My Top 6 Must-Have Travel Supplements!
Pack your bag and Armor Up!
Summer time is here and it is a great time to travel abroad and explore new parts of the world! I am blessed and grateful to be able to plan out about one international trip a year (so far) and I immensely enjoy the expansive and adventurous quality of any excursion. However - Staying gut-healthy while trying new food, feeling energized when mixing up circadian rhythms, and staying flexible while cooped up during transportation can prove to be quite tricky!
Working in a functional medicine clinic, I can’t tell you how many people come in after a trip experiencing severe abdominal pain, overloaded with parasites, coughing up a lung, and feeling like a train hit them. For me, this is where the beauty of supplementation and prevention really comes in to play. Now, I am the biggest proponent of lifestyle and diet over supplementation alone, but sometimes the extra assistance is a total life saver. Also, with the increased stress on the body during travel plus the exceeding amount of pollution and toxicity in our environment, who doesn’t need the support?
Along with implementing common sense practices such as avoiding tap water and produce rinsed in tap water, washing your hands frequently, and eating thoroughly cooked food from reputable looking places - here are my top 6 travel supplements!
This list is compiled with my most recent and upcoming trips to South East Asia (the Philippines, Thailand, and Bali to be precise). Although I feel it is applicable to most terrains and situations, I imagine my list would slightly change if I was going to to different parts of the world.
1) Antimicrobials/parasitics for Infectious Prevention: From undercooked food to contaminated water to that one dude who didn’t wash his hands while making your meal - microbes exist. Everywhere. And while it isn’t logical or even smart to over-sterilize yourself, having a strong and natural anti-microbial as backup is a smart move. My favorite is Microbinate and it is an impressive formula containing extracts of oregano, olive leaf, monolaurin from coconut oil, garlic, and turmeric, all of which are traditional, natural, and science backed protection against viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
Another must have for me, especially in South East Asia, is some type of parasite prevention remedy. I like Paragard from Integrative Therapeutics which includes berberine, gentian, goldenseal, garlic, and wormwood - a great formula to stop parasites and their eggs before any damage can be done!
Extra Credit: Hydrochloric acid is the human body’s first defense against pathogens. The acidity of our stomachs is of utmost importance, ranging from about a 1.3 - 3 in pH. Many people suffer from low stomach acid/alkalinity due to stress, eating too quickly, poor food choices, antacids, and so on. Taking a few tablets of HCl while traveling or even beforehand to optimize the pH is another great preventative strategy and helps with overall digestion. Hydrozyme by Biotics is good one!
2) Probiotic : We should all know by now the importance and function of probiotics for enhancing the immune system defenses and overall health! Kill the bad bugs and replenish the good. Choose a travel capable probiotic vs. one that needs to be refrigerated and load up on probiotic rich foods while traveling.
3) Activated Charcoal: This really should be in everyones medicine cabinet. Activated charcoal binds with toxins in the gut, preventing them from being absorbed. It’s great for that night of adventurous but questionable street food eating and one too many cocktails.
4) Adaptogens and Magnesium: Magnesium has hundreds of functions in the body from relaxing muscles to regulating blood sugar - and most people are severely deficient. I take magnesium just about every night so I usually bring it along to assist with sleep and relaxation. Many people would suggest melatonin, but it’s not something that I personally sit well with. I lean towards taking magnesium as well as adaptogens, which are a class of herbs that help the body regulate and adapt to stress.
5) Multi-Vitamin/Multi-mineral: Choosing a high quality multi ensures that the basics are being met and immune systems can flourish! Make sure yours meets recommended doses for Vitamin C and all the B’s. My favorite is EMPower plus.
6) Iodine: Ok this one is sort of a specialty category. Iodine is an essential micro-mineral, especially for the thyroid, and can actually help mitigate the effects of radiation from flying (as well as regulate hormones and metabolism)! It has also been studied and used as a natural typhoid treatment and prevention remedy (1). Add a few drops in water and you can potentially block the dangerous bacteria that is the source of typhoid fever from infiltrating. Lugol’s Iodine is a well formulated supplement that is recommended across the board. Speak with a doctor or functional medicine practitioner before adding iodine to your regimen, as it has powerful effects on the thyroid and whole body.
Extra Credit: NAC, or N-Acetyl Cysteine is the precursor for glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants available. Taking NAC is great for the gut, lungs, liver and so on, so it can also be a great support during the oxidative stress of travel. Colloidal silver is the last thing I’ll mention, as it’s an all around bad bug killer and necessary addition to the holistic medicine cabinet.
So, there you have it! Even having a few of these on board can prevent a slew of issues from rooting in your internal terrain and, in my book, it is way better to be safe than sorry. Many people travel without the extra support and have no issue, but just as many or more have also picked up life long issues that can wreak havoc down the line. Herbs, minerals, and nutrients from the earth have supported humans for ages, so why not tap into the resources available and have the health you need to experience travel wellness!
Confused about which supplements might be right for you? I work with quite the apothecary and love setting people up with protocols that compliment nutritional therapy and work for them. Reach out for a discovery session to see if my services might be right for you! I can also recommend and send you supplements right from the inventory!
Happy, healthy travels!