Ask The Coach: Should I Start Taking A Supplement?

Supplements are hotly debated in the athletic community. So how do you know if you need to start taking one?

NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for athletes of all fitness levels—especially when it comes to nutrition and dietary advice.

Do I need to take a supplement?

Often for female distance runners, doctors recommend a daily dose of calcium with vitamin D, which helps support bone health. You want to be able to continue to put miles on your body and minimize overuse injuries such as stress fractures, and calcium and vitamin D supplements help with that! Another important supplement is iron—not all but many runners have low iron/ferritin levels, and they don’t even realize it. As women, iron is lost monthly during menstruation, and when running, your hemoglobin (iron-containing protein) levels can be lowered as your red blood cells are damaged each time your foot hits the ground. Red blood cells transport oxygen to your muscles, so it is very important to make sure your levels are normal—or even high—as you challenge yourself with more activity than the average sedentary person. But before you do anything, consult with your doctor and get their advice on the right supplements for you.


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