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5 Must Have Supplements for Summer Travel in Seattle
By Dr. Kathy Severson, ND
As we enter the season of summer, vacations will increase as Americans prepare for summer break, wedding season, road trips and international travel. Below you will find the type 5 supplements for summer travel we would recommend. In the “Summer Travel Survey and Trends 2023” report by the Vacationer, 85% of Americans plan to travel over the next few months. While travel is something we look forward to every year, it does come with its challenges. For example, ending up in different time zones causing sleep disruptions, eating new foods, muscle soreness from heavy luggage and exposing ourselves to travel stressors or germs. It’s important to support our bodies so we can fully enjoy the travel experience.
It can be overwhelming thinking about all the supplements for “what-if” occasions and we may not always have enough room in our suitcases to treat every scenario. I recommend paring down supplements to the essentials below. Plan to start these about 3-5 days and ensure you’re staying consistent with nutrition, exercise and sleep before you plan to depart on the next adventure.
Consider these top 5 Supplements for Summer Travel in Seattle
Probiotics are live bacteria or yeasts that can help restore the natural balance of gut flora. Traveling often involves changes in diet, water sources, and exposure to unfamiliar bacteria. These changes can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut, leading to digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloating. In addition, probiotics can support immune response and production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin which regulate mood and mental health.
2. Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are substances that help break down food into smaller molecules, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients. When traveling, you may eat different types of foods or cuisines that your digestive system is not accustomed to, leading to digestive discomfort such as indigestion, gas or bloating. The enzymes can support the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, aiding in the digestion and absorption of nutrients from unfamiliar foods.
Traveling can sometimes be stressful, whether it’s due to long flights, unfamiliar environments, or a disrupted routine. Magnesium has been known to support relaxation and help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety by binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which can promote a sense of calmness and relaxation.
It can also help alleviate muscle cramps and promote muscle recovery after long periods of sitting, walking, or carrying heavy luggage. It helps regulate calcium levels within muscles and aids in the proper contraction and relaxation of muscles. An added bonus if you suffer from traveler constipation, magnesium has a mild laxative effect and can help promote regularity.
4. Immune Support
When traveling, it’s important to support your immune system to minimize the risk of getting sick. While a healthy diet and lifestyle are the foundation for a strong immune system, certain supplements may provide additional immune support. Consider supplements that contain multiple immune boosting ingredients with vitamins, nutrients and herbal medicine. Examples include Zinc, Vitamin C, vitamin D along with herbs such as echinacea or elderberry.
5. Sleep Support
Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining energy levels and enjoying your travel experiences. However, changes in time zones, jet lag, or discomfort in new sleeping environments can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep while traveling.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Taking melatonin can help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep or wake up, depending on the direction of travel. It can be particularly helpful for promoting sleep during the destination’s nighttime. It’s important to note that melatonin supplements should be taken at the appropriate time based on the new time zone to help reset your internal clock.
Magnesium has been shown to improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and supporting the natural sleep-wake cycle through regulation of melatonin. Taking magnesium before bedtime may help promote better sleep while adjusting to a new time zone and minimize the impact of jet lag.
While not a supplement, don’t forget about ensuring you have adequate hydration while on the go. I recommend a packable water bottle and electrolytes to help quench your thirst.
As a reminder, always check in with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements to ensure safety.
What steps can I take to better understand the quality of ingredients within various supplement brands?
In a world increasingly concerned with health and wellness, dietary supplements have stepped into the spotlight as a vital part of daily self-care. However, not all supplements are created equal. As you source your supplements for summer travel consider that the quality of the dietary supplements can greatly influence the benefits they provide, so it’s essential to select them wisely. As a Functional Medicine Clinic, we understand the value of high-quality supplements in achieving optimal health. Let’s delve into the reasons why sourcing quality dietary supplements is crucial, and provide some guidance on what to look for when assessing quality.
Quality Equals Efficacy
A high-quality dietary supplement is one that delivers on its promised benefits. Purity, potency, and bioavailability (the rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream) are paramount in determining how effectively a supplement can support your health.
Low-quality supplements may contain fillers, binders, and other unnecessary ingredients that not only dilute the potency of the supplement but may also lead to adverse reactions. Conversely, high-quality supplements are manufactured to maintain the integrity of their active ingredients, ensuring their efficacy and safety.
Avoiding Contaminants – Another significant aspect of quality in dietary supplements is the absence of contaminants. High-quality supplements are rigorously tested for potential toxins, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and harmful bacteria, which could compromise your health rather than enhance it.
Transparency and Traceability – Responsible manufacturers of dietary supplements are transparent about their sourcing and production processes. They should provide information about where their ingredients come from and how they are processed. Look for brands that disclose their supply chain practices, as this transparency reflects their commitment to quality and safety.
Third-Party Testing – Certifications from third-party organizations such as NSF International, USP, or Labdoor are strong indicators of a supplement’s quality.
Dr. Kathy Severson, ND
Dr. Kathy Severson is a Naturopathic Physician that Integrates both Functional Medicine, Nutritional Lab Testing, and Evidenced based primary care strategies to optimize her patients health and wellness at her practice in Ballard, Seattle.
She has Key interests in supporting patients in the following:
- Digestive Health Conditions including IBS, IBD, and SIBO
- Mental Health Conditions including, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances and ADD or concentration challenges
- Women’s Health and Wellness
- Integrative Dermatology through use of Nutrition, Digestive Health, Natural Skin care products, and Aesthetic care options like RF Microneedling
- Musculoskeletal medicine including spinal manipulation care, trigger point injections, and chronic injury rehabilitation
Dr. Kathy Severson
Meet with Dr. Severson to learn how to set up a care plan to treat IBS and other digestive related conditions with integrative medicine, so you can feel confident in your health.