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Nothing puts a damper on vaca­tion like getting sick, and with the stresses of travel and the increased exposure to bugs, the risk of coming down with something rises. “Stress will tank our immune response,” says BarrSara Jean Barrett, ND. “Plus, when we travel, we eat more treats and drink more alcohol, which will also impact the immune system.”

To boost your defenses, fortify your vitamin D levels and start taking immune-supportive mushrooms, such as maitake and reishi, a few days before you leave. “There are little packets you can mix with coffee, or capsules you can also bring with you,” suggests Barrett.

Food choices matter. “Sugary snacks and sweetened lattes are not supportive of healthy immune-system function,” says nutritionist Samantha ­McKinney, RD, CPT, a Life Time master trainer. She suggests getting fresh veggies and fruits that deliver plenty of vitamin C, such as bell peppers, strawberries, and citrus.

Integrative psy­chiatrist Henry ­Emmons, MD, author of The Chemis­try of Joy, likes the convenience of vitamin C packets for travel, but McKinney cautions that they often contain a lot of added sugar. She prefers vitamin C capsules — 1 to 2 grams twice daily while traveling; some research suggests that combining them with zinc and quercetin may disrupt viral replication. For the best protection, begin taking them a few days before travel.

McKinney also uses N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a precursor to glutathione — an immune-supportive antioxidant that gets depleted by alcohol intake and stress. Some people find that teas containing elderberry, licorice root, echinacea, curcumin, or astragalus can also bolster defenses on the go.

This was excerpted from “6 Common Travel Illnesses and How to Treat Them” which was published in the November 2022 issue of Experience Life.

Mo Perry

Mo Perry is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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