Imagine 2000 years ago, how long would it take for us to travel from one continent to another? Imagine just 200 years ago, how long would it take us to travel across one of our great oceans to do business? The truth is that these speeds of travel, though miserably slow compared with today, actually matched up better with the design of our immune system, our digestive system, our neurological system, and for sure our sleep/wake system.
Today, we can go from Frankfurt to Bangkok in just 12 hours (not counting all the delays, airplanes falling apart, and worker strikes). This is great news for business but think of the impact this has on your body. In just 12 short hours your body will be exposed to an entire new group of bacteria, viruses, molds, and fungi that it may not be prepared for. But what about all the bugs you may be exposed to during your flight?
During the hours of time travel, your immune system is exposed to over 500 different types of microbes. It’s no wonder that many times you feel tired, have gastrointestinal discomfort, or feel congested when you fly. The question is: Is there any way possible to avoid some of these bugs to give your immune system a chance?
Luckily, the answer is yes. In a random sampling of water from several hundred domestic (within the US) and international flights, higher than normal levels of bacteria was found in the aircraft water. One of the worst places was the ice cubes. This means every drink you get with ice, every time you rinse your mouth in the restroom (like after brushing your teeth), or every glass of water (if they run out of bottled water) may be full of unwanted microbes. The good news is, in October 2011 the EPA will enact the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule for US based airlines. These rules outline stringent disinfection and inspection regulations and surely these will also impact international carriers.
For our time traveling Tignum customers the better news is that with some simple proactive strategies you can greatly protect yourself. Below is a simple list to get you started:
_drink only water from bottled sources – including if you brush your teeth
_bring your own water bottle (full or empty) and have the flight attendants refill it from their bottled water
_if in doubt, ask for “hot water” – some of our clients even travel with a small insulated thermos filled with ginger and they frequently have it refilled during the flight – great taste, great hydration, an immune system support, and a perfect reason to walk on the plane
_pass on the ice cubes unless you know they came from a bag
_consider taking Grapefruit Seed Extract – this is a natural defender against microbe contamination
_get fresh lemons in your drinks – this supports both your digestion and your immune system
_take your Emergen-C (or equivalent Vit. C, B Vitamin complex, electrolytes, etc.)
_get out in the sun and move when you arrive to flush your lymph system and produce some Vitamin D
Time travel is a great luxury we enjoy today, but it does require some high performance strategies, since our bodies haven’t evolved as quickly as our technology has. I hope these tips help and as usual please share any of your time travel tips.
Partner // Director of Nutrition