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Seven Top Supplements for Runners

What are the best supplements for runners, and which vitamins and supplements should they take before and after a marathon? Swanson Health Products has put together a list of the top seven supplements for runners and other endurance athletes to help you devise a proper nutrition plan for training, racing and recovery. This list goes beyond just protein shakes and amino acids; it incorporates some unique supplements that target key areas of the body, like joints and circulation, that must be in top condition for running a marathon.

1. Celadrin

Celadrin might be the best kept secret on our list. This supplement is great for joint health. Celadrin helps joints at the cellular level by lubricating the cell membranes that cushion bones and joints, improving flexibility. It's made from a blend of essential fatty acids and is fast acting and long lasting. It also benefits muscles, tendons and deep tissue. Celadrin comes in softgel form, as well as a topical cream that deeply penetrates the skin. 

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2. Fish Oil

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are fats that are good for you. Fish are a great source of omega-3s, but many of us aren't eating enough salmon or tuna to reap the health benefits. They are an asset to runners because they help blood vessels dilate. They also support brain and cardiovascular health, which is great for athletes and non-athletes alike. Fish oil is a great source of omega-3s, but vegetarians can get their omega-3s from flaxseed oil.

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3. L-Glutamine

Marathon runners endure intense training to get their bodies ready for the 26+ mile run. Physical stress can deplete glutamine from your body, which is why you should consider supplementing with it. As an amino acid, l-glutamine helps fuel muscles and can stop them from becoming sore during exercise. It also supports a healthy immune system, which can be burdened by endurance exercise.

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4. Magnesium

To run a marathon, you must have endurance, and magnesium plays a key role in endurance performance. In fact, it's one of the most important minerals in our diet. Magnesium assists with energy and muscle contraction. Extreme endurance sports, like marathons, can deplete magnesium from your body, so it's important to supplement. Magnesium has other health benefits as well; it promotes strong bones and muscles and supports cardiovascular health and nervous system function.

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5. Vitamins C and E

The next top supplement for runners is a two-for-one. Vitamins C and E are both great antioxidants that offer support for long distance runners. We all know that vitamin C gives the immune system a boost, but it also fights oxidative damage caused by exercise and environmental toxins. Like vitamin C, vitamin E fights free radical damage caused by exercising for a long time. It also supports the heart and cardiovascular system.

6. Whey Protein

Whey, one of the top protein choices, can help maintain muscle mass. Whey protein is absorbed more easily than other proteins. Athletes need more protein in their diet compared to non-athletes, and many use whey during the recovery period after exercise. It's a source of branched chain amino acids, which quickly work to support muscles after a workout.

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7. Zinc

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of top supplements for runners is zinc. Small amounts of this mineral go a long way. Zinc works with enzymes in our body, many of which are involved in energy metabolism. Endurance athletes often lose zinc during exercise, so it's important to supplement to build levels back up. Zinc is also needed to maintain a healthy immune system.

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