The sound of pounding footsteps, the rhythmic breath, the exhilarating rush of endorphins—running is a captivating journey that fuels the mind, body, and spirit. Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or just starting to lace up your running shoes, optimizing your performance and recovery is key to unlocking your true potential on the track or trail. While a balanced diet is the cornerstone of an athlete's nutrition plan, harnessing the power of natural supplements can be a game-changer, providing that extra edge to elevate your running experience. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the best natural supplements for runners and uncover the science-backed benefits that can transform your stride, enhance recovery, and help you conquer your goals.
In a recent survey performed by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, around 59% of adults stated that they took at least one supplement daily. Supplements support your health and promote higher energy levels and feelings of general wellness.
Athletes must take greater care when managing their well-being to promote endurance and mitigate muscle soreness - which is why supplements for runners are so valuable.
Ready to take your running performance to the next level? Keep reading as we discuss the 20 best supplements for runners to add to their daily habits!
If you're interested in receiving the benefits of functional mushroom supplements, start your journey towards better health with Mushroom Revival - and check out our blogs to learn more!
Why Might Runners Benefit From Supplements?
If you're a runner, you place your body under great strain to achieve peak athletic performance. This means you must take great care to support your health and well-being. Here are some of the top supplement choices for runners.
Certain supplements can provide a performance boost by supporting energy production, reducing fatigue, improving endurance, and enhancing recovery. For example, supplements like creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine have been studied for their potential to improve strength, power, and exercise performance.
Recovery and Repair
Intense training can lead to muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Supplements like protein powders, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and antioxidants can aid in muscle repair, reduce inflammation, and support recovery, allowing athletes to bounce back quicker and train more effectively.
Running causes the body to heat up, leading to excessive sweating. While drinking water can help restore your body's hydration levels, there is also the increased risk of diarrhea due to running, which can cause increased dehydration. To replenish your body's hydration levels, you should invest in supplements that support digestive health and hydration.
Athletes have higher nutrient requirements due to increased energy expenditure and the demands of training. Supplements can help fill potential nutrient gaps and ensure adequate intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary for optimal performance and overall health. This is especially important if you are following a vegan lifestyle!
When To Avoid Supplements?
Are there any conditions in which you should avoid supplements? Here are some situations where you might want to consult your healthcare provider.
Medications or health conditions
Runners with pre-existing health conditions or those taking medications should be cautious about supplements, as they can interact with medications or exacerbate certain health conditions. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements to ensure they are safe and compatible with your individual circumstances.
Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
When you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you are encouraged to take prenatal vitamins and supplements for women. However, not all supplements are created equal, and there are some supplements you should avoid. For instance, fish liver oils and vitamin A supplements contain retinol, which can harm your baby's development. Speak to your doctor before implementing any supplements throughout your pregnancy.
Individual Allergies or Sensitivities
Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to specific supplements or their ingredients. It's important to carefully read labels and be aware of any potential allergens or sensitivities before taking a supplement.
Top Supplements For Runners For Performance And Recovery
Here are our top supplements for runners or endurance athletes to help you improve performance, recovery, and overall health and well-being.
Adaptogenic mushrooms have gained popularity in recent years for their overall health support, including their potential use for runners and athletes. Adaptogen mushrooms contain beneficial compounds like 1,3 1,6 beta-glucans, which have been associated with immune-support.
By supporting immune function, adaptogenic mushrooms can help runners maintain their training consistency. Additionally, these mushrooms can help balance and support the body’s occasional inflammatory response post workout.
Here are a few adaptogenic mushrooms commonly mentioned in relation to athletic performance:
Cordyceps is quite a distinct mushroom, easily recognized by its striking orange color and long stem. This mushroom is often nicknamed the Olympic mushroom due to its popularity among athletes in supporting physical performance.
Cordyceps is often associated with increased endurance and oxygen utilization. It is believed to enhance athletic performance by supporting efficient energy production and reducing occasional fatigue. It may support lung function and balance oxygen uptake during exercise.
Reishi is a well-known adaptogen that also has benefits for your sleep health. Rest and recovery are essential for runners, and Reishi is known to help provide a calming effect before sleep, allowing you to get a better night's rest. Plus, Reishi mushrooms can help support our body's hormones.
Reishi should be in your recovery supplements toolkit - browse Mushroom Revival’s collection of mushroom supplements to find tinctures, capsules, and powders for your running routine.
Lion's mane mushrooms have gained attention for their potential cognitive benefits. They support mental clarity, focus, and memory, which can be advantageous for athletes during training or competition.
Shiitake mushrooms contain the highest levels of B vitamins compared to any other mushroom. B vitamins can help our body turn food into easily usable energy to fuel and power us through the day.
Shiitake mushrooms are also known to produce Vitamins D2, D3, and D4, which are essential to absorb calcium and overall bone health support and healthy cell growth. You can consume Shiitake along with other powerful functional mushrooms in our Daily 10 Mushroom Mix supplements.
If you are feeling low-energy, then you won't be able to perform well for your training or races. Supplementing caffeine can provide a healthy dose of energy to amp you up before the big run. Your caffeine intake has a significant effect on your energy production.
If you feel shaky or anxious after drinking caffeine, pair your caffeine intake with a healthy dose of taurine. Taurine provides calming effects and allows you to enjoy the buzz of caffeine without the shakes!
