CALCIUM: Calcium reduces stress-fracture risk by strengthening bones and plays a key role in muscle and nerve function. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people with high calcium intake have a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes. If you eat at least three daily servings of dairy, you probably have enough calcium in your diet. But if you regularly fall short, supplementing is a good idea.
Supplement: Take 1,000 mg of calcium citrate or calcium carbonate daily. To boost absorption, take it in two doses at meals a few hours apart.
FISH OIL: Studies show EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, help reduce exercise-induced asthma and muscle soreness and increase lean body mass. Both are in fatty fish, like salmon and sablefish. If you eat two or three servings of fatty fish a week, you get plenty of omegas, but if you’re among the 65 percent of runners who rarely or never eat seafood supplements are a good choice.
Supplement: A supplement with 1,000 mg of fish oil may actually contain little DHA and EPA, find one that contains at least 500 mg of DHA and EPA combined.
MULTIVITAMIN: A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found 35 percent of adults swallow multivitamins. Another recent study reported long-term takers are less likely to have heart attacks. If you’re healthy and eat a variety of whole foods, you probably won’t benefit, but if you struggle to eat all the food groups it can fill nutritional gaps.
Supplement: Pick one with 100 percent of the Daily Value for most vitamins and minerals, but avoid excesses. High doses of some nutrients can be dangerous. Humidity affects potency, so keep pills out of the kitchen and bathroom.