The realm of vitamins and minerals can be confusing and overwhelming. There are so many different letters and numbers and they all perform many different functions and offer our bodies different benefits.
These nutrients are important in every diet but the good news is that if you are eating a balanced healthy diet then the foods that you eat will work together to give you what your body needs. So there is another benefit to eating healthy: you shouldn't need to pop extra tablets.
Obviously everyone’s body is different and so some might need to take in supplements but you don’t need to stock you medicine cabinet with every variety of medicine jar in order to have a healthy intake.
Those who exercise intensely, especially all you marathoners out there and other endurance performers, should be somewhat aware of your calcium and B-vitamin intakes. Calcium is important for strong, healthy, dense bones and your body’s need for B-vitamins increase with your demand for energy. So make sure you are especially getting enough of both of these whether in your diet or through extras if need be.
After a long run, when inflammation is at it's highest and the body's immune system has been significantly lowered, it is good to supplement with Vitamin C to help with repairs and increase immunity.
Women should also watch their iron intake. Females generally need more iron than males due to their menstrual cycles and because of the fact that women tend to eat less red meat than men, which is high in iron. It has been proven that not taking in enough calcium as a young female athlete can greatly increase your risk of osteoporosis when you become older. It goes without saying that those running during pregnancy absolutely need to be taking a supplement.
Younger Distance Runners should probably take a supplement as well since they are still doing a fair amount of growing while placing lots of stress on the body. Again, this is the most important time to be taking calcium especially in female runners!
The bottom line for these two nutrients is just to eat healthfully and take supplements when needed or prescribed. Otherwise your healthy, balanced diet is a great source in itself for the vitamins and minerals you need.
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