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Supplements for Runners

supplements for runners

Please consult with your physician before starting any new supplements!

I finally felt like a “real” runner when I started to think of food as fuel for improving my running, especially instead of using long runs as an excuse to eat junk food for the entire day (although, honestly, that still happens).

It’s important to me to eat real, whole foods as much as possible. While I do my best to eat a well rounded diet, I know that there’s always room for improvement. I started taking various supplements a few years ago to help with some digestion and energy issues. Since then, I’ve also experimented with a few supplements that are commonly used by runners, and I’ve had great success with them.

 

Iron

Anemia, a condition where you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to your tissues, is slightly more prevalent in endurance athletes and can be caused by iron deficiency. Additionally, female endurance athletes, particularly vegetarians like myself, may suffer from amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation, which can also be brought on by low iron levels.

Low energy and fatigue are two hallmark symptoms of low iron levels. If you think you may have an iron deficiency, try to get more of the mineral naturally through food sources like tuna, chicken, lentils, or tofu. If that doesn’t do the trick, have your doctor check your levels and discuss taking an iron supplement.

 

Glucosamine

Known best for it’s use in conjunction with knee joint pain, glucosamine helps regenerate cartilage and reduce inflammation. While recent studies have questioned the effectiveness of the supplement, there is evidence that glucosamine does help relieve knee discomfort, a common complaint of runners.

 

Probiotics

During my first year of running, I developed a nasty case of ischemic colitis, an inflammation of the large intenstine. Running is really, really hard on your digestive track. To help keep things moving internally (so you can move better externally), try to take in more probiotics, live bacteria that do great things for your digestive system. You can do this by eating more yogurt or taking a probiotic supplement.

 

Magnesium

Know the stereotype of runners eating a banana at the finish line? It’s because it’s an excellent source of magnesium. This mineral is used in more than 300 chemical processes that help sustain life – everything from muscle contraction and relaxation to bone health and energy metabolism. Other great sources of magnesium include: pumpkin seeds, almonds, rice, and spinach.

 

Protein

Runners tend to be very carb-centric, but many of us fail to get adequate protein in our diets. For those hoping to use running as a way to lose fat, research indicates that you should aim to consume 30% of your daily calories from protein. Many runners prefer whey protein, as it’s typically easiest to digest. Making protein the focus of your diet for a while, combined with weightlifting 2-3 time a week in addition to a normal running schedule, will help ensure that you lose fat not muscle mass.

 

Sources:

Can Supplements Cure Your Knee Pain?
Why Endurance Athletes Need Magnesium
Protein Intake and Performance for Runners

 

supplements for runners

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Erica House has her Masters in Psychology and has been teaching at the University level since 2007. She is certified as a Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine as well as a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. After quitting smoking and maintaining a 50 pound weight loss she became passionate about helping others on their journey to lifelong happiness and wellness.

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