8 Best Supplements For Runners Reviewed & Tested

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Last Updated: November 11, 2017
By Richard Haberkost:

Supplementing your diet for reasons of improved performance is a personal decision made by runners. We regularly update and review choices of supplements for runners. Enjoy this updated review and see if anything fits your running needs. Remember that when taking supplements that this should be done in moderation and if you are unsure, please consult with your doctor to see if you need supplements.

Those who have a strong passion for running are always looking for newer and more effective ways to enhance their performance, health and endurance.

A good pair of running shoes, reasonable training methods, healthy diet and necessary supplements for your body are some key factors for getting and staying on target. In this article, we will take a look at some good supplements for runners which will keep your body going. In order to meet various demands, the supplement market is full of a variety of different products. So, knowing which ones are right for you is where you should start.

For runners, it is common knowledge that the body must be looked after and well maintained and part of this vital maintenance is to take in the right amount and balance of nutrients. Following a healthy running schedule is beneficial and it is even better for promoting and building health if exercise is supported through a supplementing form of healthy diet. Challenging regular exercise won’t be as beneficial to a person if that person is not on a regular nutritious diet.

A balanced diet must include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein and a selective combination of balanced healthy supplements. A broad choice of beneficial supplements are available on the market for runners, the best known being multivitamins and protein supplements. When choosing to supplement a diet a person will need to target supplements which are able to provide positive results such as:

The selection of benefits from supplements is realistically positive for runners and all athletes, diet supplementation can promote an improvement for running further and quicker and also aid in faster recovery after challenging exercise, combine this with a better depth of sleep and we see a good group of beneficial variables.

Why Take Supplements?

Regular runners and especially distance runners put their bodies through high endurance exercise and this means the bodies need additional support through nutritious supplementation, here is a list which will instantly be recognized by all runners and these points confirm the sense of using nutritious supplements.

  • Supplements can help runners maintain a balanced fitness and health.
  • Runners experience stiffness and muscle pains after long runs.
  • Excessive sweating dispells nutrients from the body and these need to be replaced.
  • Runners need recovery time after long runs
  • Runners require a strong focus, a lot of energy for performance.
  • Runners know about longer lasting muscle and joint pains.

Taking supplements does have a positive impact on all of the above.

It is especially important for runners to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins, nutrients and minerals.  Eating a balanced diet is a good start, but, adding supplements can help fill in the holes.  Supplements are generally safe, but it is best to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

Iron

Iron deficiency turns up more commonly in women. But, there are some studies reported that show runners, both men and women, are more inclined to have iron deficiency. Iron plays an important role in providing oxygen to the muscles; improved VO2max, which can promote performance.

A main symptom of Iron deficiency is feeling consistently and unusually tired.  It goes without saying that fatigue can have a negative impact on a running by making even easy runs more difficult than usual. A blood test will show whether or not you are low in iron, which if you are, taking a supplement might be an option.  Taking ferrous sulfate can help.  However, keep in mind that an overabundance of iron in the body can damage your cells and tissues.

iron-supplements

Check out the best iron supplements options

Calcium

Calcium is important for healthy bone density. Low calcium has been shown to lead to osteoporosis, resulting in a lot of the common pains experienced in running. Therefore, this is not simple issue. Generally most people can easily to get enough calcium through their daily diets.  Additionally, several studies have claimed that taking calcium supplements may actually increase your chances of having heart problems, like heart attacks.

Although you do not need to have calcium supplements, a vitamin D supplement might be a better option.  Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium in the food your eat, and it is also a good way to strengthen your bones, which helps to prevent fractures or breaks. .

calicum-suppement

Check out the best calcium supplement options

Caffeine

Caffeine is a popularly used supplement in sports because of its big benefits, even many athletes depend on it. This supplement enhances alertness and sharpness, enhances the body’s ability to turn fat into energy and increases motor skills coordination and quickens reactions. Additionally, caffeine also decreases the feel of over effort, which increases a runners self-perceived stamina. When it’s used in combination with carbohydrates, caffeine is also good for post-running recovery.

Caffeine is absorbed quickly, and its effects can be long lasting. So, you should have caffeine supplement right before or while running.  For dosage, it is recommended to take 550 milligrams per day, which is equivalent to approximately 40 ounces, or five cups, of coffee.

Its side effects such as water-electrolyte imbalances, hyperthermia and reduced heat tolerance may be a concern when using this supplement; however, exercise can help work against those effects.

caffeine-supplement

Check out the best caffeine supplement options

Protein (whey protein)

Protein is necessary to our functioning and livelihood.  It is a very important part in the body’s maintenance and regulation processes. For starters, it adds the proteins that are depleted during a run and builds lean muscle tissue, which aids in muscle recovery.  If your body’s protein level is low, you may tire easily.

Most people can get enough protein in daily diets, but runners have higher protein needs. They can get many benefits from protein supplements.  Take a protein supplement before a run or post-workout is both ideal. In this, whey protein is the better way to use because it’s absorbed more easily and quickly.

