The vitamin and supplement world is a huge profit driver I have many problems with. So many conventional supplements have false claims, creepy ingredients, and are downright unnecessary. I am a firm believer in eating your vitamins and minerals through plant-based, whole foods.
Having said that, there are some supplements I take daily no matter where or what I'm doing that I find necessary- like probiotics. And there are others I use for travel depending on the place and dietary restrictions of that place - like *iron. I find the right supplements are incredibly helpful for travel and some I would have serious difficulty without. Here is my comprehensive guide to travel supplements - which ones to use, when/where to use them and how.
The first 3 supplements - probiotics, digestive enzymes, and B12 - are the absolute always necessary ones. The last 5 depend on what types of food you have access to.
Nothing is more crucial than a healthy gut. Probiotics increase beneficial gut flora that keep the body balanced and digestion regular. I like this brand with the specific strain, Acidopholus. So many articles will tell you how important the number of strains or cell count is and after trying everything under the sun I found all I needed was Acidopholus to keep balanced
You will never have the perfect, ideal meal plan when you are traveling. You are constantly trying new, different foods that your body is not used to digesting. This is why I take enzymes with me everywhere. I stash them in all my bags, pockets, clutches, and cases.
3. Vitamin B12
I encourage all vegans and vegetarians to supplement this on the regular as it is difficult to get from a solely plant-based diet. Since I hardly eat any animal products (only occasional fish and eggs) I also supplement with this regularly. When traveling, a higher dose (100mg) taken once every few days works well to save on space.
4. *Vitamin D3
If you are traveling in the winter or places where sun is limited - definitely bring this. It is the number one vitamin people are deprived of regularly.
Normally at home I get tons of iron from a vegan diet but when traveling I can't always find what I need. I take iron in places where iron-rich foods are scarce. Unsure of what foods contain high iron? Here are a few: Spinach and other dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, sunflower seeds, and whole grains.
This type of iron sourced from plants is called non-heme iron and needs vitamin C to be absorbed in the body. Take your supplement or eat these iron-rich foods with some lemon water or a fruit smoothie to ensure it is properly absorbed.
Easy combinations include spinach salad with lemon squeezed on top, dark leafy green smoothie with pineapple or mango, and lightly steamed broccoli with black beans (yes broccoli has tons of vitamin C!). Keep in mind vitamin C is quickly cooked out so anytime you cook broccoli do so lightly.
I try and steer clear of miracle working pills like these. I do believe in the benefits of these algae based on their high nutrient content but when a diet is optimal I don't think they are necessary. I would rather get my nutrients from fresh produce and real food.
But in the world of traveling this is not always available, especially in regions where you cannot eat raw food to due to water contamination. I take these when I do not have access to nutrient rich foods all the time when on the road.
Make sure to get these sourced from less contaminated coastal areas like Korea. Sadly most sea vegetables and fish are contaminated form the Fukishima spillage. Chlorella is one of the highest contaminated supplements out there so be mindful when sourcing your bottle.
Inflammation occurs frequently when traveling for many reasons. I like to keep it down by eating omega-3 right foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. When I run out of such foods or do not have access to them is when this supplement comes into play.
Most places use vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids (like canola, corn, and soybean) causing an imbalance (and ultimate inflammation) of the body. It is hard to avoid these oils all the time and we already have a hard time getting enough omega 3's in which is why I make sure I get my daily dose.
8. *Magnesium Oxide
MagO7 is a great digestive aid that helps circulate the body. I do not like to take this all the time because it can be bloating and irritating when I do but also can be very helpful with digestion when traveling. Use sparingly and start with a small dose initially then work your way up.