All the nutrients a runner needs and where to get them

VITAMIN C

WHY YOU NEED IT - Boosts your immune system to protect against
infection, speeds the healing process and helps to prevent cataracts
RDA 40mg (upper limit: 1,000mg)


GET IT - One orange or 50g of sliced peppers.

RISK FACTOR - Unpleasant rather than dangerous side effects, a vitamin C megadose
could cause a stomach ache and
bouts of diarrhoea.

VITAMIN B

WHY YOU NEED IT - Releases/stores energy. RDA B1: 1mg, 0.8mg; B2: 1.3mg, 1.2mg; B3: 17mg, 13mg; B6: 1.4mg, B12: 1.5mcg; 1.1mg; folic acid: 0.2mg

GET IT - 2 tsp of Marmite + two slices of wholewheat toast + 140g of grilled chicken breast + 200ml of semi-skimmed milk.


RISK FACTOR - Enormous doses can lead to nerve and liver problems. The safe limits are: B1: 100mg; B2: 40mg; B3: 500mg; B6: 10mg;
B12: 2mg; folic acid: 1mg.

VITAMIN A

WHY YOU NEED IT - Keeps your vision sharp and your skeletomuscular system strong.
RDA 0.7mg men; 0.6mg women (upper limit: 1.5mg)

GET IT - Half a carrot or 37g of chicken liver pate.

RISK FACTOR - Too much could be bad for your bones. Don’t eat A-rich liver or pate more than once a week – and to avoid taking in too much
of the vitamin, liver-lovers shouldn’t
take any supplement with A or its
relative, betacarotene.*

VITAMIN K

WHY YOU NEED IT - Heals wounds by helping the blood to clot.
RDA 1mcg for every kilogram of
body weight (upper limit: 1mg)


GET IT - 1g of kale or 12g of broccoli.


RISK FACTOR - If you’re on blood-thinning drugs, avoid K-containing supps. The rest of us can probably also give extra K tablets a miss – bacteria in the large intestine actually make the vitamin themselves.

VITAMIN D

WHY YOU NEED IT - Helps strengthen bones by promoting calcium absorption.
RDA 5mcg (upper limit: 25mcg)


GET IT - 213g of canned salmon or 10-15 minutes of sun twice weekly.


RISK FACTOR - The British Medical Journal says half of us are D-deficient. Don’t overcompensate, though: a large-scale study linked very high levels to the heart condition atrial fibrillation.**

VITAMIN E

WHY YOU NEED IT - Thins the blood and prevents free radicals damaging cells.
RDA 4mg men; 3mg women (upper limit: 540mg)

GET IT - 15g of sunflower seeds or two and a half tablespoons of peanut butter.


RISK FACTOR - E reduces your risk of ischaemic strokes, which are caused by blood clots, but having very high doses actually increases your chances of haemorrhagic stroke –
or bleeding in the brain.*

sources: * life science, nutrition review, journal of bone mineral research, **American heart association, ***British medical journal