For most runners, a suitable amount is about 40 to 60 grams of whey protein per day.

whey-protein

Check out the best whey protein options

Creatine

Creatine- amino acid provides benefits to runners. Creatine has ability to help repair and grow muscle. It is especially used for those who often take part in intense workouts like running, because it negates inflammation and cell damage.

When taken on a daily basis,  Creatine supplements may decrease submaximal VO2 level which maximizes your body’s O2 use while running.  By improving your heart rate, your rate of perspiration, and water distribution, it can also help you run longer and more efficiently in hard conditions.

You should use Creatine supplements in two phases. In the “loading phase” – about five days, which is aimed to provide desired Creatine levels for your body, you should use approximately 20 grams each day. After that phase is the maintenance phase, during which you just need only five grams daily.

The most advantageous time to take a Creatine supplement is upon finishing a workout.

creatine-supplement

Check out the best creatine powder options

Fatty fish oils

We all know the real benefit of Fatty fish oils. However, large part of the population do not eat enough oily fish that means they are deficient in omega 3 – fatty acids found in fish oil, which helps to reduce inflammation, muscle soreness and strengthen joint flexibility. Because our body can’t produce these vital essential fats itself, we have to get these from food such as oily fish, seeds or nuts. Additionally, Krill Oil is considered as the source of omega 3 essential fats which are free of pollutants.

fatty-fish-oils

Check out the best fatty fish oil options

Mega multivitamins

No matter how fine you are, and you always believe that you have enough vitamins in your meals. Mega multivitamins supplement is really necessary because your body always requires vitamins and minerals continuously to run efficiently and longer. In fact, Most of these vitamins can be delivered from a well healthy diet – however, due to natural conditions as well as polluted problems of our environment, many of the nutrients are not exist in the soil, and in the foods.

For other reasons, when you do exercise or run, the body loses many minerals via sweat, therefore, the demand for nutrients is greatly increased. A body does not have enough nutrients will be easy to infection and cannot perform optimally. Besides, you should choose multivitamins which have high levels of antioxidants in order to against free radicals presenting when you run which are known to damage our body’s organs and tissues.

multivitamins

Check out the best multivitamins options

Hydration

Finally, we all know the important role of water in our life. Water is considered as super supplement for runners. just  provide your body with around 8 glasses or 2 liters of water each day, you can’t imagine that this can support to promote cardiovascular health, keep your body cool, supplement lost water by sweating during running, and help your muscles as well as joints work well.

hydration

Check out the best drink replenishment options

Some runners said that they still run without any supplements. I can’t deny that, however, if your body can be supplemented enough with the above supplements, it will make certain that your health, as well as running, will be improved considerably.

Our Criteria for reviewing supplements for runners.

When reviewing supplements we closely looked at which supplements give the most realistic benefits to which parts of the body or how the supplements improve other factors such as energy, performance, and endurance.

We looked at how supplements promote tissue repair and the maintenance of body tissue and the benefits for runners were clear. Daily activities inflict wear on the tissue so rigorous regular running certainly impacts on the bodies ability to maintain healthy tissue.

Silhouette of a man in running, joints pain. Vector illustration

We have sets of specialized cells which create proteins which repair damaged and grow new body tissue and so running supplements containing vitamin D and calcium are very helpful for those regularly doing high performance running to promote the growth of new tissue and build up bone strength.

Fatty fish oils as a regular supplement for active runners benefit by aiding towards healthy bones, reducing inflammation, downplay problems with sore muscles and enhance good flexibility for the joints in the body. Omega 3 is a very needed ingredient for our bodies but our modern diets are deficient in good amounts of omega 3, this means that runners involved in rigorous regular running are more at risk of problems unless they use an Omega 3 supplement. Therefore we advice long distance runners and other athletes to look towards using an Omega 3 supplement for the positive physical benefits and for the prevention of physical problems which can result from regular challenging exercising.

Multi-vitamins and minerals as a supplement for runners do offer clear benefits, we note that excessive sweating also means we lose vital minerals while we sweat. The case for supplementation is very clear.

Modern diets are often lacking with regards to a good intake and balance of minerals and vitamins. Supplementing B12, Vitamin D, potassium and calcium can only result in positive benefits for regular runners as long as these are taken in appropriate amounts. The body needs fuel for strong dense bones, tissue repair, the growth of muscles, the performance of muscles and minerals and multi-vitamins contribute positively towards the needs of energetic runners.

Iron: A very important mineral which is often overlooked but it is vital for promoting the transportation of oxygen around our bodies to fuel muscles and all tissue activity. Hemoglobin moves vital energy-giving oxygen around the body, to be low on iron means you are low on vital red blood cells which transport oxygen, the negative implications for runners who feed high performing muscles with oxygen are obvious. The body will underperform and become fatigued very easily and recovery time after exercise will be greatly prolonged.

Protein (whey protein) supplementation preserves healthy lean muscle mass, the driving force for muscle growth is found in whey protein and is called leucine, an amino acid.  Consistent lean muscle growth after exercise is enabled by the amino acids which we find in whey protein.

