Nutritional therapist Ian Marber reveals some of the best supplements for summer
Holiday season is almost upon us, and as well as packing summer clothes, cameras and plenty of books, you may wish to consider including a few supplements that I have found useful when travelling.
Some 30 percent of travellers report that they experience diarrhoea while away on holiday. There are a few possible causes for this problem – ranging from a simple change in diet and different water to poor hygiene. Although the exact mechanism of probiotics in supplement form is still hotly debated, it seems that taking them before and during your trip can offer a degree of protection. Look for brands that include more than one strain of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
We’re all well versed in the dangers of UV rays, but getting a tan seems as popular as ever. The darker colour created as a result of sitting in the sun comes from the increased melanin in the skin that is stimulated by sun exposure. As well as avoiding the midday rays and covering up with plenty of good quality water-resistant sun protection factor, reducing time spent in the sun will also lower the risk of damage.
One specific amino acid, called l-tyrosine, is also linked to melanin production and the theory is that you can achieve a darker colour with less time spent in the sun by taking this supplement. There is no reason to take l-tyrosine in the long term but starting a few days before and during sun exposure might help. I would advise that you see this as a way to spend less time in the sun, not as a way to get a darker tan, as results are not guaranteed and vary from person to person.
Thiamine is more commonly known as vitamin B1 and it is an old belief that if taken either orally or via a patch this nutrient can reduce the incidence of mosquito bites. While this is not supported by evidence there are many anecdotal reports of success. There is no harm in taking B1 (I’d recommend 100mg daily) for a short period before and during a trip and people who are often bitten may wish to try this.
The atmosphere in an aircraft is dry and can contribute to dehydration, which is a common cause of constipation. Drinking water during the journey while reducing alcohol intake can help, as can eating plenty of fibre (a bag of unsalted nuts in your carry on is a useful snack and rich in fibre). If you do experience constipation after travelling then 200mg of magnesium last thing at night can help. You can increase this to 400mg if a smaller dose doesn’t have the desire effect but bear in mind excess can lead to diarrhoea.
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