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The Best 5 Supplements For Common Summer Health Issues

By Nicole Craven, MD

In this article:


Though warm weather brings opportunity for all types of fun social events — the cookouts, outdoor nature excursions, and coastal trips can knock your body off of its usual path. You may find yourself eating food your body isn’t used to, drinking cocktails instead of extra water, skipping your relaxation time, and losing sound sleep. 

In addition, the sun’s powerful rays, wet bathing suits, and dry heat bring damage and aging to your body’s protective blanket: your skin. 

Here are some simple measures to protect against summer’s common health concerns - such as dehydration, bloating, constipation, red rashes, irritability, and fatigue - including best practices, oral supplements, and topical agents to aid digestion, sleep, hydration, and skin protection.  

‌‌‌‌1. Electrolytes, Water, and Dehydration

It is well known that water is essential for our cells and to avoid wrinkled skin and constipation. But, think twice before reaching for a sports drink since most well-known grocery store brands contain too much sugar, artificial sugar, and artificial dyes. They may cause as much harm as good. 

When the weather is warmer we may need to add electrolytes to our water using a high-quality product. Electrolytes are depleted by excess sweating, and each cell needs them to carry the essential electrical connections throughout the body. The main reason for fatigue after moderate exercise and excessive sweating is electrolyte depletion such as saltpotassium, and magnesium. Adding electrolytes daily to water restores energy and is often noticeable within 30 minutes after consumption.  

Is there a formulation that is better than others? I favor liquid electrolytes with no added sugars or colors because they offer a formula similar to our cellular composition. To maximize the potential, make sure the salt and potassium dosing are significant, such as 150 mg per dose or higher. The drops are easily added to every glass of water if needed, and they feel good going down. 

Electrolytes only work if you drink enough water to replenish your losses, and these losses occur much more quickly than you think when you add long, hot days into the mix. Sweating, drinking little water, and spending time in the sun can lead to feeling constipated with abdominal pain for days.  

Follow these three simple steps to stay hydrated when you are on the go.  

  1. Buy a high-quality, environmentally friendly water bottle of choice that provides easy-sipping, keeps cool, and fits in the car well.  
  2. Buy a large gallon plastic-free container or cooler to have in the car and take it with you as you travel. 
  3. Refill the water bottles every hour or so with the larger container. Add electrolytes to your bottles when handy, and always in the morning and when you return home. Refill the large container right away when empty. If you do not delay, you are always prepared and hydrated for the next stage of fun. 

‌‌‌‌2. Probiotics  And Preventing Constipation

Probiotic supplements are a combination of live bacteria and yeast that are known to live in a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Probiotics serve many health purposes, including keeping your digestion regular and pain-free. The unique collection of living organisms inside your gut is called your microbiome. There are many different strains of beneficial organisms, and current research shows having the good forms flourish in your GI tract also benefits brain function.

Disturbances in probiotic colonies (your microbiome) lead to abnormal growth of bad bacteria and symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. This can be caused by viruses, antibiotic exposure, sugar, or chemicals ingested in processed foods. 

During vacation months, we often challenge our gut health with dietary and lifestyle habits that cause bacterial imbalance. Probiotic replacement in adequate doses may help to restore balance. 

How do you choose from all the products on the market? A large body of research shows certain strains significantly alleviate GI dysfunction. Look for these strains: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium infantis (especially for children), and Saccharomyces Boulardii.

‌‌‌‌3. Digestive Enzymes for Bloating

Do you ever feel a rock in your stomach when you eat heavy foods like steak or cheese? Often your stomach is not prepared to digest the foods it does not usually see. To travel well and indulge in some comfort foods, digestive enzymes can help to ensure that foods are fully broken down, decreasing the bloating and pain. A usual dose of one or two capsules before meals can keep your digestive juices flowing. 

‌‌‌‌4. Magnesium for Relaxation of the Body and Mind

Magnesium wins the award for the powerhouse supplement for warm weather thanks to its multiple roles in the body. Increasing the brain levels of magnesium, a mineral critical for muscle relaxation and sleep, leads to enhanced learning, calming, and relaxation. Magnesium deficiency causes irritability and restlessness. Increasing the concentration in the muscles of the digestive tract stimulates the movement of stool.

Taking magnesium each night is highly suggested if you have trouble relaxing or irregular bowel habits. One key form known for relaxing the brain is magnesium glycinate, and one known to keep you regular is magnesium citrate. 

‌‌‌‌5. Natural Mineral Sunscreens and Body Balms Prevent Skin Aging and Damage

Two priorities to keep in warm weather in order to maintain a radiant youthfulness in your skin are protection from sun damage and copious moisturizing. 

Sunscreen choices are plentiful these days, and the most common UV blocker, zinc oxide, is used abundantly. While zinc oxide and nano-zinc oxide are deemed to be safe by the US Food and Drug Administration, they have also shown to be toxic when used in higher amounts. Because we do have to reapply sunscreen as often as every hour depending on the degree of sweating, it may be wiser to choose an organic mineral sunscreen that uses the synergistic effect of herbal and mineral combinations (and a lower concentration of zinc) to block the sun’s harmful rays.

Sunscreen should be applied every morning to the face no matter what, just as you should always keep your face and body hydrated. Before and after sun formulations with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera add extra hydration to the skin. Shea butter and coconut oil formulations can also penetrate your dry skin barrier to have a lasting hydrating effect. 

Grab these essential products, get into your warm-weather supplement routine, and shine brightly in the sunny season. 

References:

  1. Raizel, R,  Yule, A, Coqueiro, A. Sports and Energy Drinks: Aspects to Consider. The Science of Beverages 2019. 10; 1-37
  2. Harris L, Braun M. Electrolytes: Oral Electrolyte Solutions. FP Essent. 2017;459:35-38.
  3. Mohajeri M, La Fata G, Steinert R, et al. Relationship between the gut microbiome and brain function. Nutrition Reviews. 2018. 76-7; 481–496
  4. Lloyd-Price J, Abu-Ali G, Huttenhower C. The healthy human microbiome. Genome Med, 2016. 8, 51.
  5. Raman, S. An Overview on Herbal Sunscreen Formulation and Sun Protection Factor Value. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific Innovation, 8 (4).

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