Which Supplements Should I Take on Vacation?

By taking the proper combination of nutrients, you can ensure your family stays healthy (and happy) on your voyage.

Nutrients are also extra important on a vacation trip because of the tendency of many to overeat or eat unhealthy foods.

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If you’re preparing for an upcoming family vacation, along with a bathing suit and sunscreen, don’t forget your vitamins and supplements! Traveling can put a lot of stress on the body, and that extra stress can weaken your immune system. The last thing anyone wants to endure is an unpleasant illness on a vacation.

These nutrients are also extra important on a vacation trip because of the tendency of many to overeat or eat unhealthy foods. Who hasn’t eaten something they normally wouldn’t think about eating by saying, “It’s okay, I’m on vacation.”? By taking the proper combination of nutrients, you can ensure your family stays healthy (and happy) on your voyage. 

Which Supplements Should I Take on Vacation? #1: Probiotics

No matter where you are planning to spend your family vacation, taking probiotics are essential. This is especially true if you are heading to an exotic island or out of the country.  In fact, the most important item you will have in your suitcase is a bottle of probiotics. Probiotics are healthy, beneficial bacteria that keep your gut healthy and strong, thus boosting your immune system. You should begin taking probiotics at least one week before your trip, take them every day of your trip, and continue taking them one week after returning home.  Probiotics will populate your gut with beneficial bacteria. This way, your body is protected if it encounters any foreign microbes (bacteria, parasites, etc.), especially from exotic cuisines. If your GI tract is not adequately defended, you are more likely to experiences illnesses like the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea. On the other hand, if you keep the beneficial bacteria colonies in your gut flourished, the chances of suffering digestive imbalances from foreign pathogens is significantly decreased. So, unless you’re planning on spending your time in the hotel bathroom, be sure to take probiotics on your trip!

When selecting a probiotic, try to choose one that contains both the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species of bacteria. Lactobacilli prefer the ileum section of the small intestine while Bifidobacteria do best in the large intestine. Take the dosage recommended on the manufacturer’s bottle and double up on your dose if you begin to experience any type of stomach upset – indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, etc.

Which Supplements Should I Take on Vacation? #2: Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is another crucial supplement you’ll want to include on your travels. Not only does oregano oil contain healthy nutrients such as omega-3 and fiber, it is also a potent broad-spectrum antimicrobial, providing protection against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. It guards against infiltration both within the body as well as externally as a topical application. This includes bed bugs, lice, fleas and mosquitoes.

Oregano oil also protects against Giardia, a common amoeba found throughout the world. There are more than 200 million people infected with Giardia each year. In one study, oregano oil proved to be more effective at treating Giardia than the commonly prescribed drug, tinidazol.

Like probiotics, oregano oil can also protect against food-borne pathogens and the dreaded case of food poisoning. In vitro studies have demonstrated antibacterial activity of oregano against some of the most common food-borne pathogens including Listeria, Salmonella, E-Coli, and Shigella dysenteria (causes dysentery). And, oregano oil can help treat common symptoms of food-borne illness – nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, bloating and/or indigestion.

Nobody likes to catch a cold or the flu or other respiratory illness while on vacation. Blowing your nose all the time is the last thing you want! At the very first signs of illness, get going on the recommended dosage of oregano for acute infections. You may very well stop that oncoming infection in its tracks. At the very least, you likely will be able to shorten its duration and lessen its symptoms.

You can take a couple of drops daily of your oregano oil for prevention purposes during your trip, but it’s main value lies in using it at “therapeutic doses” to fight an acute event such as food poisoning, an oncoming viral infection, or the like. Learn how to take oregano oil here at therapeutic doses:

Which Supplements Should I Take on Vacation? #3: Multivitamin/Multi-mineral

You’ll want to be sure to support your energy levels and immunity while traveling. For your adventures, be sure you pack a good multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement that contains a combination of B-complex vitamins (for energy) as well as antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, calcium and zinc. These antioxidants will neutralize free radicals and boost your immune system. Take your vitamins every day of your vacation and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions on the label. It is almost impossible to get all these needed multi-nutrients in one single vitamin pill. So, a good multivitamin/multi-mineral will usually have 4-10 total capsules as the daily dose.

Which Supplements Should I Take on Vacation? #4: Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain from the amino acid Tryptophan.  It helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. For the restless traveler, melatonin can promote sleep as well as alleviate jet lag, which is especially helpful when changing time zones. Melatonin is non-habit forming and will not make you feel like a “zombie” the following day like most sedatives and sleeping pills.

To reduce the effect of jet lag and reset your biological time clock, take 3 mg of melatonin one hour before bedtime at your destination location. Take 3 mg again for each of the next three nights to keep you from waking up at 4:00 a.m. and staying wide awake. For regular sleep assistance, take 3 mg of melatonin one hour before bedtime. Do not take more than 3 mg in 24 hours. Also, do not take melatonin with other sleep aids or with alcohol.

Learn more about natural remedies for insomnia here:

Traveling can be a lot of fun… but only if you stay healthy along the way. Now that you know the answer to the question, “Which supplements should I take on vacation?” don’t forget to pack these on your next trip. By doing so, you can fortify your immune system (and assure a relaxing time). Bon voyage!

[1] “Oregano (Lippia spp.) kills Giardia intestinalis trophozoites in vitro: antigiard” asic activity and ultrastructural damage.” Parasitol Res. 2006 May;98(6):557-60. Epub 2006 Jan 20.

[2] “Antioxidant properties of Mediterranean spices compared with common food additives.” J Food Prot 2001 Sep;64(9):1412-9. 2001. PMID:12440.

[3] “Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods–a review. Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Aug 1;94(3):223-53.

Originally published in 2013.

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UHN Staff

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