Digestive issues are never fun, but they’re an extra big drag when you’re traveling. Especially if you like to indulge in all the delicious foods like I do!
That’s why I always travel with my "Gut Health First-Aid Kit", which includes 5 key supplements I never travel without:
#1) Saccharomyces Boulardii
S. Boulardii is considered to be a probiotic, but it is actually a type of non-pathogenic yeast that has specifically been studied for its ability to reduce antibiotic-induced and/or travel-induced diarrhea. One of the ways in which it does this is by preventing pathogens from adhering to the intestinal wall, which would otherwise trigger inflammation and typically, lead to diarrhea. I find S. Boulardii to be particularly helpful in cases of food poisoning and/or parasitic infections that come from contaminated water or food.
Unlike many probiotics out there, S. Boulardii is shelf-stable, meaning you can chuck it in your travel bag and not worry about it losing any of it's potency!
S. Boulardii can be taken both preventatively or as-needed during acute situations.
Use for: Diarrhrea, food poisoning, parasites
Product Highlight: The HMF Travel by Genestra is a great option for traveling, as it contains S. Boulardii along with two additional probiotic strains that may help with IBS-D.
#2) Activated Charcoal
While we’re on the topic of food poisoning, activated charcoal is definitely at the top of the list for me. Charcoal works by binding to toxins and bacteria in your Gut, ensuring they are removed (efficiently) from your body. This really helps to lessen symptoms. Since charcoal acts as a binder, it also helps to firm-up loose stools.
Activated Charcoal can also be helpful for relieving bloating and gas: Activated charcoal is made by treating charcoal with oxygen, and during this process, the charcoal becomes more porous (basically, the charcoal gets teeny-tiny holes). The extra space created by these holes traps gas molecules, thereby reducing flatulence and bloating.
Use for: Bloating, gas, diarrhea, food poisoning, parasites
#3) Ginger Capsules
I used to suffer from quite a bit of motion sickness and let me tell you, Ginger capsules were a saving grace for me. Ginger contains compounds that help to relieve nausea and upset stomach. You can take ginger capsules before you hop on a plane, train or bus if you know the nausea is bound to happen, or you can take them as-needed when you feel the nausea coming on.
In addition to relieving nausea, Ginger also acts as a Prokinetic, meaning it helps to support motility (movement in the GI Tract). Specifically, prokinetics activate a mechanism called the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) which sweeps food and bacteria through your intestines. This makes ginger an excellent support for bloating and constipation.
Use for: Bloating, indigestion, upset stomach, nausea
If I could only bring 1 supplement with me on a trip it would be Magnesium because it seves so many different functions in the body. One of the primary benefits (and the reason I love it so much) is because it has relaxation poperties (it is litearlly known as our relaxation mineral or anti-stress mineral). This makes it very helpful for muscle cramps, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, sleep, and constipation.
Magnesium comes in multiple different forms, but when it comes to tavel, I typically choose either Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate, as my main concerns are sleep and constipation.
Magnesium Glycinate is the best option for sleep because it is highly bio-available (high absorption rate). You can also use it for muscle cramps, anxiety, headaches, etc. as mentioned above.
Magnesium Citrate is best for constipation because it has a 50/;50 absorption rate, and it draws water into the bowel to make things stool easier to pass. If constipation is an issue, it's best to take it before bed.
Use for: Constipation, bloating, sleep support, muscle aches, headaches, nervousness
#5) Digestive Enzymes
Part of the fun of traveling is indulging on all kinds of delicous foods - and you shouldn't miss out! But even when my Gut is at it’s finest, I can still feel a bit heavy after multiple (rich) meals out.
This is where digestive enzymes come in!
While I don’t recommend using them daily, they can be a great support for traveling because they provide you with additional support for breaking down richer, heavier meals.
I recommend getting a blend that contains hydrochloric acid (Betaine HCL), pancreatic enzymes and ox bile to give you the most broad-spectrum support, however you can also opt for vegan plant enzymes, as well. A few of my favourites include Digestzymes by Designs for Health or Super Enzymes by NOW. For plant-based options, check out the Digestive Enzymes Ultra by Pure Encapsulations.
Digestive Bitters can also be helpful, such as Dr. Shade's Bitters No. 9.
Use for: Digestive support, bloating
Questions about the supplements listed above? Drop them in the comments below!