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5 Indispensable Travel Supplements & Essentials for 2018

Do you take a set of essential travel supplements with you when you go on trips abroad, or to other states? If not, perhaps it’s time to consider doing so. According to the International Travel Health Guide, up to 65% of travellers to ‘less-developed’ countries will report some kind of illness during their trip. The most common are diarrhoea, skin problems, and chest infections.[1]

Other important factors that can affect your trip are: getting enough sleep and beating travel-related stress. So, what are the best supplements for travel this year? In this article, we explore six supplement-types that are simply indispensable to the modern traveller in 2018.

top-travel-supplements-for-2018

Background

Most people love to travel. Travel enhances the experience of life, it makes the mind more open, and it allows for a host of new experiences and sensations, on which we thrive! Although it might sound contradictory at first, travelling ultimately brings us all closer. Maya Angelou explains this beautifully:

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."

Perhaps this is why people spend so much time planning, saving, and working to be able to travel - so that we can experience new and exciting places, to feel closer to people from different cultures, and, ultimately, closer to ourselves.

This is why we've compiled a list of our essential travel supplements to help the weary traveller or adventurous globetrotter enjoy the travel experience with fewer hassles due to stress and sleeplessness. Natural supplements are great alternatives to side-effect heavy OTC pills for stress, sleeplessness, and other travel-related issues.

adventure-supplements-for-globetrotters

 

5 Indispensable Travel Supplements and Essentials for 2018

 

1. Sleep Enhancers to promote healthy rest and reduce jet-lag. 

 

One of the most important aspects of travelling is sleep. Long flights, bus rides, train journeys, and the excitement (or stress) of being in a new place all negatively impact your sleep, which has negative consequences on health. To improve sleep quality during travel, we recommend these two supplements.

melatonin from liftmodeMelatonin:  The body’s natural ‘sleep-hormone’, Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a small almond-shaped gland located in the centre of the brain. Melatonin helps to regulate the circadian rhythm and gets the body ready for sleep. When taken as a dietary supplement, it is an excellent natural sleep aid.[2] Importantly, studies have suggested that Melatonin can be taken prior to flying to prevent and reduce feelings of jet-lag, and is definitely one of the top travel supplements. [3]

 

Oleamide: Another natural compound produced in the brain to help bring about sleep, Oleamide concentrations have been found to multiply after just a few hours of sleep deprivation. Oleamide is a great supplement to help reduce the time taken to fall asleep. It may also help to boost your appetite. [4]

 

2.     Adaptogens to help the body cope with changes in the environment.

 

An ‘adaptogen’ is a natural substance that can help the body to better cope with stress and changes in the environment. The concept was originally used to describe substances and practices that could help to increase cellular and physiological resistance to stress. It’s easy to understand why these are important when travelling.

rhodiola-rosea-extractRhodiola Rosea: A herbal extract used for hundreds of years in the Arctic regions as a vitality-enhancing remedy and to increase the body’s ability to cope with cold temperatures. Studies have indicated that the active components (rosavins and salidroside) in Rhodiola Rosea extract help the body to better adapt to changes in the environment and to ward off both mental & physical fatigue. [5] Ginseng: Ginseng is a very well-known dietary supplement, most often used to promote vitality and support a healthy libido. Ginseng is often considered to be a ‘superfood’ because of its numerous health benefits. Apart from supporting a healthy mood and circulatory system, Ginseng is also a powerful adaptogen, helping your body resist the effects of travel-related stress, making it one of our favorite travel supplements.[6]

 

3.     Immune Support to protect against new strains of bacteria and viruses.

 

When travelling to new places, we encounter a variety of bacteria and viruses that our immune system may not be fully adapted to. The immune system is highly complex and consists of both innate and adaptive immunity. In terms of your adaptive immunity, long-term exposure to different strains and species of bacteria and viruses means stronger antibodies and fewer chances of infection.[7]

However, when we travel, our immune systems are exposed to strains of pathogens that they previously hadn’t encountered, which means that our adaptive immunity may not be effective against them. For this reason, it is important to carry immune-support supplements with you. Prevention is better than cure, and strengthening your immune system is much healthier than taking antibiotics when you get sick.

