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4223 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Aug 31, 2008 1:40 PM by active52
vigtoire Rookie 14 posts since
Sep 12, 2006
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 11, 2008 1:08 AM

Vitamins for long distance running





I have recently been diagnosed with a slightly low white blood cell count. My doctor says it is because I am running 60 - 100k a week and my immune system is becoming slightly weaker. Can anyone recommend any specific vitamins to take or will a general multi-vitamin work?









  • Jay Silvio We're Not Worthy 1,775 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 12, 2008 11:09 AM (in response to vigtoire)
    Re: Vitamins for long distance running

    I would ask your doctor for specifics.  That said, it's important to remember that vitamin supplements should ideally be used as a back-up (in the true sense of the word "supplement") to a healthy and well balanced diet.  Yes, I take a daily multi; but your primary source of vitamins and minerals should come from your food, not from pills.  Eat plenty of whole foods including a wide range of vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains (and avoid processed foods as much as possible).  Also, don't forget to make sure you are getting enough sleep and integrating rest/recovery days into your schedule.  Make sure you are including a cut--back week each month to allow your body the time it needs to rebuild and repair itself.

    Good luck and happy running!


  • vinnysvitamins Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 20, 2008 10:32 AM (in response to vigtoire)
    Re: Vitamins for long distance running

    Keeping hydrated while running is the most important thing to remember.While it's very difficult to get all your vitamins and minerals through food, taking a good all natural,whole food vitamin such as New Chapters Every Man or Every Womens 1 daily is a good insurance policy. Maintaining a healthy immune system is vital for performance and well being. Running places a great deal of stress on the body. Glutamine is an amino acid with numerous benefits. Studies have shown glutamine reduces vulnerability to infections after prolonged exercise. Supplementing with glutamine will help improve recovery and immune function. Make sure a good diet is consistantly followed with plenty of whole grains, protein,fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of rest to allow maximum recovery. Good luck,[Http://|]

  • livefree Pro 85 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Sep 2, 2008 12:58 PM (in response to vigtoire)
    Re: Vitamins for long distance running

    You can ask your doctor for specifics but don't be surprised if he does not know much about vitamins. Nutritional medicine is not an emphasis in medical school. Read Dr. Ray Strand's book,




    You would be surprised at how medical schools spend little time on this topic.


    A vitamin supplement is a supplement because it should only be viewed as a supplement. It is not a replacement for real food. That being said, because of over farming and modern day methods with herbacides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, the vitamin content of our food is a fraction of what it was years ago. Farmers pick fruit and harvest vegetables before they are ripe so they will ship without bruising or going rotten. Tomatoes are subject to a gas in order to turn them red. How many times have you bit into a cantelope or a peach only to find that it was ropey and tasteless. The vitamins are not there either. At least not in the quantity you would expect. The AMA has always been against taking vitamins until a few years ago when the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that  it had reversed it's position. Here is a little quote from the news article:




         Reversing a long-standing anti-vitamin policy, The Journal of the
                                                       American Medical Association today is advising all adults to take at
                                                       least one multivitamin pill each day. Scientists' understanding of the benefits of vitamins has rapidly
                                                       advanced, and it now appears that people who get enough vitamins may be
                                                       able to prevent such common chronic illnesses as cancer, heart disease
                                                       and osteoporosis, according to Drs. Robert Fletcher and Kathleen
                                                       Fairfield of Harvard University, who wrote the new guidelines.

         Even people who eat five daily servings of fruits and vegetables may
                                                       not get enough of certain vitamins for optimum health, Fletcher said.
                                                       Most people, for instance, cannot get the healthiest levels of folate
                                                       and vitamins D and E from recommended diets, he said.

         "All of us grew up believing that if we ate a reasonable diet, that
                                                       would take care of our vitamin needs," Fletcher said. "But the new
                                                       evidence, much of it in the last couple of years, is that vitamins also
                                                       prevent the usual diseases we deal with every day — heart disease,
                                                       cancer, osteoporosis and birth defects."

    That does not mean you should replace food with vitamins. It just means that you might not be able to get all you need from the food that you are eating and a good quality multivitamin might fill in the gaps for you. Here are some particular vitamins to look for that could build up your white blood cell count.


