Fortifying Your Immune System For The Holidays

A guide to safe and healthy travels

 

Anne Salazar, RH (AHG)



It’s been quite an unpredictable and challenging year, has it not? It might be time to take some time with family and friends we haven’t seen enough of. We are fast approaching the holiday travel season.  Why not get there healthy, stay healthy, and return relaxed and….healthy?


Travel is typically a time of increased vulnerability to illness; change of environment, time zone adjustments, stress, close quarters with groups of people, shifts in eating habits, all contribute. And now, we find ourselves in a time of even greater susceptibility due to the pandemic challenges. Rest assured there are definite tools we can share with you to keep the journey safer and healthfully more pleasurable. 


Travel Prep

It's important and wise to prepare ahead of time if you are able. It is far easier to prevent illness than it is to treat it!  Fortifying your immunity is key to staying safe and happy while traveling (or any time for that matter).  So let us suggest a few key ways to boost your immunity as you prepare to travel this holiday season:

  • Probiotics A healthy biome makes up 70% of your immune system. With a healthy gut, you are assured of good immune protection and support (1).  Our favorite and best-selling probiotic is Pure Encapsulation’s Probiotic 5. However, a probiotic that does not require refrigeration such as this one, might be easier when traveling.
  • Medicinal Mushrooms One of the best ways to ensure a vital and balanced immune system! These powerhouses support all immunity functions 2 and assist the body in dealing with all manners of stress. They are both adaptogenic and immune supportive. One of the best is Host Defense’s MyCommunity which is a blend of 17 different mushrooms. Another really popular one (especially for flying) is Mycoshield travel size peppermint throat spray. Spray right in the back of the throat to calm your mind as you endure breathing the recirculated (yet filtered) air. 
  • Vitamin D3 Clearly the science is strong regarding this immune supporter 3.  D3 is KEY to a strong and vital immune response.  It is both prophylactic in action against attack and protective during infection. We can highly recommend a number of good Vitamin D products.  One I particularly like is INNATE’s Vitamin D as it is very bioavailable.
  • Herbal Allies if you really want to bump it up ahead of time, you can add in a good botanical formula designed with anti-microbial herbs and/or immune-boosting herbs.  You can take it prophylactically to get your immune system humming. As long as you are not already ill, you can take a small dose daily.  One that really fits the bill is our very own Immuno Well RX. It contains Astragalus which has long been known for overall immune protection (with especially lung-protective qualities, as well).  It also contains Echinacea, Isatis, Garlic, Forsythia Fruit, and Honeysuckle Flower; all of which are indicated for viral activity (4). If you would like to read more on how these anti-viral herbs check out our blog post, Herbs Against Coronavirus.

On The Road (or Plane)

Once your travel has begun it is important to continue being diligent regarding immune protection and support.  Any or all of the above suggestions are appropriate to begin or continue.  Just bring your travel pill pack along with you. (If you don’t have one yet, check out our super cute ones here.)  Here are a few other suggestions to keep on hand for use along your journey.

  • If you are crossing time zones, it is best to mitigate the physical stress of circadian rhythm shifts. Not only does lack of sleep put a damper on your trip, it can also reduce your bodies ability to stay healthy (5).  My very best choice, hands down is this extraordinary product NO JET LAGMelatonin can also be very supportive to rebalance or maintain circadian rhythms.
  • As we all know, physical hygiene is important while traveling.  Bring along this well-loved Grown Alchemist travel-sized gel sanitizer to protect your hands while keeping your skin hydrated. It smells amazing too!
  • Don’t forget your mask, and also maybe a backup mask too. 
  • Hydration, hydration, hydration.  Make sure to be conscientious about getting enough water during your travels. Dehydration can set you up to be more vulnerable to infection and can cause discomfort while traveling, as well as interfere with good sleep. It’s always a good idea to add electrolytes to your water, to ensure efficient hydration and prevent muscle cramps (6).

Destination Suggestion

Once you are at your destination, it’s always good to have a few things on hand in case something comes up. Many of the above suggestions will continue to be useful. For instance, if you find yourself feeling the onset of symptoms of a respiratory illness, you can bump up your daily dosage of immune boosting supplements like the Immuno Well Rx while continuing your regular D3 and probiotics. A few other things to get prepared for:

  • Tummy Troubles oftentimes travel means eating differently than one is accustomed (of course, many times this IS the time to splurge). But if you haven’t eaten meat in months and then decide to eat mom’s turkey, you might want to take digestive enzymes so you don’t regret it. Digestive enzyme supplements contain an appropriate amount and blend of enzymes that cover the basic macronutrients so that you are covered even if your body is not accustomed to seeing some of the foods you decide to eat. Adding these before meals will reduce GI upset (7). Less common but still more common when traveling is catching a stomach bug (or experiencing a reaction to unfamiliar food, etc.). If you are looking for an overall stomach soother (think natural alternative to Pepto Bismol) check out this awesome product, which contains a TCM blend of herbs. This is a BIG seller here!
  • Sleep support Finding oneself in a different sleeping situation can be off-setting, even in the best of circumstances.  So bringing along a gentle sleep aid to get you there can only be helpful.  We are a big fan of Remedy’s Sleep Formula which is a blend of both melatonin and sleep supporting herbs.     

Something that is becoming a new normal for many travelers is pre or post COVID testing. We continue to offer appointments for Rapid COVID Antigen tests. We recommend booking your appointment in advance as we anticipate increased demand around peak holiday travel days.  


Whatever you do, wherever you plan to go, please let us assist in making your travels the very best they can be.  We are here to serve!! Wishing you all safe travel and happy holidays!

 

Sources:

  1. Yan F, Polk DB. Probiotics and immune health. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2011;27(6):496-501. doi:10.1097/MOG.0b013e32834baa4d
  2. Guggenheim AG, Wright KM, Zwickey HL. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(1):32-44.
  3. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881-886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
  4. Melchart D, Linde K, Worku F, et al. Results of five randomized studies on the immunomodulatory activity of preparations of Echinacea. J Altern Comp Med. 1995;1(2):145-160.
  5. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012;463(1):121-137. doi:10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
  6. National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1989. 11, Water and Electrolytes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234935/
  7. Ianiro G, Pecere S, Giorgio V, Gasbarrini A, Cammarota G. Digestive Enzyme Supplementation in Gastrointestinal Diseases. Curr Drug Metab. 2016;17(2):187-193. doi:10.2174/138920021702160114150137