Scientific test of No-Jet-Lag **
Considerable research has been conducted into methods of reducing the effects
of jet-lag on long-haul air travellers, including the use of melatonin, special
diets and bright light therapy, but most are complicated to use and/or have adverse
side-effects. A homeopathic remedy, No-Jet-Lag, was
developed to counter jet-lag, and informal testing and anecdotal reports
indicated a significant reduction in the symptoms.
That No-Jet-Lag would reduce the symptoms of jet-lag
commonly experienced after long-haul travel.
Nineteen volunteers with previous inter-continental air travel experience were
tested in a double blind placebo-controlled crossover trial on a flight from
New Zealand to Europe and return (equivalent to travelling round the world),
completing survey forms before departure and after arrival on each leg.
The subjects taking the remedy showed less fatigue-inertia and had more
vigor-activity compared to the subjects taking the placebo.
The homeopathic group remedy No-Jet-Lag can reduce
jet-lag symptoms after long-haul flights.
Jet-lag symptoms are a common problem for air travellers after long flights
especially when passing through several time zones. They are regarded as a
significant factor impairing the post-flight performance of business travellers,
sports competitors and general users of long-distance air transport.
Jet-lag is attributed primarily to the body's need to resynchronize its
endogenous circadian rhythm to the night and day cycle of the new environment.
However, other factors also contribute to the jet-lag syndrome.
These include the traveller being tired, stressed, ill or hung-over at the start
of the journey; the dryness and sometimes the staleness and lack of air in
aircraft passenger cabins; alcohol consumption, which can exacerbate dehydration;
restricted physical mobility during the flight; and pressure changes associated
with the rapid climb to and descent from cruising altitudes of around 30,000 feet,
which are not fully compensated even in pressurized aircraft.
One approach to jet-lag that has received much attention is the use of a synthetic
form of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the body's inbuilt body-clock.
It has been extensively trialled and found to be successful in
alleviating jet-lag (3), but long term side-effects are a concern and yet to be
fully established. In some countries including the European Community, Canada and
Australia, such concerns have led to the status of melatonin being changed from
over-the-counter to prescription-only sale. In the USA, melatonin remains freely
available. The dosage is complicated, involving the taking of melatonin for several
days before the flight and again for several days after the flight is completed.
Timing of the dose has been found to be crucial, and incorrect use can result in
jet-lag being made worse rather than better. One trial group which was given
melatonin before instead of after arrival home from a nine-day trip made a worse
recovery than a control group taking a placebo, reporting more jet-lag and fatigue
symptoms (4). Some reports indicate that users who forgot to take melatonin on
the third night after returning home found jet-lag symptoms returning the
Bright light therapy is another approach to the problem of jet-lag, but as with
melatonin, the treatment is complicated and can be very inconvenient. Eastward
travel requires exposure to bright light early in the day after arrival and
westward travel requires it at the end of the day (5). The light intensity required
is 3,000 lux which is available outside in some regions and climatic conditions
but not all, and not for those restricted to indoor activities (6). A solution
to the lack of bright outdoor light is the use of light boxes. These range in
price from US$40 to US$400 and usually weigh about 10lbs, making treatment by
light boxes both expensive and cumbersome.
Another method is the anti jet-lag diet. Like melatonin this is only for people
with lots of time on their hands who can devote several days before and after a
trip to looking after themselves according to a strict regime. It is complicated
and there is little evidence that it works, although it has some passionate
The impracticalities, complexities and expense of the above treatments suggest
the need for other approaches to the problem of jet-lag. The homeopathic approach
was adopted because of the simplicity and convenience of the dosage regimen, the
low cost and the lack of toxic side effects.
The trial was designed to investigate the effects of No-Jet-Lag
during and after a group's flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Frankfurt,
Germany, and return, in such a way that experiences of jet-lag and mood could be
closely monitored for seven days after each part of the trip.
Subjects completed a Profile of Mood States questionnaire designed to measure
six fluctuating affective states, two of which were relevant to jet-lag,
namely, vigor-activity and fatigue-inertia. They were asked other questions
on how anxious and energetic they felt. In addition a self-evaluation
questionnaire was used to study issues related to jet-lag such as stress,
nervousness, confusion, calmness and self-confidence. These questionnaires
were filled in two hours prior to departure, and again the day after arrival
at both Frankfurt and Auckland, and also seven days after arrival at both
destinations. Subjects were also encouraged to make any comments they thought
might be useful to the outcome of the trial.
All participants were seasoned travellers with experience of long inter-continental
flights through at least five time zones, and were in good health. The group
consisted of proficient skiers who had previously travelled from New Zealand
to North American and European ski fields, and this was their annual trip to
Europe to ski and buy equipment. Having a level of fitness higher than that of
average travellers, they were possibly able to resist the effects of jet-lag
better than most.
The subjects flew from Auckland to Frankfurt in an eastward direction through
12 time zones on a 23-hour flight, returning on a similar flight of 25 hours
westwards 16 days later. The subjects were randomly assigned in a double blind
procedure to receive No-Jet-Lag or the placebo on the
outward flight and the
other substance on the return journey. Each subject received one bottle of
tablets in Auckland and the other bottle before departure in Frankfurt for the
return journey. Each bottle was labelled with either a "M" or "F"
for gender identification and a 3-digit code. These codes were placed on each sheet
of the questionnaire. The subjects chewed one tablet on take-off, one tablet every
three hours while flying and one tablet after landing.
