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In Pursuit of Optimal Digestive Health
5 Supplements I Pack While Traveling!
ANY travel adventure comes with the need to feel like you’re THOROUGHLY packed and 100% ready to go...at least in my opinion!
Part of being thoroughly packed and well prepared is having strategic natural supplementation at hand. There’s nothing worse than feeling under the weather and unprepared...amiright?
So...I'm counting down my top 5 natural supplements of choice (in no particular order) that ALWAYS find their way into my suitcase upon embarking on a new travel adventure!
*Note: With any natural supplement product you're considering, please do your due diligence by researching the nature of the ingredient list and any contraindications that may exist with your unique health circumstances (especially any medications in the picture). As such, any new natural supplement entering the picture should be run by your primary practitioner.
Who loves jet lag and adjusting their body to a new 'Sleep/Wake Cycle' in a new time zone?! NOBODY!
A very important hormone is produced by the pea-sized pineal gland located in the middle aspect of our brain: melatonin, our 'sleep hormone'.
Melatonin helps regulate our body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock), otherwise referred to as our 'Sleep/Wake Cycle'. The creation and release of this melatonin from the pineal gland occurs upon being stimulated by darkness...naturally suppressed by the presence of light.
Therefore, melatonin can serve as a natural sleep support when navigating an altered Sleep/Wake Cycle due to a changing time zone.
By taking the manufacturer’s dosage printed on the bottle, close to your target bedtime in your time zone of your new destination, melatonin can help support the process of resetting your Sleep/Wake Cycle in support of your destination’s local time.
Continued use, until your body has adjusted to your new Sleep/Wake Cycle, is recommended.
*This natural supplement is NOT intended to be used with dependency. So as to negate any possibility of supplementation affecting the body’s normal production of this hormone, short-term use is recommended. This supplement is BEST GUIDED by the support of your qualified practitioner.
Substances such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco will contribute to reduced levels of melatonin naturally produced by our body.
Furthermore, exposure to the blue light emitted from technological devices (particularly after sundown), will contribute to suppressed production of melatonin as well. The longer we stimulate the body with exposure to blue light after dusk, the more our body is stimulated to believe it is still daytime, thereby suppressing its production of melatonin.
Consequently, suppressed melatonin production will have an impact on our ability to effectively fall asleep when we desire to, resulting in that wired-but-tired feeling! Not fun!
- ACTIVATED CHARCOAL
A stomach bug, with symptoms of nausea and vomiting (that may go hand-in-hand with food poisoning), means it's time to cue the activated charcoal!
A fine, black powder by appearance, activated charcoal stems from sources including coconut shell, olive pits, bone char, peat, coal, sawdust or petroleum coke.[i]
Its 'activated' aspect pertains to the fact that it was processed at a very high temperature, in an attempt to alter its internal structure.[ii] Such high-heat processing decreases the sizes of the pores (remaining porous), yet creates an increased surface area for coming into contact with toxins needing to be flushed from the body.[iii]
In comparison, the all-too-familiar charcoal used as part of the BBQing process relies on charcoal that has not been activated in this manner; such charcoal does contain substances that are toxic for the human body.[iv]
Activated charcoal helps bind toxins and chemicals found in the gut, so as to prevent them from being absorbed by the intestine and inevitably entering the bloodstream from there.[v]
The fact that activated charcoal is unable to be absorbed by the body is where its benefits lie! By binding to the toxins needing to be excreted, activated charcoal becomes the carrier substance with which to get rid of them.[vi]
Transporting your gut to a new destination is not always an easy task! Your gut (and entire Digestive System for that matter!), seem to know when you’re not living your regular rhythm and routines. Bowel movements tend to become less regular and its not uncommon for long plane rides and lack of adequate water intake to leave you backed up and wanting to eliminate sooner than later!
While use of a day-to-day probiotic for digestive support provides many benefits as part of your day-to-day routine, a particular type of probiotic bacterial strain can especially support you when away from home. A travel-focused probiotic is a means of targeted support in such a circumstance.