 

baicalin-50-grams-liftmode

Baicalin: The active phytochemical in Chinese Skullcap, Baicalin has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for many centuries as a tonic to promote health and vitality. It is best-known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Recent research has pointed to Baicalin’s potent ability to support a healthy immune system.[8] In future, it may be developed further for anti-bacterial and/or antiviral purposes.[9] [10]

 

Green Tea Extract: Green Tea Extract contains a high concentration of flavonoids, catechins, and polyphenols, and – most importantly – one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds: EGCG. These compounds help to support a healthy immune system by destroying harmful free-radicals and reducing chronic inflammation.[11] Green Tea Extract has unmatched antioxidant effects, and recent research has pointed to its potent ability to support and strengthen the human immune system. [12]

 

4.     Support for the Stomach to protect against getting traveller's stomach.

 

Prevention is always better than cure, but sometimes a cure is unavoidable and essential. This is especially true when travelling. One of the best things about travelling is trying new and exciting foods from different parts of the world. Unfortunately, these don’t always sit well in the stomach. In some areas of the world, poor hygiene standards in street food stores make getting an upset stomach part of the adventure.

gut-flora-and-charcoal-concept

 

Activated Charcoal: Named in the World Health Organization’s list of Essential Medicines, activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) is an indispensable travel supplement and should be in every globetrotter’s medical bag.[13] It is typically used to treat food poisoning. To be effective, it should be taken within an hour or two of eating suspect food. As the first response to stomach issues, activated charcoal is an essential travel supplement.

Biotic Supplements: The bacteria in your gut are incredibly important for supporting a healthy body. Recent studies have confirmed the importance of the trillions of bacteria living inside your gut – as a means of preventing chronic diseases[14], supporting a healthy metabolism[15], and even in regulating mood and behaviour[16].

It’s important to support your gut bacteria when travelling, as this may help protect you from bacterial stomach infections that cause diarrhoea [17], and will also keep you feeling strong and healthy. Biotic supplements include prebiotics (‘feed’ for bacteria), probiotics (live bacterial strains), and synbiotics (a combination of both).

 

5.     Stress-Reducers to deal with the stress of travelling.

 

We may not like to admit it, but let’s face it, travelling can be immensely stressful at times. This is all part of the adventure, but it can seriously bring down your mood. Things go wrong when you travel. This is just a part of it all – immersing yourself in a different culture means things just won’t always go according to plan. Not to mention the stress of travel plans, getting to your destination on time, and all the paperwork that goes along with it. We recommend these supplements to reduce the stress of travelling:

businessman stressed from travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L-Theanine: An active amino acid that is found in several species of mushrooms and tea, L-Theanine has significant benefits in reducing stress. For example, a 2004 study compared L-Theanine to commonly prescribed anxiolytic compound and found that L-Theanine produced favourable effects on stress reduction and mood improvements.[18] L-Theanine improves alpha-brainwave activity, which is associated with a relaxed mood and an alert mental state, and ranks with top travel supplements for this year.[19]

 

Slow-Release Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential chemical element involved (as a cofactor) in over 300 enzyme systems in the body. These include enzymes involved in protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is also required for energy production and a healthy metabolism.[20] It is a great addition to your travel medical kit, simply because of its importance in supporting a healthy body. Recent research suggests that Magnesium may also be effective in reducing feelings of stress and promoting a healthy mood.[21]

Conclusion - Top Travel Supplements for 2018

Given the ease of travelling these days, whether for work or leisure, it’s important that we make use of easily available supplements to improve this experience and support a healthy body. Our list of top supplements for travel can be easily purchased online at a very affordable price, especially given the importance of their benefits.

We recommend the following set of six travel supplements for the modern nomad.

