut function and keep unwanted microbes in check. Taking probiotics can support these natural defenses by helping you maintain a healthy population of friendly bacteria in the gut.
Studies have shown that probiotics can help protect against traveler's diarrhea2 and support regularity3 as well as immune response.4 For best results, start taking probiotics a couple weeks before you travel to allow the new friendly bacteria time to get established in your gut. Our Probiotic supplement is shelf-stable and does not need to be refrigerated, making it a great option for traveling.
Healthy habits tend to get looser when you’re on vacation. You’re likely to sleep less, drink more, eat less carefully, and push your body further than usual. All of these things can weaken your immune system. At the same time, traveling exposes you to a wider range of potential immune threats. Planes and airports are notoriously easy places to catch whatever might be going around.
That’s the last thing you need on your trip, so it’s a good idea to give your immune system some extra support. One natural supplement that’s been getting great buzz lately is elderberry, a small but mighty berry packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamins to support your immune system. Studies have shown it can help protect upper respiratory health5 and support immunity for air travelers.6
Our Elderberry Gummies are certified organic and delicious, making them an easy choice for daily immune reinforcement. They also include vitamin C and zinc for well-rounded immune support.
Magnesium is one of the most frequently recommended supplements that travelers swear by, because it has so many benefits. This multitasking nutrient does hundreds of things in the body, from supporting healthy muscle function to calming the nerves and supporting good sleep. Nearly half of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diets,7 so a supplement is a good way to help fill the gap.
Travel can be stressful, with airport frustrations, packed schedules, and family members getting on each other’s nerves. Magnesium is good for managing stress and helping you relax.8 It also supports muscle function and helps reduce physical tension and muscle soreness at the end of a long day.9
Our Magnesium supplement delivers 200 mg of magnesium glycinate, an easily absorbable form of magnesium that’s known for its calming benefits and doesn’t have the laxative effect that some other forms have. It also includes organic veggies and seeds that contain naturally-occurring magnesium in whole food form.
The key to a great vacation is feeling good, so remember to take good care of yourself while you travel. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, pack some earplugs, and take your supplements, so you’ll have the best chance of staying healthy and enjoying your trip to the fullest.
1. Herxheimer A, Petrie KJ. Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(2):CD001520. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001520. PMID: 12076414.
2. McFarland LV. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2007 Mar;5(2):97-105. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2005.10.003. Epub 2005 Dec 5. PMID: 17298915.
3. Eirini Dimidi, Stephanos Christodoulides, Konstantinos C Fragkos, S Mark Scott, Kevin Whelan, The effect of probiotics on functional constipation in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 100, Issue 4, October 2014, Pages 1075–1084, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.089151
4. Yan, Fang, and D B Polk. “Probiotics and immune health.” Current opinion in gastroenterology vol. 27,6 (2011): 496-501. doi:10.1097/MOG.0b013e32834baa4d
5. Hawkins, Jessie, et al. “Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 42, February 2019, Pages 361-365.
6. Tiralongo, Evelin et al. “Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Nutrients vol. 8,4 182. 24 Mar. 2016, doi:10.3390/nu8040182
7. Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. “Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated?” Nutr Rev. 2012 Mar;70(3):153-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x. Epub 2012 Feb 15. PMID: 22364157.
8. Boyle, Neil Bernard et al. “The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review.” Nutrients vol. 9,5 429. 26 Apr. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9050429
9. Reno AM, Green M, Killen LG, OʼNeal EK, Pritchett K, Hanson Z. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Muscle Soreness and Performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Oct 1. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003827. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33009349.