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There are some natural supplements that may help reduce the symptoms of jet lag. Herbal supplements such as chamomile, valerian root, and lavender, which are believed to have calming and sleep-promoting effects. Melatonin, a natural hormone, also regulates the body’s sleep wake cycle which is disturbed when crossing time zones.
It’s important to note that the safety and effectiveness of these supplements can vary, and some may interact with other medications or have side effects. It’s recommended to talk to a healthcare professional before taking any supplements to prevent jet lag, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.
While natural supplements may be beneficial for some people, they are intended to be used in combination with other lifestyle changes and a nutrient-rich diet. The most effective strategies for preventing jet lag involve adjusting your sleep and meal schedules, staying hydrated, getting sunlight, taking strategic naps, and adjusting your meal schedule to match your destination time zone.
I wrote more about these strategies here.
Here is a list of natural supplements that may help reduce symptoms of jet lag in combination with the strategies listed above.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and is often used to treat jet lag. When you travel across time zones, your body’s internal clock is disrupted, and melatonin levels can become unbalanced. This leads to insomnia, brain fog or daytime sleepiness. By taking melatonin supplements at the appropriate time, you can help reset your body’s internal clock and promote sleep.
Studies have shown that taking melatonin before bedtime at your destination can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality. The more sleep you get, the easier it will be to transition back to a healthy sleep cycle.
It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin, as it can interact with other medications and may not be safe for everyone. Additionally, it’s important to follow dosage instructions carefully and to only take melatonin for a short period of time.
2. Vitamin B12.
While vitamin B12 is essential for many bodily functions, it can be effective for preventing jet lag. Taking vitamin B12 supplements can help treat jet lag-related fatigue and improve energy levels.
Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of red blood cells and the functioning of the nervous system. This could potentially help alleviate jet lag symptoms. More research is needed to fully understand the role of vitamin B12 in jet lag prevention. But there is ample evidence that it boosts energy levels so it may help you get back to normal after your trip.
3. Calming herbs.
Calming herbs, such as chamomile, valerian root, and passionflower, are known for their ability to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. These benefits may help reduce symptoms of jet lag. These herbs work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which eases stress and promote sleep. Some people find that these herbs can be helpful in promoting relaxation and reducing jet lag-related insomnia.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function. Some people find that magnesium promotes relaxation, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality, all of which can be beneficial in combatting jet lag.
While magnesium supplements are available, it’s also possible to get magnesium through a healthy diet. Some food sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds like almonds and pumpkin seeds, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, legumes like black beans and chickpeas, and fish such as salmon and halibut. By incorporating these foods into your diet when traveling, you can boost magnesium levels and potentially reduce jet lag.
5. Adaptogenic foods.
Adaptogenic herbs are known for their ability to combat stress and fatigue and may be helpful in reducing the symptoms of jet lag. Examples include rhodiola, ashwagandha, and ginseng. These adaptogenic herbs help reduce the symptoms of jet lag by supporting the body’s ability to adapt to new time zones and reduce stress.
Medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi and cordyceps, have been used in traditional medicine for centuries and have various health benefits. These benefits include reduced inflammation, antioxidant activity, and supporting immune function. Some studies have suggested that these mushrooms help reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Both of which are important factors in combatting jet lag.
6. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in immune function and is also known for its antioxidant properties. It may help reduce the impact of jet lag on the body by supporting the immune system and reducing inflammation. Vitamin C can be beneficial in combatting the dehydration that often accompanies air travel. And dehydration can exacerbate jet lag symptoms.
Many people associate vitamin C with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons. Those are excellent sources but there are also many others. Other great food sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, guava, papaya, and tomatoes. By incorporating these vitamin C-rich foods into your diet while travelling and upon returning home, you can ensure that you’re getting enough of this essential nutrient to support overall health and potentially reduce the symptoms of jet lag.
Dehydration and electrolyte deficiencies can worsen the symptoms of jet lag and delay recovery. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium that are essential for proper hydration and optimal body function. When traveling, especially on long flights, the body can lose electrolytes through sweat and urine, leading to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. This can worsen symptoms of jet lag, including fatigue, headaches, and muscle weakness.
To help combat dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and electrolyte-rich beverages such as coconut water. Or you can add a high quality electrolyte supplement to water. My favorite electrolyte powder when traveling is Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier. Eating foods high in electrolytes, such as leafy green vegetables and fruits, can also help.
Jet lag can be a challenging experience, but there are many strategies and supplements that can help reduce the severity of its symptoms and promote a faster recovery. Natural supplements such as melatonin, B12, magnesium, adaptogenic herbs, medicinal mushrooms, and vitamin C can all be helpful for mitigating jet lag symptoms.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes, especially when traveling by air, as dehydration can exacerbate jet lag symptoms. Practicing good sleep hygiene, exposing yourself to natural light, and adjusting your sleep schedule before travel can all help with jet lag. With these natural supplements, you’ll minimize jet lag and get back to feeling your best in no time.
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