Last Update: July 10, 2023
Anything can happen when you travel. You’ll see sights that inspire you, meet people from other cultures, try foods that expand your palate — but the change in routine may also throw your health out of whack.
If you often find yourself feeling a little run-down, backed-up, or sleep-deprived while traveling, Parsley Health Senior Health Coach Erica Zellner has some advice. She shared her top vitamins and supplements for traveling, from probiotics to vitamin C to your own daily multivitamin.
“Traveling often involves changes in diet, water sources, and potentially even exposure to new bacteria and pathogens,” Zellner says. “These factors can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut, potentially leading to digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, or bloating.”
She recommends taking a probiotic while traveling to help balance your gut microbiome. “Probiotics are live bacteria that can help restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, promoting better digestion and reducing the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances,” Zellner explains.
But probiotics aren’t just good for digestion and gut health; they also support your immune system. “The majority of our immune system resides in the gut, and a healthy gut microbiome plays a crucial role in immune function,” Zellner explains. “When traveling, you may encounter new and unfamiliar germs, which can put stress on your immune system. Probiotics can help strengthen the immune response by supporting the gut’s natural defense mechanisms and enhancing the production of antibodies.”
Zeller says that thanks to the brain-gut connection, a daily probiotic may also help keep you feeling resilient during your travels. “By promoting a healthy gut microbiome, probiotics can reduce anxiety and support overall well-being while traveling, which can be particularly beneficial during stressful or unfamiliar situations,” she explains.
If you want an extra boost for your immune system to help ward off any travel bugs, Zeller suggests travelers consider adding an elderberry supplement into your daily routine and increasing vitamin C intake.
“Elderberry has been found to have immunomodulatory effects, meaning it can help regulate and balance the immune response,” Zellner explains. And vitamin C, as you likely know, is often considered the holy grail when it comes to immune support. “Vitamin C supports the production of antibodies, which are proteins produced by the immune system in response to the presence of specific pathogens,” Zellner explains. “It also boosts Natural Killer Cell activity, which plays a crucial role in the body’s innate immune response.” She does have one warning, though: “Too much vitamin C can cause loose stool, so that’s something to look out for!”
“Magnesium can play a role in supporting healthy sleep patterns and improving sleep quality, which can easily be disrupted by time zone changes and travel in general,” Zellner explains. “It also plays a role in the production and regulation of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and has muscle-relaxing properties, which can contribute to a more restful sleep.”
An added bonus of magnesium? Some types of magnesium may help to stimulate your digestion, which promotes a daily bowel movement (which can often be elusive while traveling).
If you’re currently taking a daily multivitamin, don’t skip any days due to your travel schedule. “Continuing your regular multivitamin while traveling can be very beneficial!” Zellner suggests. “Travel can expose you to new food and disrupt your normal eating patterns. Continuing your multivitamin ensures that your body’s nutritional basics are covered.”
Even if they’re not in liquid form, vitamins can still be tricky to pack while traveling. Here are some helpful things to consider:
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before changing your diet or healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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