Some people take supplements to help with jet lag. However, there is no evidence that vitamin supplements help with jet lag symptoms. Some research suggests that melatonin may benefit a person experiencing jet lag.

People in an airport baggage collectionShare on Pinterest
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jet lag is a circadian rhythm disorder that occurs when a person’s internal clock is out of alignment with their external environment. Symptoms can include:

  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • poor sleep quality
  • memory problems

This article provides an overview of melatonin as a supplement for jet lag, outlines different types of vitamins that may benefit fatigue and sleep, and discusses possible side effects and contraindications. We also look at other remedies and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Research indicates that 2 in 3 people may experience jet lag. Symptoms usually occur within 1 or 2 days after a person crosses at least two time zones. The more time zones a person crosses, the higher their risk of jet lag.

Jet lag resolves gradually after 4–6 days as a person adjusts to the new local time.

A 2021 systematic review found that melatonin reduced self-reported jet lag.

Other studies have found possible beneficial effects of consuming caffeine during sustained wake times.

Still, because researchers have performed only a limited number of studies on these remedies, there is no specific dosage recommendation, and more research is necessary.

Vitamin supplements for jet lag are becoming popular — in one survey of Australian airline passengers, 20% of the 460 participants reported using them for travel fatigue.

Research continues in this area, as it is not clear how much benefit vitamins may provide for jet lag.

The vitamins below may provide benefits for the following:

  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • sleep duration
  • sleep regulation
  • sleep deprivation

However, there is no evidence to suggest that they reduce jet lag. We will look at their general benefits, side effects, and contraindications.

Vitamin B complex supplements consist of all eight essential water-soluble B vitamins in one capsule. Many B-complex supplements contain about 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of each of the eight B vitamins, which are:

Learn more about vitamin B.

Research on the links between jet lag and vitamin B supplements is limited, but some studies have investigated the effects of B vitamins on insomnia and fatigue.

Possible benefits

A 2019 study found that 3 months of magnesium-melatonin-vitamin B complex supplementation could be beneficial in treating insomnia, regardless of the cause.

A 2020 review showed associations between vitamin B deficiency and fatigue. Generally, supplementation appeared to alleviate this effect.

The above research could prove useful for scientists studying the effects of jet lag-associated fatigue and insomnia.

Side effects

B vitamins are water-soluble and generally safe even at high doses. Generally, there is insufficient evidence of the adverse effects of taking more than the recommended dose of vitamin B.

However, high dose vitamins can turn urine bright yellow. This is usually harmless.

Taking very high doses of supplemental B3 (niacin) may lead to:

The authors of a 2014 case report drew associations between niacin toxicity and multisystem organ damage and liver failure. Large doses of B6 can also cause nerve pain.

A person should speak with a doctor to determine the safest dosage and discuss any concerns.


Vitamin B is generally safe and does not have associations with serious side effects.

There is a high rate of B12 deficiency in people with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, which results in acute or subacute central vision.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. People obtain their RDA of vitamin C from dietary intake of fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens. This is because the body cannot produce this vitamin.

While vitamin C may help reduce sleep disturbance, there is currently no evidence that it is helpful for jet lag specifically.


A 2020 review indicates that vitamin C is important for sleep because it can potentially:

  • increase antioxidants
  • enhance sleep duration
  • reduce sleep disturbances
  • relieve movement disorders
  • decrease the dangerous effects of sleep apnea

These benefits may be helpful for a person experiencing jet lag, but research has not yet determined this.

Vitamin C may also promote improvements in:

  • immune function
  • energy
  • memory
  • concentration

Intake recommendations

The average adult dose of vitamin C is 70–150 milligrams (mg) daily.

Doctors usually administer this orally, but people may receive it as an IV, directly into the bloodstream, if a medical professional suspects a diagnosis of malabsorption.

Side effects

Taking high doses of vitamin C supplements can cause the following adverse effects:

  • osmotic diarrhea
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • kidney stone formation

Other possible adverse effects include:


Certain medical conditions and other factors may increase the risk of interactions with vitamin C, including:

Before taking vitamin C, a person should speak with their doctor about their medical history.

