Even when you do your best to eat clean and get your eight hours of shut-eye, travel can still be very hard on the body.
You might have painful sinuses, an aching stomach and nagging jet lag from multiple days of travel on top of 10-hour workdays.
While there’s no magic cure-all for the fatigue, colds and stomach trouble brought on by travel, you can try a few targeted supplements to give you — and your body — a fighting chance.
Probiotics for Digestive Health
The current darling of the supplement aisle, probiotics are more than just hype. To keep your intestinal flora balanced and your immune system functioning optimally, you must get daily sources of probiotics.
Eating fermented foods like kimchi and kefir is best, but may not fit well into an on-the-go diet. Taking a daily probiotic provides you with a consistent source of good bacteria that your body needs to fight off illness. Probiotics can also be extremely helpful in fighting the constipation and bloat brought on by travel.
The best probiotics are kept refrigerated, but even if your room doesn’t have a mini-fridge, you’ll still receive benefits from a shelf-stable variety. Probiotics often do their best work when taken with food — check your brand’s directions to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Vitamin B Complex for Immunity
B vitamins aren’t just a catalyst for energy, metabolism and iron absorption. They are also extremely vital antioxidants for a strong immune system. A good-quality multivitamin taken on — and off — the road should be enough.
If remembering to take a pill every day isn’t your strong suit, pack a B complex for your trip. This is especially true if you tend to hit happy hour more often when traveling, as alcohol consumption can decrease your absorption of some B vitamins.
Zinc for Preventing the Common Cold
When you feel the first sniffles coming on — or have to shake hands with someone already infected — reach for a zinc lozenge. A meta-analysis of studies on zinc and the common cold found zinc to be an effective treatment if started within 24 hours of exposure.
Keep a package of lozenges in your carry-on or laptop bag to make sure you’re always prepared.
Magnesium for a Good Night’s Rest
It’s hard to fall asleep sometimes in an unfamiliar bed or when your body clock is off by a few time zones. Magnesium is a fantastic, calming mineral that can be safely tolerated by most people. It can be taken either in capsule form or as a powder dissolved in water or your evening cup of chamomile tea.
Magnesium also has a laxative effect. While this can be helpful for travel-related constipation, be careful incurring the opposite problem. Take care not to exceed the upper limit of 350 milligrams from a supplement.
While these are all over-the-counter products, be sure to always consult a health care professional before adding a supplement to your routine. During your next physical, make sure these supplements are appropriate for you, plus check on your immunizations — they’re another must for the frequent traveler.