Vitamins can help to maximize the benefits of running. While maintaining a healthy diet is important for a good run, supplements can help, too: Even the best diets may not meet all the nutritional requirements of a vigorous runner.
Research in "Sports Medicine" suggests that vitamin B-1 improves endurance. Sometimes known as thiamin, vitamin B-1 maintains high energy by further breaking down carbohydrates and fats. B-1 also helps ease muscle tension and promotes muscle recovery.
Strenuous exercises such as running can damage the muscles. This is why you often feel sore after a long run. Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to reduce the damage caused by intense physical activity, according to an article in "European Journal of Nutrition." Taking supplements that contain coenzyme Q10 might reduce muscular damage and speed your recovery after a run.
Vitamin E helps in many normal body functions; however, it can also be greatly beneficial for runners. Vitamin E can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, while additionally reducing the recovery time after a workout session, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reports. Vitamin E promotes muscle growth and repair by transporting nutrients into deficient muscle cells.
Folic acid is rather difficult to attain through a normal diet, so is best taken through supplements. Folic acid enhances the transformation of sugars into usable energy, as well as aiding the metabolization of amino acids, the Linus Pauling Institute states. Further, folic acid helps prevent the clogging of arteries, helping oxygen rich blood cells to reach a runner's muscles.
Magnesium aids in the oxygen uptake and energy production in muscles. Many runners may not get enough magnesium in their diets, and a magnesium deficiency can limit their overall physical ability, a study in "Magnesium Research" explains. Getting the proper amounts of magnesium helps your body maintain proper muscle function and enhances endurance.
Potassium is often taken to prevent muscle cramps and helps in maintaining normal blood pressure, an article in "Physiologia Plantarum" notes. Taken with sodium, potassium is effective in maintaining a balance of electrolytes and fluids in the body.
Zinc, while often thought of as a supplement primarily for expectant mothers, is also of interest to runners. It helps to increase endurance and boost energy, state dietitians Marie Dunford and Andrew Doyle. Adequate intake of zinc allows a runner to obtain more energy from fat and glycogen stores within the body.
- European Journal of Nutrition: Coenzyme Q(10) Supplementation Ameliorates Inflammatory Signaling and Oxidative Stress Associated with Strenuous Exercise.
- Nutrition for Sport and Exercise; Marie Dunford and Andrew Doyle
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E and Exercise
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E
- Physiologia Plantarum: Beneficial Effects of Potassium on Human Health
- Magnesium Research: Update on the Relationship Between Magnesium and Exercise.
- Sports Medicine: Vitamins and Endurance Training. Food for Running or Faddish Claims?
Joseph Pritchard graduated from Our Lady of Fatima Medical School with a medical degree. He has spent almost a decade studying humanity. Dr. Pritchard writes as a San Francisco biology expert for a prominent website and thoroughly enjoys sharing the knowledge he has accumulated.