Vitamin D, or calciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a significant role in bone formation and development.

Although the human body produces vitamin D with sun exposure, a person can increase their vitamin D levels through diet or supplements.

More studies must clarify the possible benefits and determine this vitamin’s link to jet lag.


Vitamin D plays a role in sleep regulation, and research associates vitamin D deficiency with a higher risk of sleep disorders.

Various studies suggest that vitamin D also plays important roles in immune function and regulation of inflammation.

Intake recommendations

The current daily recommendation for vitamin D is 15 micrograms, which is equivalent to 600 international units.

Many people may need more than this amount to reach and maintain sufficient vitamin D levels. A person should have a blood test to measure the amount of vitamin D in the blood.

A healthcare professional may recommend dosages at or near the upper limit for some time to treat a vitamin D deficiency.

Learn more about vitamin D levels.

Side effects

Taking large amounts of vitamin D could be harmful. High levels of vitamin D in the blood can cause:

Extremely high vitamin D levels can cause kidney failure and an irregular heartbeat.


Vitamin D supplements may not be the right treatment option for a person if they take medications for some health conditions.

Some medications — including weight loss medications, such as orlistat, and cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins — may reduce the absorption of vitamin D. This will increase a person’s need for the nutrient.

However, a person taking diuretics may experience increased blood calcium levels if they take vitamin D supplements.

People should discuss their medications with a doctor to determine what suits them.

Vitamin E, or tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. People can get vitamin E from dietary sources and supplements.


An older animal study showed that vitamin E treatment prevented chronic sleep deprivation and short- and long-term memory impairment.

However, research has not yet shown these effects in humans. It is also unclear whether this treatment could benefit a person with jet lag, as researchers have not yet undertaken studies of this nature.

Intake recommendations

The RDA for vitamin E for adults is 15 mg per day. This varies for pregnant people and children.

Side effects

In supplement form, high doses of vitamin E may increase the risk of bleeding. People should speak with a doctor to discuss safe doses depending on age and any medical conditions.

However, the vitamin E naturally present in food and beverages is not harmful, and people do not need to limit their intake of it.


Because vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding, people taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications should consult a doctor before taking this vitamin.

Additionally, taking vitamin E supplements while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer could alter the effectiveness of these treatments. People receiving these treatments should speak with a specialist before considering vitamin E supplements.

The Food and Drug Administration monitors dietary supplements for safety before the products reach consumers, but not in the same way as it does for medications.

Health experts recommend that people taking supplements choose a brand carefully and discuss it with a pharmacist or doctor.

Alternative remedies that may improve jet lag symptoms include:

  • getting light exposure, such as sunshine or light therapy
  • drinking lots of water
  • taking melatonin supplements at a dose of up to 5 mg
  • using sedative drugs in the short term, if a doctor prescribes them

Usually, symptoms of jet lag improve after a few days. A person should contact a doctor or sleep specialist if symptoms persist or if they experience jet lag often.

Below are some FAQs about jet lag.

Is jet lag bad for you?

Symptoms of jet lag are temporary, ranging from mild to moderate, and are usually not dangerous. Jet lag typically resolves within a few days.

What are the side effects of jet lag?

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), symptoms of jet lag include:

  • difficulty sleeping at bedtime and waking up in the morning
  • tiredness and exhaustion
  • difficulty staying awake during the day
  • poor sleep quality
  • concentration and memory problems

Jet lag can also sometimes cause:

Is there a cure for jet lag?

The NHS notes that there is no cure for jet lag. However, certain medications and home remedies can offer relief.

Is it possible to prevent jet lag?

A person may not be able to prevent jet lag. However, by following a doctor’s prescribed treatment and using home remedies, they may be able to reduce symptom severity.

Jet lag is a temporary circadian rhythm sleep disorder that affects people who travel across two or more time zones within a short time.

It occurs when the internal body clock is out of sync with the environment. It can cause tiredness, sleep disturbance, gastrointestinal issues, and other symptoms.

A person may be able to take certain vitamins to counteract the symptoms of jet lag. Each vitamin has benefits, possible side effects, and contraindications. Before taking any supplement, people should consult a doctor to determine the safety and suitability for their health.