Runners need protein and whey is a known source for a high-quality protein packed with beneficial amino acids, whey is very easy to digest which means speedy benefits for the body, whey protein will promote growth for muscles, whey protein can serve towards reducing the systolic pressure of blood by around four percent.

When tissue is overworked or damaged inflammation will occur, though inflammation in the short time can be beneficial there is danger inflammation can go on to become chronic.  Evidence shows that big amounts of whey protein as a supplement will bring down reactive C-Protein which is known as a marker of body inflammation. Runners can and do gain benefits from whey as a supplement.

Creatine is an amino acid which provides known benefits. Creatine repairs and grow muscle tissue. Has positive outcomes for tissue damage and repair and is good for runners who take part in high endurance training.

Calcium: Most of us get enough calcium in our daily diets therefore for runners the focus should be more towards considering the use of a vitamin D as a supplement because this vitamin promotes the absorption of calcium for the body.  the benefits of calcium are the promotion of healthy dense bone tissue which in itself serves towards protection of bone fractures.

Caffeine: A known pick me up or booster of energy, reactions can be quicker, we become more alert, better motor skills, caffeine also enables fat to be converted over into needed energy, therefore this supplement is popular among runners.

There is no doubt at all that our reviews conclude that supplements can benefit runners in a wide variety of ways, some supplements replace lost minerals, some supplements promote the transportation of vital oxygen, provide food for building muscles, repairing tissues, alleviating muscle soreness and promoting muscle recovery, even balancing the hydration of our bodies.

Happy healthy fitness woman.

We agree that supplements can be beneficial but stress must be placed on using supplements only if you are sure you need them and if you use them be sure to use the correct amount in balance with the needs of your body.

 

FAQ

 

Q: I’m an older runner and recently I have found that I become more easily fatigued any suggestions?

A:  As we grow older it can be that exercise such as running might fatigue us more quickly but if you have been running over a number of years it seems fair to say that you are physically healthy. It might be that you could consider taking iron as a supplement because this will promote your blood systems capability to carry oxygen to those oxygen hungry muscles. However, before taking this course of action it is worth a quick visit to your doctors for a checkup.

Q:  I’m a regular endurance runner and I’m thinking about taking supplements, can you suggest which supplements should I consider?

A:  When giving this advice it is on the assumption that as an experienced runner you are already on a well-balanced diet. You can consider taking:

A whey protein supplement for the benefits of promotion of lean muscle growth, is full of positive amino acids, benefits with regards to inflammation, reducing blood pressure.

Mineral and multi-vitamin supplements, contribute towards healthy bones, muscle growth and recovery time, the repair of tissue and muscle performance.

Electrolyte drinks can replace lost electrolytes lost through excess sweating such as potassium and sodium which in turn gives benefits to maintain body hydration, works towards preventing dehydration, stimulation of thirst while enhancing the bodies ability to retain vital fluid.

Q:  As a runner will I benefit from taking vitamin D as advised to me by a friend?

A:  Vitamin D will promote the bodies ability to absorb calcium which in the right amounts and context will promote healthy bones. If you feel the need for healthy bones due to any personal bone problems, it will be wise to first get a check by your doctor to see if he/she feels you will benefit from taking Vitamin D.

Q:  I tend to get problems with muscle soreness and some inflammation, especially after long runs, is there any supplement which might help?

A:  Omega 3 a fish oil could well be useful for you when taken in the right amount, this can give relief towards inflammation and sore muscle recovery can be a bit quicker. Long runs are more challenging for the body so the problems you have mentioned are not so unusual. If you do decide to use a supplement it might be a good idea to use it in moderation. If your problems persist or get worse you should consult with a doctor.

Q: I have heard of runners drinking protein drinks as a supplement after a race, why?

A:  Protein drinks serve towards positive energy in much the same way as carbohydrates so drinking a protein drink after running can give the body help with recovery time and energy for storing to be used in the future.

 For carrying out our reviews accurately we have carried out extensive cross-reference research to ensure that the information we provide is as accurate and up to date as possible.

Sources:

Source in focus

  1. runnersconnect.net Protein for Runners.  How Much Protein Do You Need to Stay Healthy as a Runner? Article. 2017
  2. active.com  What Runners Should Know About Protein. Karia Bruning. Article 2017
  3. mensrunninguk.co.uk The Importance of Iron. Article May 16, 2016 
  4. trainingpeaks.com Iron and Endurance Athlete. Article James L. Weinstein 2009
  5. active.com Vitamins 101 For Runners. Article. 2016 Suzanne Girard Eberle, MS, RD
  6. livestrong.com article vitamins endurance athletes. ANDREA CESPEDES
  7. runultra.co.uk Can-Fish-Oil-Make-You-a-Better-Runner. Article A Mobbs. 2016
  8. trainingpeaks.com benefits-of-omega-3-fats-for-the-endurance-athlete. Article.    DECEMBER 4, 2014  
  9. theguardian.com Could caffeine help you run better. Article.  David Cox. 2015 May 21st
  10. active.com Running articles the caffeinated-runner. Matt Fitzgerald ( No date)