Vitamins and minerals play an important role in keeping bones strong, boosting immune system and repairing and rebuilding worn out tissues. And because running is an exercise which taxes many of the body’s systems, health authorities such as the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that every runner needs to make an extra effort to get those vitamins and minerals. Here are some vitamins for running endurance.
1. Vitamin D
Runners need this crucial vitamin to keep bones healthy. Vitamin D is necessary for absorbing calcium and regulating phosphorus which both keep the bones strong. Runners in cold countries or those who train indoors should always supplement with this nutrient.
Best natural sources – Sunshine, fortified breads and cereals, egg yolk, tuna, dairy, orange juice, margarine and mushrooms.
Daily dosage– Athletes need at least 400-600 IU/per day of this vitamin.
Many runners are on a calorie-restricted diet. This leads to very low intake of this bone building and bone repairing nutrient. Calcium plays a crucial role in many body functions including regulating heart function, and preventing cramps.
Best sources from food– Milk, yogurt, fortified juices, cottage cheese, beans, oranges and broccoli.
Daily dosage-Runners in the age group of 19-50 years need at least 1000 mg of calcium per day.
3. B vitamins
Research shows that exercise can increase the need for B complex as much as twice the current recommended amount. If you are eating healthy and adequate, you should get most of your B vitamin from plant and animal sources. However, athletes who are on restricted diets need to take a supplement with B vitamins. The main B vitamins include B1, B12 and B6 vitamins. They help convert carbohydrates into glucose for energy and also build red blood cells to prevent anemia. B complex is also needed for growth and metabolism of fats and proteins.
Best sources from food– whole grain cereals, green vegetables, poultry and fish.
Daily dosage– The best supplements for ultra runners mostly contains the recommended daily allowance of all B vitamins.
Runners need iron for forming important oxygen carrying proteins, hemoglobin and without it, they are likely to feel tired, and easily winded. Low levels of this nutrient also limit one’s capacity for exercise and impair muscle function. Unfortunately, iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies afflicting female runners. So look for the best multivitamin for runners.
Best sources from food-meat, black beans, fortified grains and cereals. Always eat citrusy fruits and vitamin C rich foods for aiding absorption of iron.
Daily dosage– The Institute of Medicine recommends that women should get at least 18 mg of iron per day.
5. Vitamin C
This antioxidant boosts the immune system and also supports collagen formation. It aids in iron absorption to prevent fatigue and anemia. As an antioxidant, it also assists in cancer prevention and warding off heart disease. Vitamin C is also crucial for scar tissue formation.
Best sources from food– cantaloupe, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli and grapefruit.
Daily dosage-60 to 75 mg per day.
6. Vitamin E
The reason why this vitamin is included in the best vitamins for running endurance is because of the fact that it helps lessen damage to the body after hard training. It also boosts immunity.
Best sources of food-Rice, vegetable oil, leafy vegetables.
Daily dosage-Athletes may take up to 100-200 IU per day.
7. Vitamin K
Many best vitamin pack for runners contains vitamin K as it prevents blood clotting and aids in bone metabolism.
Best food sources-vegetable oils, fish, leafy vegetables.
Recommended daily dosage– Up to 60 mcg per day.
This mineral plays a crucial role in bone growth, generating energy and regulating body temperature. It works with calcium to perform muscle contraction and relaxation. This also means that magnesium is needed for relieving overall stress in the body.
Best sources- Bananas, green vegetables, apples, whole grain bread etc.
Recommended daily dosage-Look for best multivitamin for runners containing at least 300-350 mg per day.
This crucial nutrient is needed for every chemical reaction that is performed in the human body. It assists in using up carbohydrates for energy and stimulates heart and muscle contractors.
Best sources of food– You can get phosphorus from meat, fish, chicken, eggs and whole grains.
Helps in removing carbon dioxide from exercising muscles, boosts the immune system and protects the body from toxins and pollutants.
Best sources of food-Beef, lamb, chicken and seeds.
Recommended daily value-At least up to 35 mg per day.
11. Fish oil
This is not a vitamin but a crucial omega 3 essential fatty acid source that is health protective. Fish oil is very important for heart, joint and brain health and even the fittest athlete is not immune to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends 12 oz or 3 servings of fatty fish per week such as salmon, tuna etc.
Best sources– fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and canola oil.
Recommended daily dosage-Look for best fish oil supplement for runners with 700-1000 mg of EPA and 200-500 mg of DHA. For more information on fish oil supplementation, click here.
Take these vitamins for running endurance as per the guidance of your coach/trainer.