The life of a big rig truck driver (18-wheelers) is not one conducive to good health. It is, in fact, a profession more conducive to bad health, or at least developing it over time. The challenge is even greater this time of year, when about half the country is wrapped in wintry conditions, and cold and flu season is in a heightened state. Plus truck drivers live life fast – fast trucks, fast food, and fast sleep wherever you can catch a wink before resuming the long haul.
On top of that, truckers log long hours, deal with chaotic sleep patterns (constantly driving from one time zone to another a contributing factor), have a heck of a time following healthy eating habits, and sit behind a wheel for many hours at a time, not able to stretch their bodies. Yet such drivers have to deal with the stresses of bad drivers all around them on the road, and occasional gridlock that can wreak havoc with trucking schedules.
Supplements Can Fill Gaps
If any profession lends itself to the need for nutritional supplements, it is truck driving. Per trucknews.com, “The majority of drivers struggle with getting enough fruits and veggies, leaving a lot of gaps in their diet, but these gaps can be filled with the right supplements. You don’t need to take a lot of different supplements, but you should consider starting with one or two depending on your current health and diet/lifestyle.”
Vitamins and Supplements for Truckers
- Vitamin C. As almost everyone knows, C is helpful for boosting the immune system, especially helpful when you don’t have readymade access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin A. Beneficial for your eyesight, per ezinearticles.com, the quality of which is indispensable for truck drivers, who spend many hours driving at night as well as during daytime.
- Vitamin D. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, which, among other things, is something your body needs to steer away from symptoms of depression. And being cooped up inside a truck cab can limit your exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is available as a supplement, so keep some handy, but like with any other vitamin or supplement mentioned here, it is advisable you discuss its use with your physician – better safe than sorry.
- Valerian root. Wonder Labs’ branded product is Valerin. Valerian root is a perennial plant native to Europe, per takecareof.com, which can deal with nervousness, anxiety, and sleep issues – all of which loom as common for truck drivers. Valerian root provides a calming, sedative effect, good for stress relief, although it's probably best taken when it’s time to sleep.
- Protein. Meat is a good source of protein, normally, but processed meats available at truck-stop eateries might be lacking in protein. A protein source, such as powders that can be easily mixed with water, can help make a snack or quickie meal one that adds protein to what you consume. And protein can help with keeping your body’s tank filled with sufficient energy
- Fiber. In lieu of fruits and veggies, which are rich in fiber, keep a lookout for psyllium husk or ground flax seeds, which can be added to smoothies, yogurts, oats, or cereal, per trucknews.com. Fiber supplements in the form of tablets are also a good bet.
- Omega-3. These are typically found in fish oil. As a fatty acid, they play an important role in brain productivity and heart health by improving gut health and possibly lowering potentially harmful triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure (hypertension), per truckerclassifieds.com.
- Melatonin. This is to help you sleep, without knocking you for a loop like some prescription sleep aids will do. Your body produces melatonin naturally because it knows, based on your circadian rhythm, when it’s time for you to sleep. Getting off that schedule can mess things up for you, so keeping a bottle of melatonin handy can help regulate your sleep patterns.
- Multivitamin. A high-quality multivitamin can help you get through those stretches where consistently enjoying nutrients-rich meals on the road is next to impossible. Subbing multivitamins for real meals for long stretches isn’t a good solution, but in the short term it can help reduce symptoms-causing deficiencies while boosting your immune system, increasing your energy, and decreasing your risk of disease.