Many people take part in endurance running to achieve a "runner's high," or the feeling of calmness and euphoria that comes after you've pushed yourself to the limit. Apart from that, studies have shown that running has many physical and mental health benefits.
However, endurance running is one of the most physically demanding sports. It puts a lot of strain on your muscles — which can then cause muscle fatigue or muscle damage. To minimize potential pain or injury, runners must put a lot of focus on their nutrition.
Besides a healthy and well-balanced diet, runners also take supplements to fend off vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Supplements also contain beneficial ingredients that can enhance running performance.
Here are the best supplements for runners looking to boost endurance and recovery.
7 Best Supplements for Runners Endurance and Recovery
1. Vitamin D
Stress fractures are one of the most common injuries for runners. The overuse of muscles has decreased foot bone strength, which can increase the incidence of bone-related injuries. The risk of stress fractures is even higher for athletes with vitamin D deficiencies.
Studies have found that vitamin D3 is vital for calcium absorption and bone mineralization, which help enhance bone mineral density. Vitamin D3 may also help lower the risk of stress fractures by increasing muscle strength and reducing inflammation.
Xendurance's Omega+D3 features 4,000 IU of D3 to ensure that runners meet their recommended daily intake of this essential vitamin. Supplementation has been found to optimize bone health, which reduces the risk of stress fractures among runners.
Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. This includes maintaining muscle function, strengthening immune responses, and enhancing bone integrity — all beneficial to runners' endurance and recovery.
According to studies, magnesium may help improve athletic performance by reducing lactate levels in the body. However, it was also found that most athletes do not consume enough magnesium in their diets. This may contribute to muscle pain and tightness after exercise.
3.Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Exhaustive exercise, such as marathons or endurance running, can lead to an overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This can increase oxidative stress and inflammatory responses, which may then damage body tissues and skeletal muscles.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress. In one study, runners supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids were observed to have increased VO2 peak and better running economy.
Other potential benefits include improved bone mineral density, cardioprotective effects, and enhanced antioxidant defense.
Our Omega+D3 supplement contains ultra-pure, triglyceride EPA and DHA fatty acids to promote better absorption. This helps runners receive the maximum benefit that omega-3 fatty acids may provide regarding endurance and recovery.
Iron is one of the best supplements for runners. That's because iron is an essential component of hemoglobin and other enzymes in transporting and metabolizing oxygen for energy production.
According to a study, endurance runners may have a higher iron deficiency prevalence than other athletes and sedentary individuals. This is attributed to increased hemolysis or destruction of red blood cells due to "traumatic foot impact" caused by running.
As such, runners experiencing fatigue or underperformance should check their iron levels for deficiencies. Supplementation can help restore iron levels. You can also incorporate iron-rich foods such as oysters, tuna, liver, chickpeas, spinach, red meat, and pumpkin seeds.
5. Vitamin B12
A lot of runners hit the wall and run out of energy before they're able to finish a race. According to a study, even though most elite runners believe they properly fuel up on nutrition sources, many still have suboptimal intake or hit-or-miss nutrition habits.
Studies have found that a vitamin B12 deficiency can impair physical performance. This is because vitamin B12 is vital in converting carbohydrates into energy. Vitamin B12 is also essential for red blood cell formation. A deficiency in this vitamin may make you feel more tired and fatigued and experience weak muscles, numbness, and poor balance.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies are more common among vegans and mature adults. As such, to ensure optimal running performance, choose a complete multivitamin that provides your daily recommended intake of vitamin B12.
Most runners already know how important calcium is for optimal bone health. However, calcium does more than that. This essential nutrient also contributes to nerve and muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, immune system balance, and energy metabolism.
So while calcium primarily helps runners by reducing the risk of stress fracture injuries, it can also indirectly enhance performance by supporting these essential bodily functions.
Since running can place a lot of stress on your bones, ensuring adequate calcium levels is vital. While runners don't necessarily need a higher intake than non-athletes, calcium deficiency can be risky.
With Extreme Endurance, you can get your daily dose of calcium — along with other beneficial nutrients such as chromium, which helps reduce muscle fatigue, and selenium, which helps reduce oxidative stress. It's also packed with antioxidants from catechins, papain, and black pepper fruit.
However, studies have found that zinc levels may become depleted after exhaustive exercises — such as completing a marathon. As such, runners may consider supplementing with zinc to avoid deficiencies.
According to researchers, a zinc deficiency can cause leptin dysregulation. Leptin is essential for regulating energy intake and expenditure, which may contribute to fatigue. Other signs of zinc deficiency include weight loss, amenorrhea for females, mood problems, reduced endurance, and increased risk of osteoporosis.
When it comes to zinc supplementation, make sure to stay within the recommended daily dose of about 20 to 40 mg. High levels of zinc may cause headaches, gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, cramps, and shortness of breath.
Best Supplements for Runners' Endurance and Recovery
Endurance running puts a lot of stress on your body. However, nothing beats the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a marathon or race. Runners must recover adequately to fight fatigue, pain, and injury, including proper rest, nutrition, and sleep.
At Xendurance, we aim to support our customers' physical and mental well-being as they work hard to achieve their fitness and lifestyle goals.
We offer high-quality supplements with the most bioavailable and effective ingredients so that you can get as much benefit as you can. For runners, this means achieving optimal running performance while minimizing potential pain or injury to your body.