No-Jet-Lag is manufactured according to guidelines of
Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) under GMP conditions.
The trial used the POMS (Profile of Moods States) questionnaire to
measure two fluctuating affective states relevant to jet-lag, namely vigor-activity
and fatigue-inertia (7). Individual scale items were summed using standard
procedures, and the data were analyzed with the statistical package for the
social sciences, SPSS (8), with one-way analyses of variance and t tests.
The data showed mean fatigue-inertia scores (Fig. 1) were consistently higher
in subjects taking placebos than in subjects taking the remedy (9.47 vs 5.63;
p = 0.026). The mean vigor-activity (Fig. 2) was also lower in subjects taking
the placebo than in subjects taking the remedy (18.11 vs 21.16; p = 0.072).
For all of the other states measured by the POMS questionnaire, which were less
relevant to jet-lag, the p value was greater than 0.05.
No-Jet-Lag reduces fatigue/tiredness and increases energy/vigor compared with
Fig. 1. Differences in fatigue-inertia scores between the two groups taking
placebo and No-Jet-Lag (dose every three hours while
flying) on a long-haul flight
from Auckland to Frankfurt and return. N=19,
P=0.026 which indicates a significant difference between the placebo
and No-Jet-Lag administration.
Fig. 2. Differences in vigor-activity scores between the two groups placebo and
No-Jet-Lag (dose every three hours while flying) on a long-haul flight from
Auckland to Frankfurt and return. N=19,
Analysis of the survey forms completed after each leg showed subjects taking
No-Jet-Lag experienced less jet-lag and took less time
to recover from their shift across 12 time zones.
Those taking No-Jet-Lag slept without interruption on
the first night after
arrival and woke up the next morning refreshed and feeling quite normal,
whereas those who took the placebo did not sleep well, woke up at strange
times in the night and had difficulty getting back to sleep and woke up the
next morning feeling jet-lagged. The difference was also borne out by their
skiing performance after arrival in Europe. Those who had taken the remedy
reported skiing well, while those who had taken the placebo were still tired and
skied poorly the first day and even during later sessions on the slopes. When
asked if they knew whether they had taken the remedy or the placebo, they said
that on arrival in Germany the whole party all felt very tired but most
were already fairly sure which treatment they had taken. By the next day when
they had been skiing it was increasingly obvious which treatment they had taken.
The consensus view by those taking No-Jet-Lag was that they were skiing as well
as they would have on a local ski field at home, apart from slight tiredness.
Those skiers who took the placebo took several days to return to their usual
After the trial was completed, subjects were asked if they thought
was effective in treating jet-lag. Of the 19 who completed the trial, 14 (74%)
said it was effective, five said they were not sure, and none said it was not
effective. Those who were not sure said they thought that No-Jet-Lag
On the outward journey, of the 19 taking part, 13 (68%)
correctly guessed whether they had taken the placebo or No-Jet-Lag.
Of the others,
three did not know and three incorrectly assigned themselves to the wrong group.
On the return journey, two were incorrect, three did not know and 14 (74%) correctly
guessed. By comparison, a trial of melatonin (2) involving 17 travellers showed that
on the outward leg, six guessed incorrectly, five guessed correctly, and nine did not know,
while on the return leg five did not know, six were incorrect and nine (just over half)
were correct. Subjects in the No-Jet-Lag trial were asked to comment on any
side-effects or difficulties in taking either the placebo or the remedy. None
were reported. This result was as expected, as there are no reported side effects of the ingredients in
either the placebo or No-Jet-Lag.
The tour leader reported that in conversation with subjects at the time of
completion of the last questionnaire, several commented that they had noticed
when using No-Jet-Lag that they experienced less swelling
of lower limbs,
found it easier to sleep in flight and noted a lack of disrupted sleep in the days
after arrival. These effects were not specifically tested for in the trial and
warrant further tests.
The results of this study support the use of No-Jet-Lag
as a remedy for jet-lag
symptoms on long-haul flights. These results were consistent with those
from informal testing of No-Jet-Lag carried out since
1988, including a survey
of 55 flight attendants on routes between New Zealand and Asia, North America
and Europe, which showed 75% considered the remedy effective (1).
The lack of any adverse side effects in subjects taking No-Jet-Lag
is well tolerated at the dose used. Further trials are suggested to specifically
test individual factors that may or may not contribute to jet-lag, for example
the amount of water and alcohol drunk (as dehydration is suspected of making
jet-lag worse). In such further trials the amount of non-alcoholic and
alcoholic fluids should be carefully monitored and possibly controlled to remove
this factor. It is possible that the results in our trial might have been different
had we used subjects with only an average level of fitness rather than the higher
level possessed by those doing the trial, although we have no firm reason to
believe this would be so.
taking a placebo or not using any treatment when flying long distances.
Professor K. Kumar Ph.D.
Professor of Biopharmaceutics/Pharmacokinetics
Howard University, College of Pharmacy
Washington D.C. 20059
United States of America
Director of Research
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