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best supplements for runnersAs a runner training for a half marathon, there are supplements that can help your endurance, recovery and overall health. Supplements are meant to be a supplement to a balanced diet.  Just because you take supplements does not mean that you can cut out the veggies. (Your mom will be happy to hear that) While training for a marathon, you are putting additional stress on your body so supplementation is extremely beneficial. There are so many supplements out there it’s hard to know which one’s are beneficial and which one’s are total crap.  It’s my goal to give you some insight into the best supplements for runners.

1. Multivitamin

A daily multivitamin will  cover your essential nutrients for the day. It helps to get the nutrients and minerals that your diet may lack. I like multivitamins that are derived from whole food as opposed to synthetic materials. Read the labels and look for words like “whole foods,” “plant based,” or “organic.”

2. Fish Oil

You may have seen these clear yellow capsules in the stores or heard about the benefits of fish oil from a friend.  Fish oilfish oil contains an essential fatty acid called Omega-3 that is needed for healthy cell walls, nervous system function, immune function, and as a runner, it helps with inflammation. Without delving too deep into the science of nutrition, just know there are good fats and bad fats, and fish oil has the good fats. The issue is that there are only a handful of foods that contain significant amounts of omega-3’s, so supplementing is important. When looking at different fish oils out there try cod liver oil, which is a great source of omega-3. As a word of caution, when I first started taking fish oil supplements, I had the the worlds worst burps. I even offended myself. And if it comes out in burps you can be sure it will also be offensive coming out the other end, if you know what I mean. Consider yourself warned.



3. Probiotics

According to many recent studies, your physical and emotional well-being, is now believed to be directly linked to your gut. In your digestive tract are things called, microbiome’s, which are good, health-promoting bacteria. These good bacteria determine how efficiently your system runs, including your metabolism, nutrient absorption, immune health, inflammation and many more. The foods we eat tend to introduce bad bacteria into our guts, so we supplement with probiotics to help tip the balance back to good bacteria.

Taking a daily probiotic is believed to help your digestive tract by boosting the good bacteria which translates into fewer port-a-potty stops, a stronger immune system, and improved weight. When your gut is healthy your whole body is healthy.  When shopping for a good probiotic look for the following:

L. acidophilus, which supports nutrient absorption and helps dairy digestion.
B. longum, helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall.
B. bifidum, assists the break down of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins into smaller parts that the body can use more efficiently.

4. Whey Protein

whey proteinThe good thing about whey protein is that it can be found anywhere.  There are a ton of supplement sites, like bodybuilding.com, that sell a myriad of brands and flavors. And it is fairly inexpensive too. Whey protein is low in calories and a great source of high-quality protein and amino acids. Whey protein powder is a great addition to a morning fruit and veggie smoothie to provide a targeted nutritional boost. Following a run is the best time to consume whey protein because it helps your body’s muscle recovery.

5. Zinc

What is zinc all about? Zinc is a mineral that works with enzymes in our body involved in metabolism. When training for a marathon, you will deplete zinc simply by running. As with the other supplements discussed, zinc also helps maintain a healthy immune system.

As you increase the mileage of your training, you are tearing your body down, breaking down the muscle fibers in your legs leaving yourself vulnerable to illness.  By supplementing, you are adding back the nutrients lost, strengthening your immune system, and building muscles.  This will help you become the best runner you can be.




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