Are vitamins and other supplements worth taking? Or should you rely solely upon your diet to supply all of your dietary needs? If you take enough vitamins and supplements, can you stop worrying about your diet? As an active runner, do you have different dietary needs than the average person?
The short answers are yes, maybe, no, and certainly. The long answer is that you should always work on an optimum diet before you begin worrying about supplements.
Vitamins and supplements should never replace a well balanced diet. When you eat vegetables, meats, and other natural foods then your body will be able to better absorb the vitamins and minerals that are present. They tend to be present in ratios that are ideal for quick and efficient absorption by the body.
Taking a vitamin or supplement by itself will usually mean that you are wasting the majority of your miracle pill. Your body can only absorb so much at a time, and if you do not eat any food when you take your vitamins then chances are pretty good that your stomach acid will destroy the majority of what you are taking it for before it has an opportunity to be absorbed by the body.
Even with food, you still need to be careful not to take too much at a time. A few years ago, I won a bottle of vitamins that’s contents were beyond ridiculous. I never even bothered to break the seal. There is no way that the human body could ever process 5000% of your daily B6.
If you are silly enough to try taking something like that, then you are going to wind up sending the majority of it out of your body through your now expensive urine. Many people can also have allergic reactions if they take too many vitamins over a short period of time.
If you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals through your food, then you are much less likely to have that sort of a problem. It’s only possible to eat so much of anything at a time before you become full.
If you are having trouble getting enough of a particular vitamin in your diet then it might make sense to take a daily multivitamin. If you have a pill splitter, then you should cut the vitamin in half and take half in the morning with breakfast and half in the evening with dinner. You can also get fortified foods and beverages, such as orange juice fortified with calcium. For example, now that I can no longer drink milk, I have to be mindful that I get enough calcium from other sources.
Protein shakes and supplements of that sort are also great for gaining weight and fueling your muscle mass. They can really aid in getting ready for a tough workout or recovering from one. If you do drink protein shakes, however, do not use them as a meal replacement. They are meant to be used in addition to your normal diet; if you are trying to lose weight then it may make sense to lay off of them. One protein shake can contain an entire meal’s worth of calories.
Any time you plan what is going to go into your body, always consider your diet first and foremost. A well balanced diet will provide the vast majority of what your body needs to be successful in any type of athletic endeavor. Once you have a balanced diet, then you can try taking vitamins and supplements that fill in the gaps in your diet.
Vitamins should always be taken with a meal to aid in absorbing as much as you can. Supplements such as protein shakes should never replace a meal and should be considered extra calories on top of your normal diet.