Vacation time is here, but you might not even realize that your jet lag may be impacting your health
Migratory birds travel long distances, but do not suffer from what we humans call jet lag. Why? To put it simply, birds don’t use airports and airplanes which are probably, in my opinion, the most aging environments on the planet due to the artificial lights, the lack of sunlight, the huge amounts of radiation, and the abundance of unhealthy food. This combination wreaks havoc on our hormones, brain chemicals, sleep, and health and can leave us with that nasty feeling of jet lag. But there’s more than meets the eye here.
There are about 12 different pillars of aging, but we’re only going to touch on five here: broken or out-of-sync body clock/circadian rhythm, dysregulated blood sugar, biological junk or toxins building up and around cells, damage and dysfunction in the mitochondria – your power supply, and cellular dehydration due to loss of ‘living water’ coherent water or structured water/dehydration. Traveling, particularly by plane, has the potential to impact many of those pillars, so we may as well learn a little bit about how to care for our cells as we do. Let’s dive in.
The Light Driver
Scientists agree that high or dysregulated blood sugar can cause inflammation and disease. There are countless articles that link dysfunctional circadian rhythms to diabetes, obesity, cancer, depression, inflammation and more. Light, believe it or not, is the primary driver of metabolism. Our cells perform hundreds of thousands of processes per minute, that need to be coordinated so we can function properly—a bit like the running of a large busy airport. And all of our cells and organs have ‘biological clocks’ in them so they know exactly what to do and when, such as when to go to sleep, when to burn fat, when to digest food, and when to destroy old and damaged cells. It’s fairly important work.
So how does light impact these biological clocks? Light-sensitive receptors in our eyes and skin inform the brain what time it is so we can make the correct hormone or brain chemical at the correct time. So when we head off on vacation and flood our bodies with the artificial blue light from screens, the airport, and the airplane, our cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise, but so do our blood sugar and insulin levels—all this without even eating any nice food. This can be a disaster if you already have diabetes or pre-diabetes. To add to this, blue light steals your dopamine which means you are much more likely to impulse buy, have cravings for sugar, junk food or alcohol—not to mention experience mood swings.
Artificial blue light toxicity is a sure-fire way to ruin your sleep, and as we all know, not sleeping properly is a hallmark of jet lag. Here are some tips on how to balance your body clock, minimize biological junk, and avoid those blood sugar swings while traveling this summer:
Soak up the Natural Light. Get as much natural light as possible before getting in the car and heading to the airport. And if you run out of time, open the windows of your car a crack on your way to the airport. The natural light can still get in.
Block the Blue Light. Blue light is hard to avoid these days, but there are ways you can prevent it from its most intense impacts. Block blue light coming into your eyes by using blue-blocking glasses from a reputable company and cover as much of your skin as possible while in the airport or on the plane.
Take in the Sunrise and Sunset. When you get to your new location, watch the sunrise. Then see the UVA rise by going for a 10-20 minute walk as this is when important hormones like thyroid and brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin are made.
Getting plenty of sunlight in the morning is vital for setting you up for a good night’s sleep and minimizing jet lag.
On that same note, see the sunset in your new location, and block blue light from screens once the sun is down. Not blocking artificial light can actually stop your brain from producing your own melatonin, which is vital for sleep.
Pro Tip: It might seem counterproductive to recommend an app, but some apps (Circadian is a good one) can tell you the timing of the sunrise, UVA rise, sunset and more in your location so you can plan your day.
Partake in a Travel Diet. I’m not talking here about losing weight, I’m talking about consuming a diet geared specifically toward your travel. I recommend a ketogenic diet (less than 20g of carbs), but fasting on your day of travel can also prevent blood sugar dysregulation. Jet lag switches off your body’s ability to perform ‘autophagy’—the destruction of old, damaged, or precancerous cells. Fasting will make sure autophagy is switched on. This is especially important if you travel by plane often.
Subsequently, eat a ketogenic breakfast or fast the following day when you arrive at your destination as it can take more than 24 hours for your blood sugar regulation to return to normal. Be warned: dysregulated blood sugar will affect your mood, metabolism, and sleep.
Be Careful with Travel Aids. Melatonin supplements produced in a factory are vastly inferior to our own natural melatonin (sleep and healing hormone) and should only be used for a few days if you are desperate, but no more than 1mg. Taking melatonin supplements long-term or giving them to children disrupts hormones and could have unforeseen health consequences later. I like to say that if your body can make it, don’t take it.
Experiencing True Hydration
Most people don’t know that our biological water—or fourth phase of gel-like water inside our bodies—act as a second battery. And if our batteries are empty, then we feel terrible. We also can’t heal or detox. As we age, there is no dispute that dehydration or ‘drying’ out is a hallmark.
Our mitochondria are organelles inside our cells that make energy in the form of ATP, also makes low-density or deuterium-depleted water that then gets ‘structured’ into the fourth phase or ‘living coherent water’ that is so vital for our health. However, it is richly overlooked and not widely discussed.
Roughly 80 percent of chronic disease is linked to malfunctioning mitochondria, and the tech-heavy environment in the airport and on the airplane put a lot of stress on your mitochondria. This is because the radiation emitted from devices such as phones, WiFi, technology in the airport, and cosmic radiation in the sky in effect act like a microwave and disturb how our mitochondria work.
This environment also lowers the levels of ‘living biological water’ by about 15 percent—even a 2-3 percent reduction in structured water can produce noticeable effects on energy levels.
Here are some tips on what can you do to ensure you’re supporting proper levels of biological water:
Get Enough Red Light. The red light from the sun can help re-structure the living water inside your body, as can a portable red light device from a reputable company that has the correct power, flicker rate and wavelength.
Take Time for Grounding. As soon as you arrive at your new location (that is, leave the airport and get to where you can spend a little time), do some ‘grounding.’ Grounding is a way to connect with the place you are. Try standing barefoot on the earth, walking without your shoes on the beach, swimming outside, and touching the leaves on plants that have their roots in the earth.
Grounding will allow you to draw electrons into your body which are like money to your mitochondria and cells. Studies show grounding not only helps your brain orient to your new location, reduce inflammation, and make more structured water, but it can also improve blood flow, which can reduce the risk of clots following a flight.
Spruce up Your H2O. Drinking water is a given, and not just when traveling. Using hydrogen tablets and/or adding deuterium-depleted water (low density water) to your drinks can help protect your mitochondria and cells on your journey. Scientific studies show that deuterium or high-density water accelerates aging.
Be Cognizant of Your Own Technology. Have your phone on airplane mode when you can, especially if it’s in your pocket near to important bits of your body as ‘distance is your friend’ when it come to technology. I’d also avoid using wireless earphones as they send an amount of electromagnetic radiation into your brain and they have been linked to headaches, tinnitus, insomnia, mental health issues and more. Use traditional wired headphones; this is especially important for children and teenagers as their brains are not fully developed yet and are much more sensitive to radiation.
Remember there are many advantages to travel. Stay happy and healthy on your trips as well as at home.