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Ideally, a long-distance runner gets all the nutrition needed from whole foods. The rigors of training, work, family and social life might make it harder to reach this “ideal” goal. Even if you pay very close attention to your nutrition, you may be short on a few key nutrients-which is where supplements come in handy! Don’t just start popping pills, though. Consult with your doctor, and coach if necessary, to ensure supplemental nutrition is right for you. Here are some helpful suggestions. Regularly taking a multivitamin fills in most nutritional gaps. Runners who consistently eat a balanced diet probably don’t need one, notes sports dietitian Molly Morgan in “Runners World.” If you find your workouts leave you tired and short on time to prepare a quality meal, you may benefit from adding this supplement. Choose one that offers 100 percent of most major vitamins and minerals. Omega 3s. Unless you’re chowing down on fish two or more times per week, consider taking a fish-oil supplement to provide you with the eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DPA your body needs. These omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fatty fish, boost cellular health and optimal functioning of your central nervous system. Running long distances puts a lot of stress on your body, making the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s particularly beneficial. Calcium is critical to bone health. Runners with weak bones are more susceptible to stress fractures. Women runners, especially after age 40, may show signs of diminished bone density on tests. Young female endurance runners who have irregular periods and disordered eating are also vulnerable. If your doctor recommends it, add supplemental calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong. Iron Deficiency is very common in endurance runners, and females are especially at risk. If you’re feeling fatigued or your performance is failing, ask your doctor to check your iron level. Taking supplemental iron when it’s not needed can be dangerous, though, so do so only under supervision of your health care provider. Running outside may not give you an adequate amount of sun exposure, which helps your body manufacture vitamin D. When you’re low on vitamin D , your performance and energy levels sag. Vitamin D also supports calcium absorption. Get your levels tested by your doctor to see if you need a supplement.  References & Resources Runner’s World: Dose of Reality Competitor: Ask the Experts: Which Supplements Do Runners Need? Current Sports Medicine Reports: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Athletics American Family Physician: The Female Athlete Triad About the Author   // <![CDATA[ var url = ‘/get_cme_cached/’; $.ajax({ url: url, success: function(data, textStatus, jqXHR) { var writer = $.parseJSON(data); $(‘#byline’).text(‘by ‘ + writer.display_name + ‘, Demand Media’); $(‘#author’).text(writer.display_name); if (writer.about){ $(‘#authorAbout p’).text(writer.about); $(‘#authorAbout’).show(); } }}); // ]]>
Source: Complete Nutrition

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