    Vitamin A

    Vitamin A enhances white blood cell function, enhances resistance to

    infection and carcinogens, and helps maintain skin and mucus membrane

    defenses to infection. The problem is that you can take too much of this vitamin (overdose).I would suggest  that you take a vitamin with beta carotene in it instead. Beta Carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. That means that your body will turn it into vitamin A as it is needed. This is a much safer way to get your vitamin A without a risk of overdose.


    Carotenoids and beta-carotene


    Besides being a precursor to

    Vitamin A, beta carotene has its own unique immune-stimulating

    properties that Vitamin A does not. Beta carotene is also a potent

    anti-oxidant, but there are over 600 other carotenoids found in nature.

    Many, like lycopene and zeanxanthin have potent cancer-preventing effect.




    B vitamins


    The B vitamins are often thought to work together in concert as a "B Comlex." B6 is particularly important for immune function. Deficiency of B6

    is particularly common in teenage girls and young women who are prone

    to dieting and consumption of sugars and refined foods. It can lead to

    decreased white blood cell response and shrinkage of the critical

    immune system





    Vitamin C


    Championed by Linus Pauling as an antiviral and anticancer nutrient, Vitamin C is an immune system booster par excellence. White blood cells use Vitamin C to combat infections, and in the face of inflammation or microbial challenge, levels of  Vitamin C are depleted. Animals -- with the exception of guinea pigs -- have the ability to manufacture extra Vitamin C in their livers to replete their stores -- but humans and their distant

    rodent relatives lack the crucial enzyme that synthesizes C. Thus, when

    confronted by stress, we need additional outside sources of C. How much

    C is enough? Recent studies show that tissue levels of C top out at

    around two to three grams per day of oral intake, but

    nutritionally-oriented physicians sometimes overcome this limitation by

    administering high intravenous doses of C to patients with serious

    infections or cancer.




    Vitamin E


    Deficiency of this crucial immune booster is not

    uncommon. A survey of older Americans revealed that over 40 percent of

    elderly men and women had intakes of Vitamin E two thirds below the RDA (which is a paltry 40 international units!).

    Studies have shown a statistically significant reduction in infections

    in elderly volunteers with use of from 400 to 800 i.u. of  tVitamin E  daily. Lab measurements of immune function were also decisively enhanced. It is worthy of note that megadoses of  Vitamin E may be immunosuppressive. This is especially true if taken without sufficient amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C and E work together and they help to replenish each other. That is why they sould be taken together or in a multivitamin.




    Mostly thought of as a blood sugar regulatory mineral, recent research

    in animal models shows chromium can enhance the ability of white blood

    cells to respond to infection.




    A recent study shows that a diet deficient in copper

    affects the human immune system, reducing the activity of some cells

    that attack invading bacteria. Plans are underway to see if copper

    supplementation in non-copper-deficient individuals can further enhance

    immune function. Too much copper is a bad thing and inhibits the absorption of other nutrients. Again, it is best to take this in a balanced, high quality multivitamin.







    Supplementation of manganese has been shown to enhance natural killer cell and macrophage activity.


    Other vitamins and nutrients that are helpful to develop a strong immune system would be Zinc, Coenzyme Q10, Selenium, Glutathione and Phytonutrients like Garlic.




    Trying to find a vitamin with all of these nutrients in them with the right balance, quality and potency can be quite a task. Fortunately there was a study done by Nutrisearch Labs in which they compared over 1500 multivitamins and rated them according to potency, purity and effectiveness. This is an independent study and they are not connected with any particular vitamin company. I was surprised to find that Centrum and One-A-Day were at the bottom of the barrell. Only 30+ companies got a  five star rating. Only four companies got the highest rating. Click on the link below to read about it.





    The Comparative Guide To Nutritional Supplements


    Message was edited by: livefree

  • active52 Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 5, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 31, 2008 1:40 PM (in response to Jay Silvio)
    Re: Vitamins for long distance running


    I recommend you should slow down, and eat natural foods. In regards to vitamins, I am 56 years of age, and to this day in my life I haven't  take any vitamins, in-spite of , I have run 107 marathons, and I keep going strong. I have never listen to any one for eating habits, neither to my wife who's daily recommending me to take vitamins.



    Just take it easy for a while, and your body will hill naturally.



    I wish you the best!






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