Do you supplement .... Or not?

I have found myself pondering this question a lot this year. I have been an avid non supplement girl for years believing I can eat all I need. Earlier this year we got the news that my other half is to get ready for kidney dyalisis. This had meant many changes especially on the food front. One of the minerals we have to cut down drastically was potassium. As we runner know this is vital for our running and some would say they are certain minerals that we use in abundance from the longer runs. This had lead me to make the decision to find a good multi vitamin and mineral to compensate for leeching out the potassium in our main meals. I add in a banana here and there as well, but while looking around the subject I realise that there are many of these supplement recommended for runners and wondered if anyone here has their favourites.?

31 Replies

  • I am sorry your other half is going to have to have dialysis etc, i can imagine this has been a tough time for you both....?

    As far as supplements go, I swear by Berrocca. I often put it in a sports bottle for the gym too as it seems to boost me ( completely psychosomatic Im sure !!).

    The other thing I do is always eat a bag of crisps after a long run ( 8 miles or more) as I find myself craving them and have since read that its Ok in moderation!!

  • Thanks. In the past I've used saisburys own version of berrocca I will have to have a look at the nutrients in that again. I must admit anything over an hours run I tend to have kettle crisps as well, I like them with a little humus. It's my mid afternoon long run snack. It feels like a treat but as you say it's good for us.

  • That sounds delicious and nutritious too... I love hummous I must get some in!!!

  • Oh dear! Crisps are my weakness and I try hard not to eat more than one packet a week but now that I'm doing longer runs....... thank you JJ!

  • I am so sorry to hear this, i am afraid I can't help or suggest anything.

  • Awww thank you.

  • Sorry to hear that RFC. I'm sure that's tricky working out what both of you can eat.

    I don't take any supplements on a regular basis although recently I've been thinking of taking something for the joints as I think they need a bit of oiling at the minute! The only time I take supplements is when I feel a bit under the weather and take a daily dose of vitamin C and zinc for a couple of weeks and that perks me up. We're spoiled for choice nowadays though. Any time I look in Boots for vitamins etc I get overwhelmed with choice and walk out with nothing!

  • Thank you. There is so much choice, I am a great believer if it is in a reputable shop ie. Boots or the main supermarkets then it's of a good quality. So I tend to use non branded stuff.

  • Only yesterday, I purchased a course of multivitamins - and also forced myself to go outside and sit in the sun for 10 minutes (living in melanoma central, I normally avoid the sun as much as I can). I have been feeling a little weary lately and not sleeping well. We eat "healthily" -- but often I think it is quite difficult to get what is said to be necessary into without overeating. I usually have a small cereal breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and an evening meal - so I don't think that a daily multivitamin can hurt

  • I agree just as a top up if needed.

  • Sorry to hear about that.

    I have a few days of Spatone to boost my iron occasionally. I take a daily glucosamine too.

    Non running wise I take cranberry tablets.

  • Oh, and I have chia and flaxseed pretty much daily. Flax seed is an old habit.

  • Thank you. I have had iron and vitamin d on prescription but don't need it just now. I am thinking of glucosamine for my arthritis.

  • Omega 3 fish oil daily which keeps the pain from my arthritic big toe at bay

  • I was looking at the fish oils. That's one my husband has been told to get by his consultant for heart health. I have read it's good for runners as well.

  • Sorry to read of your issues. It is my belief and I have seen it on a few good medical programs (Michael Mosley comes to mind) that supplements are pretty much a waste of time and a placebo would do just as good. I think you would be better spending money on a varied diet. There is not one single food or additive that you could eat that would make you feel like superman. I think it is like sports drinks, good marketing but of no benefit. From programs I watch, I don't think there is a substitute to a wide and varied diet. I do stress, it is only my opinion I am not a doctor. I wish you well and good luck, but save your money.

  • I agree in general that most people get all they need from their diet. I have been prescribed vit D and iron in the past but hopefully that was just to top me back up and not needed now. I have a wide varied diet but 1/3 of my meals are now lower than before In Lots of nutrients, hence the thought. I was once told by a dietitian that there is no harm In Taking a multi vitamin from when the clocks go back to when the go forward. He said it was good not to let the body rely 100% on supplements but any excess would just be got rid of. Saying that I have trouble with the fact most vitamins don't work well together for absorption so how can one pill do all I want it to. I guess I am still conflicted.

  • I agree with hussainboltz. However I do take a multivitamin + minerals tab most days (from tesco) because I'm trying to lose weight, so messing with my diet, and the doc said it was a good idea. I used to take glucoasamine for my joints, but suffered tummy problems which went away when I stopped (and I've since read that tummy problems are associated with glucosamine).

  • I agree I will not spend a ton of money On Them and buy the shops own brands. We are so lucky in this country to have very good regulation on the products on our shelves. interesting about the glucosamine and your stomach, did you notice any difference in your joints when taking it?

