Vacation season is upon us with all the excitement of
trips to exotic places-- or maybe just across the continent.
Unfortunately, along with the fun and pleasure of long trips,
comes the scourge of jet lag.
Jet lag disrupts sleep patterns and causes temporary insomnia.
It raises havoc with the digestive system, even to the point of
nausea. In fact, jet lag can disrupt the body's natural rhythm.
The sufferer may feel everything from a minor malaise to full-
blown illness that resembles a severe case of the flu. Whether
you suffer from only a mild occurrence, or if jet lag hits you
full force, it can certainly take the joy out of your vacation.
Professional athletes are especially vulnerable to jet lag.
They're often called upon to travel across the country or half
way around the world to compete and the travel and jet lag tend
to interfere with the way they perform. This factor may be
detrimental to teams playing in major sporting events
People are continually trying various means to combat the after
effects of long flights, from trying to prepare before the trip
to medication to bright light therapy on arrival. Sometimes some
of these things work. Sometimes they don't.
Wear sunglasses inside and out during the early days of the
trip. Some experts believe that shutting out early morning light
helps to reset the circadian clock, the opposite of the bright
light theory that advocates staying out in the sunlight or under
the brightest artificial lighting.
Many people have tried melatonin to combat the miseries of jet
lag. For some people it works. For others, it does nothing, and
for a few people, it even made the situation worse, causing
weird dreams and troubled sleep once the sufferer did manage to
Help for the jet lagged may be on its way in the form of a food
supplement called e-NAD-alert. E-NAD-alert is a form of the co-
enzyme NADH which has long been touted as an energy builder.
Now researchers believe that they can change the timing of the
circadian rhythm by the use of food. Senior author of the
report, Dr Clifford Saper, is Chairman of the Department of
Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in
Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Dr. Saper tells us, "We discovered that a single cycle of
starvation followed by refeeding turns on the clock, so that it
effectively overrides the suprachiasmatic nucleus and hijacks
all of the circadian rhythms onto a new time zone that
corresponds with food availability."
The system works well when food is plentiful. Animals' body
clocks or circadian rhythm follows the daily cycle of light and
dark. But when food availability is disrupted, for instance if
it becomes available only during their normal sleep period,
animals are able to shift their circadian rhythm to a new
pattern so as to be awake (and presumably alert) when food is
Dr. Saper continues: "A period of fasting with no food at all
for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock. So, in
this case, simply avoiding any food on the plane, and then
eating as soon as you land, should help you to adjust - and
avoid some of the uncomfortable feelings of jet lag."
Published On: June 02, 2008