Jet Lag supplement, natural treatment, vitamins, herbs, melatonin pineal hormone over the counter
September 22 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Jet lag occurs more often when traveling west to east, such as from California to New York or from New York to Europe. Jet lag also occurs on long distance east to west travel such as from USA to Australia or Asia.

Air travel is a common mode of transportation in today's society, particularly for individuals traveling long distances. Sleep disturbances associated with air travel frequently result in cognitive and physiologic impairments that may be detrimental to the traveler's experience and intent.

Ways to cope with jet lag
The use of melatonin is helpful if you are traveling east and you can find excellent suggestions at this sleep article for natural ways to get a better rest. You can purchase Melatonin 1 mg and there is a 3 mg melatonin available.

Drink plenty of water. Keep yourself well hydrated throughout the flight. Avoid caffeine if you are traveling east since you will need to go to bed sooner than you normally do. Get up and stretch now and then to stimulate your circulation, and dress comfortably. Do sitting yoga positions or stretches. When you arrive at a western destination, expose yourself to as much natural daylight as you can. Light is the most powerful influence on the timing of your body’s internal clock. Consider melatonin. You can take 0.5 to 3 mg of melatonin an hour to 3 hours before bedtime for one or two nights to significantly reduce jet lag.

Melatonin is recommended for hastening adaptation to phase shift, but there is little information on appropriate formulations. We evaluated the efficacy of three melatonin formulations for circadian phase advance and delay: (a) 3 mg regular release (RR), (b) 3 mg sustained release (SR), and (c) 3 mg surge-sustained release (SSR; consisting of 1 mg RR and 2 mg SR). Circadian phase was assessed by salivary melatonin dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) or offset (MelOff) using thresholds of (1) 1.0 pg/ml and (2) mean baseline + 2 standard deviations (BL + 2SD). Subjects spent from Tuesday evenings until Thursday in the laboratory. Melatonin (or placebo) was administered at 1600 hours (phase advance) Wednesday, with DLMO assessment on Tuesday and Thursday and at 0600 hours (phase delay) Wednesday, with DLMO assessment Tuesday, Wednesday, and MelOff Thursday morning. Similar but smaller phase advances were found with BL + 2SD. Using MelOff, posttreatment phase position for the RR formulation was delayed compared to placebo. Phase shifts for the SR and SSR conditions could not be determined due to persistent high melatonin levels during sampling times. Similar phase advances were induced by all formulations, and slow clearance of slow release preparations impeded the determination of phase delays. Appropriately timed 0.5 mg melatonin doses may avoid these problems. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Feb. Melatonin treatment for eastward and westward travel preparation. Paul MA, Miller JC, Gray GW, Love RJ, Lieberman HR. Defence Research & Development Canada, 1133 Sheppard Ave. West, Toronto ON, Canada.

Jet lag and pine bark extract Pycnogenol
Dr. Gianni Belcaro of G. D'Annunzio University in Pescara, Italy and colleagues had people take Pycnogenol every day for a week starting two days before a seven- to nine-hour flight to specifically evaluate the pine bark extract's effects on jet lag symptoms. Study participants were assigned to take 50 milligrams of Pycnogenol three times a day or to a control group. In the first part of the two-part study, the 32 patients who took the extract and completed the study scored 56 percent lower on a scale measuring jet lag symptoms like fatigue, grogginess, and insomnia 48 hours after their flight, compared to the 30 controls. Their symptoms also lasted 18 hours, on average, while those who didn't take Pycnogenol had symptoms lasting an average of 39 hours. In the second part of the study, participants underwent a brain scan within 28 hours of their flight. The control participants showed more swelling in the brain than these took Pycnogenol; their short-term memory also was more impaired, and the severity of their memory problems correlated to the amount of swelling in their lower limbs. Minerva Cardioangiologica, 2008.

Danger of shift work and jet lag
Working unusual shifts and flying back and forth across time zones and experiencing jet lag takes a permanent toll on health. Tests on mice show that old mice forced to live on a confusing schedule of light and darkness, simulating rotating shifts or international travel, die sooner than those on gentler schedules. Young mice treated in a similar way did just fine. Gene Block, a professor of biology, and colleague Alec Davidson said they stumbled onto the findings by accident. Genetically engineered mice in another experiment died when they were put under lights six hours earlier than usual, but no mice died if the light schedule was delayed. So they tested three groups of mice, with about 30 old mice and 9 young mice in each group. One group had its light/dark cycle shifted forward by six hours -- the equivalent of waking people up six hours early -- every week for eight weeks. A second group had its schedule shifted back by six hours, and the third group's schedule was unaltered. They found that 83 percent of old mice survived under the normal schedule, 68 percent lived after eight weeks of shifting steadily backward, but fewer than half -- 47 percent -- survived when the lights regularly came on six hours earlier. When they speeded the schedule up, changing the light schedule every four days, even more mice died. The mice were not obviously stressed by this -- their daily levels of a stress hormone called corticosterone did not increase. Other studies have shown that hormones associated with wake/sleep cycles, such as melatonin, as well as so-called "clock" genes, can affect aging and immune system processes.

Another great option is Good Night Rx which has a small amount of melatonin with additional  inducing herbs and nutrients but it is currently out of stock.