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April 2000 Vol. 15, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Jettisoning Jetlag?

from the April, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

If you rely on melatonin to reduce jet lag (and we do), then you will be unhappy with the latest study that concludes melatonin is no better than a placebo.

After flying from New York to Norway (six hour differential), traveling physicians receiving melatonin experienced just as much jet lag as fellow travelers given placebos, reports psychiatrist Robert L. Spitzer of Columbia University (American Journal of Psychiatry/September issue). To gauge the severity of jet lag, Spitzer focused on fatigue, daytime sleepiness, loss of concentration and alertness, memory troubles, weakness, clumsiness, lethargy, and lightheadedness.

Most subjects in each treatment group endured a blast of jet lag on their first day home, followed by progressive improvement. Neither of the melatonin treatments eased the transition better than placebo use. Therefore, any dent in jet lag attributable to melatonin may stem simply from your belief that the hormone will provide relief. So Im still a believer.

Then again, more than one traveler has told me that the latest fad, a new herbal remedy from New Zealand, is the best of all. No Jet Lag is supposed to stop jet lag in its tracks, and their website tells you so. Order from the web (www.nojetlag.com), by telephone (888-523-4537, Kaehler Travel Works; or 800-874-9397, the Travel Store), or pick it up in most airports. For $9.95 you get enough for 40 air hours.

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