5 Must-Have Supplements for Travel

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien Blog, Health Leave a Comment

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Do you love to travel? I sure do, whether it be for a longer trip abroad or simply exploring all there is to offer in the Kootenay mountain region where I live.  

As much as I love exploring on-the-go, there’s something special about taking a few weeks to stay in one area.  I love being able to envision what it would be like to live there, and I also appreciate feeling less rushed as I explore.  I’ve been spending the past few weeks in Venice, California doing exactly that, although even with an extended stay I’m only scratching the surface of all there is to do here!  

Since I’m always looking to maximize my time and to pack in all there is to do on my travels, I want to feel as energized and healthy as possible while I’m at my destination.

Supplements for Travel

As a naturopathic doctor I’m known to pack along a small bundle of supplements to help me to feel my best without weighing down my suitcase.  Today I’m sharing my top 5 supplements for travel, which I hope will help you as you jet set or road trip to your next travel destination! Please note these supplements may not be appropriate for everyone, and that you should check with your naturopathic doctor as to whether these suggestions are safe and indicated for you.


5 Must-Have Supplements for Travel


  1. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of my favourite all-around supplements, and I prescribe it to patients regularly in my naturopathic practice.  Magnesium deficiency is common, and can lead to symptoms including muscle cramps, anxiety, high blood pressure and constipation (to name only a few!).  

Magnesium is also one of the most important supplements for travel, here’s a few key ways in which it shines!

  1. Magnesium improves sleep and calms your nervous system
    A new bed, changing time-zones, and all of the excitement that comes along with travel can leave you staring at the ceiling at night, unable to fall asleep.  Magnesium is one of the simplest supplements for travel that can help you both fall and stay asleep more easily. Unlike melatonin or sleep-inducing herbs, which directly promote sleep, magnesium simply helps to relax your muscles and calm your nervous system.  This makes it a gentle, safe and non-habit forming option to help you drift off to sleep!
  2. Magnesium helps to ease tight muscles from long car rides or air travel
    Magnesium helps to promote muscle relaxation, and it can be a great remedy if you experience tight muscles, cramps or twitching.
  3. Magnesium can be used to help maintain normal bowel regularity while traveling
    Constipation occurs for many people when traveling because of dehydration, eating on-the-go, and simply being out of routine.  Magnesium gently helps to draw water into the colon, which promotes bowel regularity and helps to keep things moving while you’re on the road.

There are several varieties of magnesium, and my favourite is magnesium bisglycinate because it’s best absorbed along with being the most calming for your nervous system.  Make sure to check with your naturopathic doctor as to which form and dosage is most appropriate for you.

Supplements for Travel: Yellow Van

2. Digestive Enzymes

When traveling, you’ll likely find yourself dining out more often and exploring the local cuisine.  This is one of my favourite things to do while traveling! However, depending on where I’m visiting this can also mean I’m taking in more of the ingredients I know don’t work best for me, such as dairy and gluten.

Digestive enzymes aren’t necessarily a “free pass” to eat any of your food triggers without any symptoms, but they can definitely help to improve digestion, minimize bloating and curb some of the symptoms you might otherwise experience when doing so.

When choosing a digestive enzyme, I usually opt for a broad-spectrum formula that helps with the digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.  Since I am sensitive to dairy and gluten, I look for a formula that helps to digest those specific ingredients as well. One of my favourite formulations is Digestzymes by Designs for Health, which is what I take when dining-out and often recommend to patients in my practice.  

Supplements for Travel: Breakfast Table

Although I avoid dairy and gluten about 90% of the time, taking a digestive enzyme when I do consume these ingredients helps me to minimize the bloating, fatigue and brain fog that comes along with eating these foods for me.  I used to eat these ingredients regularly, without realizing they were also causing my acne, eczema and anxiety! If you experience any of these symptoms and haven’t yet investigated whether particular food triggers may be causing them for you, I highly recommend that you do so.  Downloading my free guide to identifying your food sensitivities is a great place to start, and will give you an overview on everything you need to know!

