Nutrition Supplements for My Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike
Like everyone else, I want to make sure I’m taking care of myself by getting proper nutrition while out on the trail. Beyond just packing on the calories, it can be a challenge getting all the micronutrients we need to thrive from packaged food, and so I have decided to carry some nutritional supplements for my Through-Hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018.
I prefer real, fresh, whole food to anything coming out of a package, but when I can’t get that, I look towards supplementing my diet.
First up on my list is Silver Sol – a broad spectrum anti-microbial that is proven effective against viruses, bacteria and fungus, like SARS, H1N1, Bubonic Plague, E. Coli and athletes foot. It may also be effective in combating diseases like Norovirus and Lyme Disease. This is different from the older ‘colloidal silver’ products, and has scientific proof it works. When I first heard about it, I was highly sceptical. I tried it out on an expedition to climb a remote mountain near the Tibetan border in China. Everyone got sick (possibly from unclean food), except my wife and I, who were both taking Silver Sol. Since then, this has been with me on every trip and expedition. It’s been a great comfort to me when I can’t get immediate access to a doctor.
Green drinks claim to be nutritional powerhouses. With a diet low in fresh fruit and vegetables, they are a safe bet for most vitamin and mineral needs with a few exceptions – minerals like magnesium and calcium are usually insufficient, as is vitamin B12. Most of these drinks are somewhat of an ‘acquired’ taste, so it’s important you find one that you can stomach. My choice is Novaforme’s CytoGreens. It has a good amount of spirulina, a little protein, no probiotics, but it has enzymes and pre-biotics. If you are vegan, or on a limited budget, I’d just get a green drink and skip the rest.
Something from the Land
Desiccated liver tablets have been a mainstay of the bodybuilding world for decades. They are a protein source with a complete amino acid profile, full spectrum of B vitamins (including B12), bioavailable heme iron for blood building (red blood cells are apparently destroyed from all the foot pounding we do as hikers), and some mysterious ‘anti-fatigue factor’, which is supposed to improve endurance in a study done on drowning rats (Source).
Something from the Sea
Fish oil is rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids and has many uses. It’s anti-inflammatory, and protective of the heart, brain, eyes, skin and many other organs. When I was climbing Everest, I had a small bag of pills with me, but the only ones I could swallow were the fish oil and liver tablets. Maybe my body knew which ones were actually good for me. I made the summit, but at the end of the trip, I had a little bag of pills, minus all the fish oil and liver ones, and lots of sachets of protein powder, which I just could not stomach.
That’s what I would take to just about any trip around the world. For the Pacific Crest Trail Through-Hike, I’m taking along some extra items, like evaporated coconut water for minerals and electrolytes, chia seeds (another nutrition powerhouse), and ghee/MCT oil for fat/energy. I made a list at iHerb for easy reordering along the trail.