Monday, April 29, 2013

The Sunshine Vitamin

I am happy to say that today I ran 5.5 miles and it felt great! My knee is still healing and the surrounding muscles are pretty tight and sore, but it didn't feel too bad.

My timing wasn't the greatest, but I have to take baby steps (I have to remind myself of this!) and make sure that I get better before I go "all out" again. Besides, my reduction in running miles has enabled me to fully recover from the Boston Marathon and it has helped me find motivation to cross-train and strength train.

Today I want to talk about the supplements that I take as a runner. There are four vitamins that I take and I consider them my "must haves."

Iron, Omega 3 fish oil, Bioastin, and Vitamin D.
Since I don't eat red meat, my iron levels tend to be low, so I supplement my iron deficiency with 25mg of iron a day. The omega 3 fish oil has a number of benefits, which include reduction of heart disease, reduction of joint pain and stiffness (very important for runners!), prevention of cancer and stability in mental health (woohoo, no PMS!). Bioastin has been considered "nature's strongest antioxidant." It protects cellular function and supports joint and tendon health (important for runners).
Last but not least: VITAMIN D. I would venture to say that if I would only be allowed to take one vitamin, I would choose Vitamin D. The "sunshine vitamin" like some people like to call it, has a vast number of benefits, which include:
  • Aiding in the promotion of calcium absorption in the bones. Calcium cannot be absorbed into your bones without Vitamin D. So, more calcium consumption does not equal stronger bones.
  • Vitamin D deficiency can impair muscle contractions, which can affect the way your heart pumps blood in your body. This in turn, can also affect your kidneys because the lack of blood pumping into your kidneys will not enable the kidneys to get rid of waste and toxins in your body.
  • Vitamin D helps your immune system fight off diseases such as the common cold.
  • Vitamin D influences cell production which means that it helps with the creation of new cells. This is extremely important because most diseases such as cancer, stem from abnormal cell growth.
Another interesting factor about Vitamin D, is the link that researchers have made with running performance and the deficiency of this vitamin. Since low levels of vitamin D can affect one's immune system (point #3), researchers found that vitamin D deficient runners got injured and sick more often. They also pointed out that some runners would experience more joint pains and inflammation in their muscles, which makes sense because low levels of vitamin D affects one's bones (point #1) and one's blood flow (point #2).
So my friends, make sure to get plenty of sun (in a reasonable amount of increments) and don't forget to take vitamin D. I take 10,000 IU of vitamin D which people think is a crazy amount, but I have never found any literature indicating an over-dose of the vitamin. If you like to air in the side of caution, I believe that about 2000 IU would be a good amount.
What vitamins do you take?

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  1. Love your blog Erika, you're a really great inspiration! I am a big believer in the power of vitamins, and I take a whole boat load! I actually talked about their importance on my blog as well. Here's what I'm currently taking: a multi vitamin, vitamin C, omega 3 fish oil, B12, vitamin D and folic acid! I'm also a HUGE fan of Spirulina, it has some really great benefits. You should check it out :)

    Hope you get feeling better!


  2. Hi Emily and thank you for following my blog! I have heard of spirulina and I actually use to drink it. I've been lazy lately though. How do you feel about green smoothies? Is there such thing as a green smoothie without the veggies? Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love green smoothies! And yes, if you make say a berry smoothie and then add the powder spirulina it makes an awesome "green" smoothie. That's actually the only way I take my spirulina now ;)

  3. Way to go girl! Working your way back up to the top! What are your thoughts about the lack of Vitamin D for those who work nights? Oh, I did a little reading and according to wiki, yes wiki, it says the following: healthy adults, sustained intake of more than 1250 micrograms a day (50,000 IU) can produce overt toxicity after several

  4. I was having problems posting. The second link is separate from the quote. Just some extra material in case you're interested :)

  5. Hi Erika!!! Get better soon. I am used to seeing those runs in the double digits.

    Great post. You must have studied up. You take exactly what you need. I take omega 3 and psyllium fiber to maintain my cholesterol and glucosamine/chondroiton as an anti inflammitory. Most physicians perscribe chondroiton to long term hospitalized patients for decreased use of their extremeties. As for other suppliments, other than Vitamin D, ( iron for vegans and folic acid for pregnant women) we get ample amounts in the food we eat. Most supplimentation is done blindly and the body eliminates safely most of what we don't use. We've all seen the bright yellow excretions from unused B vitamins. Most other vitamins leave the body unnoticed. Fat soluble suppliments should be a concern since toxcicity is more likely due to slower excretion rates. Other than the fat soluble suppliments, the body will not store excesses and taking a multi vitamin and adding what is already in the pill isn't wise. Most brand name or health food store mulits are balanced and safe but still more than we need. Supplimentation is a science. Live healthy, eat healthy, suppliment what you don't get in your diet and enjoy life. Be Well :-)

  6. Hi Erika! I started reading your blog recently and loved this post. I have been thinking a lot about supplements lately and enjoy reading what other runners are doing.

    Right now, I take:
    - Multivitamin
    - Vitamin D + Calcium
    - B12
    - Magnesium
    - Align (Probiotic)

    I have been hearing good things about Glucosamine and Fish Oil so am planning to add these as well. What does the Spiriulina do?

    1. Spirulina is an awesome superfood in my mind! Here are some of it's benefits:
      - Contains 60% protein
      - Is a complete protein, which is rare for a plant based protein
      - Is high in all B vitamins
      - Is also high in vitamins A,D, C, E.... Basically it's kind of like an all natural multi vitamin!

      I also notice an energy boost when I take it all well... Hope this helps!

      ~ Emily

    2. Emily thanks for the reply! Erin I actually posted today on the benefits of spirulina. Check it out here:

      Emily, how do you make your spirulina? Smoothies?

  7. Glad the knee is getting better and you are able to run!

    Vitamins: SUN!, Glucosamine supplement, fish oil, biotin, calcium, and Iron

    1. Those sound great! You must have nice hair and skin with the biotin!

  8. I take a multivitamin and a bioflavanol supplement