 


3. Immune Supportive Antimicrobial Tincture

No one wants to waste precious travel time being laid up in their hotel room with a cold or flu.  This is why I always bring immune support with me on any trip I take!  

Immune support comes in many forms, from targeted high dose vitamins to fire up your immune system, to herbal concoctions that help your body fend off viruses and bacteria.  Although I often carry both options, it’s the latter I find most effective and that makes the list of my top 5 supplements for travel.  

Herbs are powerful remedies, and some of them have the fabulous ability to help our immune system ward off any viruses and bacteria that we are exposed to.  I always carry an antimicrobial herbal tincture for any air travel, which I take before and after my flight. A herbal tincture is a liquid formula, containing the active ingredients from each herb extracted into alcohol.  They taste potent, but they work!  

One of my favourites is Echinaseal by St. Francis, which can be purchased from most health food stores in small vials that are perfect for air travel.  Please note that you should always check with your naturopathic doctor to make sure these supplements for travel are appropriate for you specifically, which is especially true when it comes to herbal formulas.


4. Probiotics

If your travel destination is a tropical country, probiotics top my list of remedies to bring along as one of your most important supplements for travel.  A particular probiotic, “saccharomyces boulardii”, is the most optimal option for tropical travel as it’s fabulous for preventing travelers diarrhea (otherwise known as Montezuma’s Revenge!).  Saccharomyces boulardii (also referred to as S. Boulardi) can also have beneficial effects in both the prevention and treatment of certain types of parasitic infections.

Talk to your naturopathic doctor about individualized dosing, and whether S. Boulardi might be of benefit for you to bring on your next beach vacation!

Supplements for Travel: Beach Reading

5. Active B-Vitamin Complex

What do you need to have plenty of while traveling? Energy! When there are sights to be seen and places to be, you need enough energy to be able to pack it all in!  If you often feel like your energy is lacking, make sure to download my free guide “Fatigued to Fabulous” here.

Nutrient deficiencies are one of the most common causes of fatigue I see in my naturopathic practice, and B-Vitamin deficiencies often top that list.  B-vitamins are depleted by alcohol consumption, excess caffeine intake, and stress, along with many pharmaceutical medications like the birth control pill. My patients often feel more energized and balanced once these nutrients are replenished!

In regards specifically to travel, if you’re indulging in more cocktails and cappuccinos while away, you may benefit from taking an active B-vitamin complex.  “Active” means that the form of each B-vitamin included in the formula is the one that is easiest for your body to utilize. My favourite B-vitamin formulas are from Vita Aid, which is a professional line only available through your naturopathic doctor.  AOR also has a great formula available in most health food stores, called “Advanced B Complex”.

Again, please check with your doctor to ensure these options are appropriate for you, and to personalize any recommendations for your supplements for travel.

Supplements for Travel: Sightseeing

I hope these supplements for travel help to keep you healthy and energized on your next vacation! Of course, supplements are an addition to an already healthy lifestyle, and I encourage you to follow these recommendations while traveling as well:

  1. Drink plenty of filtered water to stay hydrated.
  2. Find time for a workout, or stay active by walking to explore your travel destination.
  3. Aim to have at least one vegetable-rich meal meal each day, whether that be a salad, stir-fry or grilled veggies.
  4. Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep per night whenever possible, which will keep your appetite under control and your mood in tip top shape!

What practices do you incorporate to stay healthy while on your road?  Are there any supplements you pack along? Let me know in the comments below!

Road trip? Make sure to download my free guide to road trip meals and snacks! 


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Elimination Diet Meal Plan

A Naturopathic Doctor's Top 5 Supplement Recommendations for Travel

About the Author

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

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Dr. Kimberley O'Brien is a Naturopathic Doctor in  Nelson, BC with expertise in the treatment of digestive disorders, fatigue and hormone imbalances.  She is the founder of Healthy Life Redesign and creator of the Elimination Diet Meal Plan and the Real Food Recharge online programs.  Her mission is to help you own your health and live a life you love!


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