  • did I notice a difference with glucosamine? I thought I did at first. But when I stopped I didn't notice any deterioration. The best improvement I've found is running! My knees and hips have never been better, probably because the muscles round them are stronger, or something similar, and because I've lost 70lbs in weight.

  • I didn't notice any improvement, so I stopped - I too had some digestion problems - but then I have a light intolerance to shellfish (luckily not a full blown allergy, since I love it!!! just have to have very little of it) - and glucosamine is extracted from shellfish (can't remember which one)

  • Sorry to hear bout your OH , not an easy time for you both ..

    I take cod liver oil and glucosamine tabs as extra supplements :) I also add some pumpkin and sunflower seeds to my overnight soaked oats for breakfast ,adds a nice bit of crunch :D

    As to whether it makes a difference ,hmmm , as long my brain thinks it does I am happy :D

  • It doesn't matter what opinion/study you read about on the Internet - there will always be others which don't agree or argue with it.

    My wife and I do try to eat "properly" -- but we are getting older and OF NECESSITY must eat less than we have in our earlier life. I also am exercising quite intensively (relatively speaking) - certainly more so than the norm. A lot of our vegetables/fruit in this day and age comes from cold storage so we don't really know the quality of the nutrition provided by it. Logic tells me that there is every possibility that our diets could be deficient in "something" :) I am however reluctant to take any kind of specific supplements - Vitamin B,C, D etc - or stuff supposedly good for things like arthritis. But only because of the fear of the fact that they are too specific in their contents -- which could lead to overdosing.

  • Multi vitamins for over fifties, cod liver oil and glucosamine with chondroitin all on a daily basis. I agree with mr Boltz that there is little evidence to prove that any of these things work any better than a varied diet, however the glucosamine in particular is something that I would be loathe to give up.

    About ten years ago I went to the doctor and asked about the possibility of going on the knee reconstruction waiting list, since I had got to the point where I had stopped going out for walks with the family because of the pain and the feeling that my knee would dislocate. The doctor told me to come back when I could no longer walk , which seemed harsh but was probably the best thing she could say to me. I did some research and despite no conclusive evidence in its favour, I started taking glucosamine. There was no sudden improvement, but enough over the years for me to consider trying to learn to run, which I would not have previously considered.

    My knees ached at the start of C25k, but now are stronger and more reliable than ever before. I also believe that placebo is a much misunderstood thing. If it works, it works....don't knock it.

  • I understand the desire of all who contribute on here for long good health and hence a better lifestyle, but I do urge caution when it comes to vitamin supplements. I cannot recall the actual program that I watched recently, but this market is not as regulated as we like to think and the marketing guys play on peoples health fears to up the sales of these vitamins. All our vitamins can be obtained from natural food, ok, some of it may not be pleasant to eat in its natural form, but we have access to such a variety of natural food sources today that our predecessors did not and exotic fruits, we are in some respects rather fortunate, you could if you really felt like it eat pure Garlic, I believe its a good alternative to Viagra, but have not tried it. If I can find a youtube link to the program I watched earlier in the year which showed how some vitamin supplements where not exactly what was advertised and this included some well known high st health food shops, I will post it. In the meantime, here is a link from The Guardian, make of it what you will.

  • Three years ago hubby had six mini stokes (TIA). Reason : his potassium was depleted. Now we are very aware of what we eat and have changed our eating habit. We do eat bananas regularly and potassium food to make sure he has the correct amount of potassium in him. So I wonder, if you add on lots of bananas to your diet, wouldn't this defeat the purpose of what you need to achieve?

    We used to give the dog some glucosamine and he used to have diarrhoea so we stopped.

    We eat a lot of fish and I have a small can of tuna (dried tomatoes and basil) for breakfast every day. I have also cut sugar from my diet. No added sugar or very very minimum. Somehow, over time, my permanent pains have disappeared.

    I do not believe in supplements although I have that little gremlin that keep telling me if I have a couple of jelly beans for a run I would do much better. So far I have not given in.

  • Glad you hubby is over that. This is my concern I don't have to have a low potassium diet but my husband does. I cook a main meal for us every night, this has become a low potassium meal. I read that runners can be more depleted in this mineral so that is my concern that over time I would not be topping my stores up as well as I used to. Do you think an average person has really good stores anyway? I would never add in lots of bananas but maybe just on run days. I also have cut out loads of sugar products over the last couple of years. I'm still working on what to replace my fuel for extra long runs with as I used to have jelly babies. like you I am a but undecided, for a HM its only 4 jelly babies for me so maybe not too bad.

  • Yes it is a difficult one. I don't have an answer. I wonder if the app "My fitness Pal" can help to monitor your potassium intake.

  • I use that but most foods dont put in the potassium. I have a good potassium app so maybe I should do both of ours and the add the bananas and plain crisps in when I am a bit down on mine, as they were the two things that made a difference to my husbands results going up.

  • Yes, it sounds like a good plan. You have a lot on your plate, so to speak 😬

  • I never used jelly babies, I don't like the texture and ii don't really do sugar . My sugar fix for a long run is one or two medjol dates - followed by a good drink of water :)

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