Probiotics And Prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics are recommended for everyone - not just runners! Your gut is responsible for fighting off pathogens that enter your mouth and helps regulate your digestion and bowel movements. Investing in probiotics and prebiotics can help runners regulate their bowel movements and stay healthy. Both probiotics and prebiotics help to support the body's production of healthy gut flora while mitigating the presence of 'bad' bacteria in the gut - fortifying your gut health against pathogens.
Beetroot is an excellent source of nitric oxide, which can support blood flow to the muscles, aiding in athletic performance. Taking a beetroot shot or supplement daily can ensure a healthy dose of nitric oxide and support healthy blood flow.
Since the cardiovascular system plays an essential role in running performance, iron should be included in your supplement routine. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, associated with feelings of lethargy, brain fog, dark circles under the eyes, and other complications. You can avoid iron deficiency by providing your body with sufficient iron while ensuring your blood is healthy and promoting consistent energy levels.
Magnesium supplements benefit runners by supporting muscle function, reducing muscle cramps, and improving energy production, leading to enhanced performance and reduced fatigue. Additionally, magnesium supplementation can aid in post-exercise recovery, promoting muscle repair and reducing inflammation, helping runners bounce back faster and train more effectively.
As a runner, you might experience occasional bouts of constipation due to dehydration. If you do not supply your body with enough water, your stool will become too dry and hard to pass as normal. Incorporating sodium phosphate into your supplement routine ensures your stool is soft to facilitate easy and regular bowel movements.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in mood regulation and is extremely important for bone health. When you run, you place significant strain on your bones and joints. If you do not support bone health, you could end up with stress fractures that could hinder your running career and set you back recovery-wise. By supplementing vitamin D in your diet, you will notice improved mood and a reduced chance of bone health complications caused by running.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid. Amino acids help to support muscle oxidation, and by taking beta-alanine regularly, you can improve your running speed and endurance. Many endurance athletes supplement beta-alanine to ensure their muscles can operate fully. One study found that athletes who took beta-alanine supplements noticed a 2-3% uptick in their performance.
BCAA is a supplement of branched-chain amino acids that can help long-distance runners to fight fatigue and reduce muscle soreness. BCAA supplements help to reduce cortisol levels, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and aid in recovery for sustainable progression.
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)
Sodium bicarbonate is a popular supplement for runners because it supports the body in managing acidity levels in the muscles. By taking around 0.3 mg of sodium bicarbonate before your exercise session, you'll notice improved high-intensity endurance.
L-carnitine can help you to manage your weight and increase your metabolic rate. It can also help support kidney and liver health, improving muscle performance. It has also been linked to increased maximum oxygen absorption, which is extremely beneficial for runners.
Protein powder is recommended for most athletes as part of your recovery toolkit for delayed onset muscle soreness. It can also help to support muscle growth by providing the necessary nutrients for protein synthesis. The more lean muscle mass you can maintain as a runner while managing your body weight, the more your exercise performance will improve, which is why protein powder is so popular among running supplements.
Any form of exercise can increase oxidative stress within the body. Oxidative stress contributes to free radical damage and can lead to the development of cancer cells. By supplementing vitamin E, runners can mitigate the effects of oxidative stress. This is an important supplement for runners to encourage long-term health.
Creatine is recommended to athletes to help support muscle strength. While you must maintain a healthy body weight as a runner, you must also ensure your muscles are strong enough to generate the force required to reach and sustain high speeds. You can improve your high-intensity running performance by supplementing creatine into your diet.
L-glutamine is an essential nutrient for runners, helping to reduce the breakdown of muscles and facilitate a speedy recovery. It also supports immune system functioning, allowing runners to stay in top condition and avoid cardiovascular illnesses that may impact performance.
You need energy production to sustain high running speeds for short or long distances. Many runners supplement a teaspoon of coconut oil to support their energy levels. It helps to boost energy metabolism and ensure you have enough energy for short or long-distance runs.
Inflammation is one of the biggest contributors to delayed onset muscle soreness. By supplementing omega 3 into your diet, you can support the body's inflammation management, aiding in a speedy recovery from muscle contraction.
If you frequently struggle to stay hydrated as a runner, electrolyte powder is the top recommended supplement for water retention. Many endurance athletes favor electrolytes, as they help to promote the absorption and retention of fluid for peak hydration levels.
Vitamin C plays an essential role in immune function, and runners are advised to supplement this vital nutrient to avoid illnesses that could harm their performance. By increasing vitamin C in your diet, you can also support the repair and recovery of muscles while reducing muscle fatigue.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the world of natural supplements holds immense potential for runners seeking to optimize their performance and take their running prowess to the next level. While nothing can replace the power of a well-balanced diet and disciplined training, carefully chosen supplements can serve as valuable allies in your journey towards peak athletic performance. From the adaptogenic prowess of cordyceps and reishi mushrooms to the immune-supporting properties of chaga and the cognitive benefits of lion's mane, these natural wonders offer a wide range of benefits that runners can tap into. So, lace up those shoes, fuel your body with nature's finest offerings, and let these natural supplements propel you towards your running goals, ensuring you cross every finish line with strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of accomplishment. Embrace the power of nature, embrace the best version of your runner's self!
At Mushroom Revival, we're big fans of daily supplement routines - and we believe nature has the most to offer! Why not check out our products, resources, and blogs to learn more about what functional mushrooms can do for the body? Our Daily 10 mushroom supplements could be the cornerstone of your health journey, with all the benefits of reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and shiitake mushrooms!