  • Sleep enhancers to promote healthy rest and mitigate the symptoms of jet-lag: Melatonin and Oleamide.
  • Adaptogens to help the body cope with stress and environmental changes: Rhodiola Rosea extract and Ginseng.
  • Immune support supplements to strengthen the active immune system, both before and during travel: Baicalin and Green Tea Extract
  • Stomach support supplements to prevent getting sick from new strains of bacteria or poor hygiene standards abroad: Activated carbon and Biotic supplements.
  • Stress-reducing supplements to help mitigate travel-related stress and to promote a healthy mood: L-Theanine and slow-release Magnesium.

 

So, make sure to pack these essential travel supplements in your bag on your next trip! We’re certain you’ll notice the benefits and you won’t think twice about keeping these on hand every time you travel in future.

top-travel-supplements-airplane-concept

 

References:

 

[1]Health Guide Chapter 1: Overview of Traveller’s Health” by Dr. Stuart Rose, MD and Jay S. Keystone, MD with assistance from Peter Hackett, MD, Travel Medicine, available online from  https://www.travmed.com/pages/health-guide-chapter-1-overview-of-travelers-health

[2] Ferracioli-Oda E1, Qawasmi A, Bloch MH. “Meta-analysis: melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders.” PLoS One. 2013 May 17;8(5):e63773.

[3] Herxheimer A, Petrie KJ. “Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(2):CD001520.

[4] Boger DL, Henriksen SJ, Cravatt BF. “Oleamide: an endogenous sleep-inducing lipid and prototypical member of a new class of biological signaling molecules.” Curr Pharm Des. 1998 Aug;4(4):303-14.

[5] Ishaque S, Shamseer L, Bukutu C, Vohra S. “Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review.BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;12:70. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-70.

[6]Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition: Chapter 8 - Biological Activities of Ginseng and Its Application to Human Health.” Jae Joon Wee, Kyeong Mee Park, and An-Sik Chung. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.

[7]Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition: Chapter 24 - The Adaptive Immune System” Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al. New York: Garland Science; 2002.

[8] Lee W, Ku SK, Bae JS. “Anti-inflammatory effects of Baicalin, Baicalein, and Wogonin in vitro and in vivo.” Inflammation. 2015 Feb;38(1):110-25

[9] Luo J, Dong B, Wang K, et al. “Baicalin inhibits biofilm formation, attenuates the quorum sensing-controlled virulence and enhances Pseudomonas aeruginosa clearance in a mouse peritoneal implant infection model.” Seleem MN, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(4):e0176883.

[10] Moghaddam E, Teoh B-T, Sam S-S, et al. “Baicalin, a metabolite of baicalein with antiviral activity against dengue virus.” Scientific Reports. 2014;4:5452.

[11] Chacko SM, Thambi PT, Kuttan R, Nishigaki I. “Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review.” Chinese Medicine. 2010;5:13.

[12] SUZUKI Y, MIYOSHI N, ISEMURA M. “Health-promoting effects of green tea.” SEKIYA T, ed. Proceedings of the Japan Academy Series B, Physical and Biological Sciences. 2012;88(3):88-101.

[13]WHO Model List of Essential Medicines” 18th list (April 2013) (Final Amendments – October 2013), World Health Organization (2013). available online from  www.who.int/medicines/publications/essentialmedicines/18th_EML.pdf

[14] Baohong W, Mingfei Y, Longxian Lv., Zongxin L, Lanjuan L. “The Human Microbiota in Health and DiseaseEngineering, Volume 3, Issue 1, February 2017, Pages 71-82

[15] Cani PD, Delzenne NM. “The role of the gut microbiota in energy metabolism and metabolic disease.” Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(13):1546-58.

[16] S.Van Hemert et al. “The role of the gut microbiota in mood and behaviour. Whether psychobiotics can become an alternative in therapy in psychiatry?European Psychiatry,

Volume 33, Supplement, March 2016, Page S26.

[17] Vogt SL, Finlay BB. “Gut microbiota-mediated protection against diarrheal infections.” J Travel Med. 2017 Apr 1;24(suppl_1):S39-S43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28520994

[18] Lu K, et al. “The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans.”, Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Oct;19(7):457-65

[19] Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN. “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.” Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-8.

[20]Magnesium.” Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, available online from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

[21] Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. “The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review.” Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429.