Essential Supplements for Runners
Supplements are a great support for runners and athletes, but the first best vitamins and minerals “supplements” is a healthy balanced diet. The reason why runners and athletes have to add vitamins and minerals supplements to their daily diet is to give your body some extra nutrients it might be missing, give your body some energy and support your recovery. For long-distance runners, their body gets depleted of many vitamins and minerals during long-distance runs. It is crucial to replenish your body to make sure you recover and avoid any injuries or health issues. Supplements are no “magic pills” but they can support your body and increase your energy level and performance. Once your body is depleted of some vitamin or mineral in can affect your overall health, create fatigue, low energy levels, and weak muscles. Taking supplements should go according to your diet, training effort and distance. These are the basic most essential supplements your body will require as a runner, to help support your training and overall health.
There are many pre-workout energy supplements, powder, drinks, you have to test them pre-run. These supplements often have side effects such as stomach discomfort, higher heart rate, dizziness or lack of sleep. The most natural pre-run energy boost is caffeine, before your run you can have a small coffee or green tea to activate your metabolism in a natural way. Some runners feel energetic once they wake up, so they don’t need to take any energy boosting supplements.
Every part of our body is interconnected, a healthy gut is crucial to look after our overall health. Gut health can affect our immune system, nervous system, and hormones. If our level of gut bacteria is low, it can increase inflammation in our body. Taking probiotic supplements daily will provide good bacteria in our system to help with digestion, absorption of nutrients, fighting of bad bacteria to keep us healthy.
Calcium is another key supplement for runners to look after runner’s joints and bone health. Low levels of calcium can cause stress fractures, knee issues and many other types of injuries. Once our body is depleted of calcium, our system will pull calcium from bone storage, then our bones will get depleted, bone loss will occur, followed by injuries. Runners need to take calcium supplements, especially due to the constant impact on the joints when running long-distance.
4. Vitamin C and E
There are a few vitamin and mineral supplements runners should include in their daily diet, but vitamin C and E are the basic ones that are very important. These vitamins are great antioxidants, vitamin C helps fight the oxidative damage caused by long runs and environmental toxins. Vitamin C also helps the body process collagen to support the muscle tendons and ligaments. Vitamin E helps support your heart and cardiovascular system, it also helps the body fight free radical damage caused by long-distance training. Multivitamins supplements are also very important for runners, to make sure our body doesn’t get depleted of any vitamins or minerals.
People don’t realize how their body often is depleted of certain vitamins and minerals which can cause some serious side effects, like fatigue, muscle ache, heart issues. Magnesium is one of the most common one and one of the most important for runners. Magnesium promotes bone and muscle strength, helps with muscle recovery, and support the cardiovascular health and nerve function. Other vitamins that high percentage of runners get depleted of are vitamin D and B12. Iron is also very common especially in women.
6. Vitamin D3
D3 is essential to help absorb the calcium. People get depleted of vitamin D due to stress, lack of sleep and dehydration. Vitamin D helps support the energy level and support bone health.
When runners train regularly or run long-distance, the body gets into calorie deficit. Once our body is lacking calories due to long training sessions, we start getting leaner and losing muscle mass. The body starts breaking down fat and muscle tissue, rather than making it, BCAA’s will help maintain some muscle mass, by providing amino acids, which will help build more muscles, provide extra energy to your muscle cells, reduce fatigue, increases protein synthesis and stimulate muscle growth after your run. You can take BCAA’s before, during or after your run or strength training.
Glutamine is part of our blood plasma and muscles, it provides fuel to our immune cells. Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, due to intense or long-distance training, glutamine gets depleted of the plasma, which can cause illnesses. Glutamine helps with muscle growth and recovery, promotes a healthy digestive system, helps with rehydration and endurance. This supplement is another important one for runners. Take it after the run.
This supplement is very popular to help burn body fat and weight loss, but for runners there are other important benefits. L-Carnitine helps improve athletic performance, it delivers extra energy by turning our own body fat into ATP (adenosine triphosphate). It helps produce maximal oxygen consumption by creating more red blood cells. Take it first thing in the morning.
10. Omega 3’s
If you can eat enough food containing Omega 3’s- Fish: salmon, sardines, mackerel, seabass, trout, shrimp, oysters. Vegan: Flaxseeds, Chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, seaweed, edamame. For runners running long-distance or not eating enough of Omega 3’s food, taking supplements daily will help with muscle growth and recovery, improve strength and performance, it helps reduce the risk of muscle damage and soreness.
Train Well, Eat Well, Feel Great!