A particular type of (yeast) strain in this probiotic of choice is that of Saccharomyces Boulardii, supportive of traveler’s diarrhea.[vii] This gut-friendly organism supports the killing off of disease-causing organisms in the gut, including both undesirable bacteria and yeast.[viii]
*Please consult with a medical professional prior to using this yeast strain with children, and if pregnant or breastfeeding.
*Those with a yeast allergy are also advised to avoid such a product, as well as those taking medication that targets fungal infections in the body.
Probiotic bacteria, in general, are beneficial for the body in countless ways:
Such bacteria help[ix]:
- Digest food, thru the production of lactic acid
- Bulk up stools when they die
- Reduce toxins in the colon
- Keep pathogens in check
- Produce B vitamins and vitamin K2
- Enhance mineral absorption
- Reduce cholesterol, by breaking down bile so that it may be reabsorbed into the blood
- Strengthen the Immune System
- Protect the intestinal wall lining from damage due to cortisol (our stress hormone), drugs and oral contraception (birth control)
- Support liver detoxification
A travel probiotic is certainly a supportive measure when traveling in foreign countries! Taking the probiotic for a few days prior to travel, throughout the duration of travel and for a few days upon returning home is recommended.
When on the road, staying on top of your regular veggie intake (particularly alkalizing dark/leafy greens), can be a challenge, depending on where you are.
Therefore, I find myself always looking for a fresh, cold-pressed, alkalizing GREEN juice wherever I go! And, it’s not always easy to find. Cue the Greens Powder!
Genuine Health is one of my favourite (Canadian) natural product companies. With the purchase of any of their products, I can look forward to a quality-sourced, research-based, health-promoting product.
While this brand produces a variety of different greens powder options, the Original Greens+ is a logical place to start!
This greens powder contains over "23 plant-based essential nutrients – highly alkaline-forming and rich in antioxidants”.[x]
Expect to enjoy such health-supporting ingredients including, but not limited to:
- Organic wheat grass
- Atlantic dulse (a variety of seaweed)
- Milk thistle
- Licorice root (an adaptogenic herb - adaptogens support the body's ability to combat stress)
- Siberian ginseng (an adaptogenic herb)
To view the full ingredient list, click HERE.
*Note: if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please abstain from using products that involve adaptogens. Please consult with your primary medical care provider as to whether these particular ingredients are suitable for your unique, individual circumstances.
If it hasn’t already, B.Immune Throat Spray (Bee Propolis) will soon become your lifesaver when it comes to that all-too-familiar phrase "I feel something coming on!"
Propolis is a compound (a resinous mixture of beeswax, bee saliva and substances from plants/trees) produced by bees. It's not only used to line the walls of their hives (to seal the gaps), this waxy substance also defends against the invasion of germs into the hive.
For humans, it's highly immune-supportive, helping to coat and soothe the throat, combat 'free radical' molecules that contribute to damage of our cells and tissues, and serves as a food source for the good bacteria in our gut!
Its beneficial properties include being:
This propolis option also naturally contains[xi]:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin C
I hope this round-up of my top 5 natural supplementation recommendations for your next travel adventure has EMPOWERED YOU with some new takeaways as to how to remain feeling as AWESOME as possible during your next worldly adventure!
[i] Petre, A. (2017, June 29). What is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal
[ii] Petre, A. (2017, June 29). What is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal
[iii] Petre, A. (2017, June 29). What is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal
[iv] Petre, A. (2017, June 29). What is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal
[v] Petre, A. (2017, June 29). What is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal
[vi] Petre, A. (2017, June 29). What is Activated Charcoal Good For? Benefits and Uses. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/activated-charcoal
[vii] Medline Plus: Trusted Health Information for You. (n.d.). Saccharomyces Boulardii. Retrieved March 23, 2019 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/332.html
[viii] Medline Plus: Trusted Health Information for You. (n.d.). Saccharomyces Boulardii. Retrieved March 23, 2019 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/332.html
[ix] Haas, E.M. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, 21st century ed. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
[x] Genuine Health: Greens+ ORIGINAL. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2019 from https://shop.genuinehealth.com/en-ca/greens-original?_ga=2.224075865.338584623.1553477340-1706962585.1553477340
[xi] Beekeeper's Naturals: B.Immune Throat Spray. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2022 from https://www.beekeepersnaturals.com/products/bimmunethroatspray