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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Supplements for running injuries

I think I've gone on the record somewhere saying that I do not take supplements and don't believe they do a lick of good. Well, that's changed. I still think the best way to get balanced nutrients is by eating a healthy, well-rounded, non-exclusionary diet. But while I was injured, and while I'm slowly returning from injury, I've had to add in extras of vitamins and supplements that I need to rebuild.
So here's my medicine cabinet now:

1. Calcium with D. This should be pretty obvious: it's to maintain bone strength as I rebuild following a fracture. I will probably keep taking this, just out of fear of future fractures.

2. Magnesium. Also for bone strength. I will probably keep taking this as long as I am taking iron (see #3) because, ahem, it counteracts a particularly annoying side effect of iron supplementation.

3. Iron. I've made the decision to start supplementing with ferrous sulfate even though the dangers of iron overload far exceed iron insufficiency for someone like myself with normal iron levels. This is why: when I had blood work done recently, my anemia markers were all totally normal, though on the low end (bottom 5%) of the range. But this labwork was done during a period of complete inactivity, and when I am running distances I lose blood. I don't want to be disgusting, but I have always struggled with an upset stomach when I run, coupled with GI bleeds. I experience GI bleeding after speedwork and any run over about 10 miles - so basically, twice a week. Because of that, I could conceivably dip into the anemia levels while actively training. So I'm adding in 65mg of elemental iron daily just in case.

4.Fish oil. It's for inflammation and cardiovascular health. I will think about continuing, but I probably won't.

5. Turmeric. This was recommended by a reader not long ago! I added it in to help control inflammation from osteitis pubis. It might be working, because my symptoms have been very well controlled lately. I have also popped the capsules open and used them while making pickles...turmeric gives pickles that yellow tinge. Just as an aside.

6. Glucosamine. I've always taken glucosamine, on and off, since I started running. If I stop, my knees can tell. Note that I do NOT take chondroitin. It's not usable when taken by mouth, and it's expensive, so it's just a waste. I will keep taking glucosamine.

What do you take for your running?


  1. I take most of those as well, except the fish oil and turmeric. Injuries change your ideas on taking things. LOL

  2. I don't take anything, mostly out of laziness and lack of research, so this is interesting reading. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I take a daily multi and I took 65mg ferrous sulfate the whole time I was breastfeeding. I used to take fish oil but the last bottle I bought has remained unopened because well, I HATE PILLS. I JUST started taking glucosamine but then my dad told me you have to take it for yeeears to see any real benefit/improvement (can anyone confirm??). That just sounds tedious.

  4. I never took any 'til I was injured, either. After that, a Sports Chiro said to skip the Calcium & instead take Vitamin D. I take that, Magnesium and a low dose of Iron. If you do keep taking the Calcium, make sure you're spacing the dosages as it'll mess with the Iron absorption. (which you, as a pharmacist, probably knew) ;)

  5. We've got some similarities here. One caution - I've got the GI bleeding problem as well, and started iron supplementation for similar reasons. Long story short, I tried the supplement that is supposedly easiest on the GI tract, mixing it with plenty of juice, and it still aggravated my GI, making the bleeding much worse. Pretty much constant.

    So now I've shifted to eating bison and iron-fortified foods.

    1. I was going to say that! When I was diagnosed with low iron earlier this year, I got a prescription supplement. It's a liquid capsule and WAY easier to digest. It is also mixed and Vit C & D for added absorption. Maybe your Dr. could write you a prescription?

  6. I take Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, and D3. And I take Vitamin C to boost my immune system, even though it maybe doesn't make a bit of difference.

  7. I take fish oil, same calcium as you, glucosamine, vit b, vit c, vit d, probiotics.

    I will look up turmeric never heard of this before....inflammation is a problem for me....tendonitis patella and groin.....

  8. I really appreciate the info about the chondroitin - it saves me lots of money!

  9. I added more spinach to my diet a few years ago in part for the magnesium. And a lot of older runners I know use glucosamine for their joints. I've never had to yet, but I'm sure at some point it will be a staple. Does the fish oil give you heartburn? A lot of folks seem to get it with fish oil.

  10. I also take Iron, Calcium (with Vitamin D), and Fish Oil. I used to take Glucosamine but stopped after running out. I never particularly though I needed it.