Runners tend to be a health-conscious group. Odds are, when you're serious about your training, you pay close attention to what you eat. Even a healthy diet, however, can leave you deficient in important vitamins and minerals. To help ward off injury and take your training to the next level, consider adding in a few supplements.
Low iron can be a problem for anyone, and you're probably familiar with the most common symptom of iron-deficiency anemia—fatigue. For runners, however, a sudden drop in athletic performance can also point to anemia. Iron has an important role in the body. It's used in the creation of hemoglobin, a protein found in blood. Oxygen needs hemoglobin to travel to throughout the body, so if your hemoglobin levels are low, your muscles may be oxygen-deprived and less capable of handling the demands of running.
Iron supplements can help boost your iron levels, leading to an increased production of hemoglobin and, hopefully, a return to normal athletic performance.
Running is a high-impact activity. Your muscles, bones, and joints take a beating each time your foot strikes the pavement. To help fight off stress fractures and other bone-related injuries, make sure you're getting enough calcium. Aim to consume at least 1,000 milligrams per day, either through supplements or high-calcium foods such as yogurt and milk.
From keeping your blood pressure in check and your immune system functioning, magnesium does a little of everything. Runners deficient in magnesium may find that they suffer from muscle spasms, poor performance, and cramps. Maintaining your body's magnesium levels can be a challenge—too much can cause diarrhea and overtax your kidneys. Before loading up on supplements, you may want to have a doctor check your levels to be sure your symptoms are due to a magnesium deficiency.
You've got calcium for your bones and magnesium to keep the muscle cramps at bay. To take care of your joints, studies indicate you may want to reach for a bottle of glucosamine. One study looked at Navy SEALS with knee pain. Those taking glucosamine noticed a decrease in pain after taking the supplement for 16 weeks.
Fish or Flaxseed Oil
In addition to glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids may be a powerful weapon in the fight against joint pain. Found naturally in fatty fish and nuts, as well as fish oil and flaxseed oil supplements, omega-3s act as a natural anti-inflammatory, helping reduce joint pain and ward off injury.
Running is hard on your body. Making sure you're getting the right vitamins and minerals can keep you healthy and injury-free. If you do get injured, contact Adult & Pediatric Orthopedics SC or a similar location.