Travel supplements for the frequent flyer

I don’t travel anywhere near as much as I used to, but a recent airplane trip got me thinking about what supplements to take to counteract all (or at least part) of the radiation, germs, and God only knows what else you encounter during the wonder that is modern air travel. Added to that, I started thinking about my touring musician friends who travel well over 100,000 miles per year.

There has been a lot written on the harmful effects of radiation from flying (flight crews have higher rates of cancers), jet lag, ketogenic diets, as well as other strategies to mitigate the harmful effects (1, 2, 3, 4). This post is geared towards people that don’t have the time, ability, or inclination to do anything out of the ordinary, aside from taking some simple supplements.

*Please note this is not medical advice, but rather a short list of things which could be of benefit for the frequent flier. Please check with your doctor before starting any supplements.

General/daily routine for frequent flyers:

– Whey protein – mix into smoothies, ideally after workouts but if you don’t workout then part of a morning smoothie would be fine, this supports glutathione production (the body’s ‘master’ antioxidant), as well as having several other benefits.

– Good quality multi vitamin and fish oil, these are much better than the cheapo ones at the grocery store.

Probiotics can promote good gut health, especially when going to different parts of the world, drinking different water, etc. These ones don’t have to be refrigerated, handy when traveling regularly.

Pre-flight:

– Put on your 2XU compression socks – these help with circulation and to prevent deep-vein thrombosis.

– Take 1-2 tsp of green-tea extract in a bottle of water, this is a strong antioxidant.Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.38.16 PM

Onboard: 

– A sleep mask can be very helpful on red eye flights.

– As far as food goes, I’m generally weary of airplane food. Depending on the length of the flight a pack of vanilla protein powder mixed into water, along with a larabar can make a pretty awesome meal.

Post-flight:

– Another bottle of water with 1-2 tsp of the green tea extract mixed in, along with 2 pills of CoQ-10, 2 pills of this curcumin, and 500 mg of vitamin C.
– If jet lag is a problem, see my previous post about adapting better to new time zones.

There is no way to really study this stuff because it’s too impractical to set up research trials, etc., and exposing any possible harmful effects (even if they can be mitigated) would likely be frowned upon. Regardless, these are some simple steps to promote better health without any real downsides. Please remember to check with your doc before starting any supplements.

 

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