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Essential Vitamins for Runners

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If you’re a serious runner or just beginning, the most important factor for your performance is a good nutritional diet.  Proper nutrition is important for your body to function well enough to run.  If you’re looking to boost performance, endurance, or overall health, then a multivitamin supplement can add to your nutritional diet and boost you to your goals.  Here is a list of essential minerals and vitamins to look for in a multivitamin for runners.

Multivitamin for Runners

Studies show these vitamins and minerals benefit runners the most.

  • Vitamin B6 helps the body build red blood cells essential for the body’s recovery process.  It also helps with brain function, protein breakdown, and fatty acid metabolism.  Women runners taking birth control pills often require more B6 because contraceptive depletes the body of B12.
  • Vitamin B12 aids the body in maintaining red blood cells and helps keep nerve fibers healthy and working properly.
  • Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium to keep your bones healthy.  Runners are at risk for low calcium, which can lead to impaired bone function.  This causes stress fractures and elevates inflammation when training harder than normal.  The body produces vitamin D when directly exposed to sunlight, so it will depend on when and where you are running if you need to supplement.  For runners, it’s better to be on the safe side with vitamin D.
  • Vitamin C is a robust antioxidant that fights off free radicals and the damage they can cause.  It helps fight off upper respiratory infections that runners can be susceptible to during cold and flu season.
  • Calcium builds strong bones and teeth; it aids in the body’s normal clotting system, and it helps muscle contraction.  Calcium contributes to the prevention of stress fractures and severe injury to bones and muscles.
  • Iron is essential for the body to form oxygen-carrying compounds in the blood and muscles.  A supplement with iron will help fight off anemia, which causes chronic fatigue and poor recovery.  Iron deficiency is common in runners, so make sure you don’t run low.
  • Potassium works with sodium to balance your body’s fluid and electrolyte levels.  For runners, this is essential because adequate potassium is what keeps your heartbeat regulated and keeps muscles from cramping.
  • Sodium­ is necessary to maintain a normal blood pressure and to keep your muscles functioning properly.  It is a primary electrolyte in the body, and it is also the one lost in the greatest concentration through sweat.  While you may not need a supplement to help you get enough sodium, it is important to not to let your sodium level drop too low.

When looking for a multivitamin for runners, it’s good to know which ingredients will be most beneficial.  The right multivitamin along with a balanced nutritional diet can improve your health and performance as a runner.

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