Below is my list of go-to immune boosters that I always pack for travel. I love to travel but the time zone changes, lack of sleep, dehydration and challenging food choices are hard on the immune system. This is what I use to keep my immune system as strong as possible. The list may seem long, but if you keep them grouped together you can just grab them when you pack - it’s really easy!
My Go-To Immune Boosters for Traveling:
Zinc Lozenges - Zinc helps boost your immune response and studies have shown that it can decrease the duration of a cold. It’s most effective if you take it at the first sign that you’re coming down with a cold.
Elderberry Extract - Elderberries are the fruit of an elderberry shrub and are a rich source of antioxidants. Elderberry extract is known to have antiviral and immune stimulating properties.
Echinacea - Echinacea is an herb that’s considered effective as both an antimicrobial and an immune system booster. It’s a plant that contains phenols, which have antioxidant properties. Echinacea is known to reduce the duration of a colds and flus.
Oregano Oil - Oregano oil has antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects. It contains a powerful blend of antimicrobial compounds ( carvacrol and thymol) that can destroy many food borne pathogens.
A note on oregano oil: I find this one useful for both respiratory infections and preventing food borne illness. It’s especially helpful when traveling in foreign countries when you have to eat things you’re not entirely comfortable with (think those times when you have to eat something to avoid offending your host.) I’ve taken a couple drops after many questionable meals and so far I have avoided getting sick! I like to take the oil itself, which is VERY strong. Just 1 or 2 drops goes a long way!
Probiotics - Traveling (especially overseas) exposes you to a wide variety of microbes that you are not conditioned to. Lack of sleep and dealing with your circadian rhythms being out of whack often leaves your immune system below par when you arrive at your destination. A good probiotic can help get you back on track much faster. Look for a probiotic that has multiple Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, and possibly Streptococcus thermophilus as well. Make sure you purchase one that doesn’t need refrigeration, as this will be nearly impossible while traveling.
Vitamin C - Vitamin C is a well known immune booster. It’s a major antioxidant, and helps to prevent and reduce the duration of colds and flus. It’s easy to travel with Vitamin C packets that dissolve in water but I also like to bring a liposomal Vitamin C supplement, which gives you a higher rate of absorption.
Astaxanthin - Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is derived from haematococcus microalgae. It’s a very potent anti-inflammatory. It also protects your skin against UV induced cell damage, basically acting as an internal sunscreen. It also helps protect you from radiation exposure related to flying. Astaxanthin may not be as commonly known as some other antioxidants but it’s definitely one of my favorites!
Eucalyptus Oil - Eucalyptus Oil can work as both a decongestant and an antiviral oil to fight colds. It’s rich in an oxide called 1,8-cineol, which has been studied as a treatment for sinusitis. Eucalyptus oil also stimulates immunity and provides antioxidant protection.
Peppermint Oil- Inhaling peppermint oil helps with head aches (it also contains 1,8-cineol), upset stomach and nausea. Peppermint is uplifting and energizing which is beneficial for mental and physical fatigue.