While I love traveling and the joy that I experience from spending the holidays with family and friends, traveling compromises our immune system, digestive system and adrenal glands, and also exposes us to a host of pathogens, some of which we may not be well equipped to fight off. Less-than-nutritious travel food combined with lack of sleep and increased stress can make us susceptible to disease and cause us to leave our vacation feeling more worn out than when we began. To make the most of my travel time, here five things I never leave home without:
1. Probiotics: Research has shown us that probiotics can stimulate the immune system both within and outside of our GI tract. Probiotics activate various cells of the immune system such as macrophages and natural killer cells and also increase antibodies in the intestine itself. For traveling, I like probiotics that do not need to be refrigerated such as Ortho Molecular Product’s Probiotic 225.
2. Immune Support: The broad category of immune support consists of any herbs, vitamins and nutrients that ramp up the activity of our immune cells. My favorite immune support is Priority One’s Super Bio Veg which combines vitamins, herbs and mushrooms in an highly effective combination.
3. Magnesium: Magnesium treats muscle tension, constipation and quiets the mind leading to a feeling of overall calm. Additionally, magnesium is a cofactor in thousands of processes in our body and is depleted by stress—a common occurrence when traveling. I recommend Integrative Therapeutic’s Tri Magnesium for its blend of 3 different types of magnesium allowing for optimal absorption.
4. Digestive Enzymes: When traveling it can be easy to stray from one’s typical diet and incorporate foods you may not normally eat, including those containing gluten and dairy. Because I enjoy indulging while on vacation too, I travel with an enzyme such as Priority One’s Gluten Resolve so I can have the occasional treat without suffering the side effects.
5. Cortisol Support: Any time we travel, getting out of our routine and experiencing new and increased stressors, our adrenal glands take a hit. Our adrenal glands are responsible for producing cortisol, the primary hormone that spikes under stress. When our cortisol is elevated we can feel revved up, jittery or on edge, making it hard to fall asleep or ease into relaxation. This, in turn, makes us more susceptible to illness. For this reason, I travel with Integrative Therapeutic’s Cortisol Manager. This amazingly effective product uses a combination of L-theanine, ashwaganda, phosphatidlyserine and magnolia to reduce cortisol and lead to feelings of calm.
Wishing all of you safe and relaxing travels and the happiest of holidays!
Dr. Elizabeth Winter practices integrative and functional medicine in San Diego, CA and sees patients from a distance via Skype. For more information about her and her practice philosophy visit About Dr. Winter.