If you’ve ever been sick while traveling, you know how miserable it can be. Whether you are traveling for work or pleasure, nothing ruins an entire trip like stomach troubles or a nasty cold. Travelling in 2021 is a gamble as getting sick can suddenly bring all of your plans to a grinding halt.
Luckily, there is a basic precaution you can take to minimize your chances of getting sick. This one easy precaution can minimize your symptoms and even shorten the length of your sickness: Taking a daily Probiotic.
Probiotics not only work to lessen unpleasant digestive symptoms but they work to strengthen your immune system too. A whopping 70-80% of your immune system lies within your digestive system! Your body is constantly losing healthy, good bacteria - so adding in a daily probiotic can restore strength and function to your digestive and immune systems.
Why Your Gut Health May Decline While Traveling
1. Changes in Diet
When you are running through the airport or driving through rural areas, it’s too easy to stop at your favorite fast food restaurant at meal times. Unfortunately, fast food (or any fatty/fried/sugary foods) can wreak havoc on the delicate balance of microbes in your gut causing indigestion, bloating, sluggishness and sometimes more unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting. To avoid this, consider planning out your stops for food at healthy places or packing food from home. Regular probiotic use can also mitigate the damage of the occasional fast food stop.
Another consideration is for the adventurous eaters; whenever you go to a new country you want to try all of the novel regional dishes. Contrary to popular belief, ‘Traveler’s Diarrhea’ is not caused by simply trying new foods or spices. It is simply just your body reacting to types of bacteria it has never encountered before. Bacteria, even of the same species, can vary greatly in how it affects your body - typically the further you are from home, the more different the reaction will be. L acidophilus, Saccharomyces boulardii, and B. Longum are three very helpful strains for coping with foreign bacteria.
2. Unsafe Drinking Water
Just as bacteria in food can vary from country to country, so can the bacteria in water. What’s more, the drinking water in another country may not be as thoroughly sanitized as it is in your home country. Water that locals drink can have a completely different result than when you drink it, as they’ve adapted to it.
Water quality is something you should look into before traveling so that you don’t have any surprises after drinking tap water in a foreign country.
A little research into the country you’re traveling to should give you a good idea as to whether it’s safe to drink the tap water or if you should opt for bottled water instead.
With all the travel arrangements, packing, expenses, and the chaos of airports or traffic, it’s not uncommon to get stressed out when traveling. Stress can have negative impacts on gut health, so it’s important to try to keep your stress levels to a minimum while traveling.
Stress can result in various negative consequences, both physical and psychological. Perhaps the worst aspect of being stressed while traveling is the fact that stress has harmful effects on the immune system, leaving us more susceptible to getting sick, and of course, no one wants to get sick while traveling (1).
The good news is that some studies suggest that taking a probiotic supplement may help combat stress (2).
You can also combat stress while traveling by doing things like planning and packing ahead and showing up to the airport early.
4. Coming in Contact with New Microorganisms
Like we mentioned earlier, when you travel to a new place, you’re more likely to encounter pathogenic microorganisms that you haven’t come in contact with before. This can happen through eating new foods and drinking tap water in different places but this can happen in a number of different ways. If you are eating unhealthy or stressed out while traveling, your immune system is especially vulnerable. Plus, your body doesn’t have a planned out immune response to new pathogens. Taking a high quality probiotic or immune supplement is an easy, cost-effective way to help your immune system defend itself.
5. Being in Confined Spaces Shared by Many People
When you’re crammed into a car, plane, train or bus, germs are passed around easily.
You’re frequently touching other surfaces that others have touched recently, such as armrests, tray tables, door handles, and more. You’re also breathing the same air as other people.
Being exposed to more pathogenic microorganisms makes it more likely that you’ll get sick from one of them.
Try not to touch your nose, eyes, or mouth while in a shared space and be sure to wash your hands frequently. Wearing a face mask and using hand sanitizer are also effective precautions to prevent sickness.
How Probiotics Can Help Keep You Healthy While Traveling
Probiotics can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Good probiotic bacteria crowd out bad bacteria in the gut, so the bad stuff has less chance to cause infection. Probiotics also help naturally strengthen the immune system, so if you’re taking probiotics, your body is more likely to be able to fight off the harmful pathogens that you come in contact with (3).
A common occurrence that many travelers experience is diarrhea. There’s even a term for it: traveler’s diarrhea. Traveler’s diarrhea is caused by consuming contaminated food or drink.
A 2018 meta-analysis concluded that probiotics are effective at preventing traveler’s diarrhea. Probiotics are also effective for acute infectious diarrhea and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (4).
The bottom line is that probiotics are great for travel because they protect you from nasty bacteria and viruses so you can focus on enjoying yourself.
When Should You Start Taking Probiotics for Travel?
To truly get the benefits of probiotics, it’s best to take them all year round. Consistency is key. But if you’re taking them specifically for travel, it’s a good idea to start taking them at least a week or two before traveling.
Each person's gut is home to trillions of bacteria & microbes. Good types of bacteria are naturally occurring and can also be found in high-quality probiotic supplements. Bad types of bacteria can crowd out the good types of bacteria in times of high stress & poor diet and cause unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea & indigestion.
What to Look for When Buying a Probiotic Supplement for Travel
Make sure the probiotics are alive
Probiotics are living microorganisms and they won’t do you any good if they’re not alive. Probiotic supplement manufacturers print the expiration date on their bottles, so be sure to check and take a probiotic supplement that’s not expired. Be cautious if you are buying probiotic supplements from a local chain pharmacy or megastore, sometimes these products have not been cared for or stored properly and won't have any live cultures. It's best too order probiotics from a specialty online store (like BlueBiology.com), to ensure you are getting the freshest product.
Take a potent probiotic with multiple strains
Probiotic strains each have their own unique health benefits and protect against certain pathogenic microorganisms that can make you sick. In general, the more strains, the better.
Choose a probiotic supplement that doesn't need to be refrigerated
This is a must for traveling because you won't have easy access to a refrigerator. Some types of probiotics require refrigeration at all times to preserve the cultures. BlueBiotics Ultimate Care is freeze-dried to preserve the life of the probiotics, so you don’t need to refrigerate them. BlueBiotics Ultimate Care can be refrigerated to extend the life of the cultures, but it’s not necessary.
Keep your immune system in tip-top shape by taking care of your gut when you are on the go. Be sure to opt for healthy foods when you can, take steps to decrease stress, wash your hands and do your best to avoid coming into contact with pathogens. Taking these steps will surely help keep you looking and feeling your best while traveling.
For everything else in between, our favorite combo of products BlueBiotics: Ultimate Care + BlueBiology’s Immune Essentials has got you covered! Taking probiotics is a great way to stay healthy and feel better while traveling — a time when you’re more vulnerable to getting sick and being stressed.
BlueBiotics Ultimate Care has a super potent 61 billion CFU (colony forming units) and 11 strains for maximum coverage. This daily formula helps strengthen your stomach to lessen bloating, digest food easily & boost your immune system. Probiotics work by populating your gut with the beneficial types of bacteria and crowding out the bad types of bacteria. It’s a formula backed by research and trusted by thousands every day to give their guts the digestive & immune support it needs.
BlueBiology Immune Essentials is the newest product to the BlueBiology lineup, developed especially with your immune system in mind. It’s packed with minerals, vitamins & flavanols plus 3 unique, research backed strains, especially designed to protect your immune system.
If you’re traveling soon, consider adding this potent combination to your daily routine. Your gut and immune system will thank you!