By Dr. Sasha Blissett
The public announcement system is calling your name as you run through the terminal with an intense sense of frustration and urgency. Your chest is pounding because you are about to miss your flight. Does this sound familiar? This scenario has played out for me on more than one occasion when traveling. However, that initial sense of stress is eased as soon as I buckle up and the flight takes off to my destination, leaving my stress behind. The benefits of travel include decreased stress, increased creativity, lowered risk of depression, and even boosting happiness and satisfaction. To ensure you reap all the benefits of travel, plan and follow the guidelines below.
Before and During Your Trip
Before trips abroad check the Center for Disease Control website for any regional travel related precautions and notices about vaccination requirements to avoid potentially contagious diseases. Then create a checklist to include your prescribed supplements and medications. You can prevent your trip from being ruined by traveler’s diarrhea by taking herbal anti-microbials like Berberine, Licorice, Pau d’arco and Goldenseal and even probiotics in advance of traveling to high risk areas. The amino acid L-glutamine helps maintain gut health and aids in the recovery of an inflamed intestinal tract. Take L-glutamine a few weeks prior to and throughout your trip to exotic regions. You can keep your tummy happy with botanicals like Chamomile, Anise, Marshmallow and Ginger in tincture or tea forms to address any indigestion that can occur from eating unfamiliar foods. Other herbs such as Turmeric, Slippery Elm, and Dandelion are appropriate digestive aids as well.
Have a Safe and Healthy Flight
There is an increased risk of blood clots on long flights, especially if you are predisposed. It is helpful to get up and walk around to help prevent the stagnation that leads to their formation. When walking is not appropriate, do calf presses and rotate your feet in circles frequently. Also, the recirculated air on planes can carry various respiratory pathogens. Anti-microbial herbs such as Echinacea, Osha, and Goldenseal taken a week or so before your trip can help decrease the risk of catching one of these bugs. Lastly, to help limit oxidative damage from airplane radiation, eat plenty of antioxidant rich foods and beverages like red rooibos, white teas, and different types of berries and fruits. Berries are super rich in proanthocyanins. Proanthocyanins help keep your arteries healthy, improves circulation, and helps prevent coagulation. Air travel is a good time to load up on the master antioxidant, Glutathione. You can do so by taking about 1,800mg of the amino acid N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) in divided doses. The body uses NAC to make Glutathione. It is the ultimate free radical scavenger, preventing cellular damage caused by radiation exposure.
To help regulate your sleep patterns and to ensure you do not suffer from jetlag when traveling to another time zone, pack melatonin. Kava kava, Lemon balm, and California poppy are great herbs to complement melatonin. The combination is almost guaranteed to take you out like a light and is one of my favorite sleep formula blends. Remember, getting a restful night’s sleep helps keep the effects of stress at bay. I recommend taking no more than 4 mg of melatonin along with your sleep formula about two hours before bedtime to help regulate your sleep pattern.
Upon your return
Lastly, upon your return, give yourself enough time to rest before jumping back in your day to day routine. It is of course, best to plan your travel schedule with this in mind. Should you take these precautions and still return under-the-weather, rehydrate and re-energize with customized intravenous nutritional (IV) therapy. IVs contain key nutrients like B-vitamins, amino-acids, and minerals to help cells recover so you can get back on your feet quickly. You can repeat your IV treatment until relief. Following these recommendations will help you secure all the stress relieving and rejuvenating benefits that come with traveling both near and far.