Multivitamins: How to Pick the Right Supplement
Truth or Vita-Myth?
POP QUIZ: If you work out hard, you need tons of supplements, right? Not necessarily, but certain capsules and products can help your endurance on those long runs. Take our quiz to separate fact from fiction.True or False: Athletes should take extra B vitamin supplements.
FALSE. New research shows that intense exercise increases your body's need for several B vitamins, which help repair muscle damage and reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to increased heart disease risk that rises in people who exercise for more than 12 hours weekly. But don't pop a separate B supplement. Just be sure your multi has at least 100 percent of the daily values (DV) for riboflavin, B6, B12, and folic acid, says Melinda M. Manore, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition and exercise sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis.Working out puts you at special risk for vitamin D deficiency.
TRUE. Over half of women don't get enough D, but athletes are especially likely to have low levels, says a review from the University of Wyoming at Laramie. Researchers think they slather on more sunscreen than the average woman (UV rays are a key source of D). Low D may affect muscle function and bone health (it's crucial for absorbing calcium to protect bones during high-impact sports). All women should aim for at least 1,000 IUs daily, but active women need up to 2,000 IUs. When choosing a D supplement, be sure to factor in what you get from your multi and calcium supplements.All those different energy bars do the same thing.
FALSE. Many bars are high in protein and fat, which may upset your stomach -- the last thing you need in a marathon. You need a bar that packs highly digestible carbs, which convert quickly to glucose to fuel working muscles. Have 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour to keep you truckin' (one good bet: Power Bar Performance Bars). After exercise, a bar with 6 to 10 grams of protein (such as a Clif bar) will help rebuild broken muscle fibers. The best bars have sodium and potassium to replace salts you sweat out but aren't overloaded with vitamins you already get from your multi.
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