6 Best Herbal Supplements for Runners To Help You Perform at Your Peak

Published on July 22, 2023

By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

Maybe you love running, or maybe you’ve simply made peace with it because it’s a great way to release steam, promote cardiovascular health, and enjoy nature. No matter why you started running, you’re sold and looking for ways to elevate your running game naturally.

We’ve got you covered. We’ll explain what body parts need support while you’re hitting the pavement and tell you which natural vitamins, minerals, and supplements can help support your body so you can run your best run yet.

Why is Supporting Your Body Important?

For some people, running is just an easy form of cardiovascular exercise, and that’s okay. It’s budget-friendly, doesn’t take up a ton of time, and doesn’t require a gym membership. You can support your cardiovascular and respiratory health by simply lacing up and hitting the sidewalk.REF#2345 

Once you love running, you begin looking for ways to do it better. You want to feel more energized and be able to push yourself harder and farther. For that, you can turn to lifestyle changes and supportive herbs to help keep your body in peak athletic condition.REF#2346

Supporting your body can help bolster your energy each day and your ability to keep up with life, as well as encourage endurance and speed. However, supporting your body also means supporting yourself during recovery.

What Parts of Your Body Need Support While You Run?

As runners, we often look for ways to run longer and faster. That can mean added stress on the joints, muscles, and ligaments in our legs and feet, but also in our torso and arms.REF#2347 Because of this, supporting muscle and bone health is important for keeping your body conditioned for running.REF#2347 

You’ll also need to nourish your immune system because running can add stress to the body and (depending on the distance and pace) may weaken your immunity.REF#2347 It’s important also to support your mind to ensure you are mentally prepared for long periods of activity. 

We’ll look at several different supplements that can help support your passion for running, including herbal supplements you may not have previously considered. 

What Non-Herbal Supplements Can Support Running?

You know your body needs essential vitamins and minerals to function properly, but for running, there are several that are absolutely necessary to maintain healthy muscles and bones. Many runners take supplements like creatine, glutamine, beta-alanine, fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids, but a few other supplements may help support runners’ health.

1. Vitamin D and Calcium

Your joints take a beating when you’re running, as well as every tiny bone in your feet, so it’s essential to support your bones and joints with bone-building calcium.REF#2348 Calcium is essential for building strong bones, and it can be bioavailable to your body when you take it along with a vitamin D supplement.REF#2348

If you’ve ever experienced a stress fracture, you know they can sideline you for weeks. You may want to make this combination one of your standard running supplements, taken right along with caffeine or protein powder. You can take these vitamins separately, or you can take them together in a multivitamin

Calcium is also an electrolyte, as are potassium and magnesium. These minerals are crucial for hydration, and can also help support gut health.

2. Magnesium

Have you ever started a run only to get a massive muscle cramp that makes it impossible to finish? Limping back to the starting line, you feel frustrated and wonder how endurance athletes avoid these annoying cramps. 

Magnesium has been shown to support athletic performance by reducing the number of muscle cramps and spasms you have.REF#2349 It does this by counteracting the effects of lactic acid, which can build up in the muscles and cause muscle soreness after a workout. Magnesium can help support proper muscle contraction and also help with muscle recovery.REF#2349

3. Beetroot Juice

Beetroot is a good source of nitric oxide, which is essential for increasing blood flow to the muscle. This can help mitochondria with energy production and support muscle contraction.REF#2350

Beetroot is a favorite of long-distance runners who want to support circulation.REF#2347

4. Amino Acids and Protein Powder

Everyone needs protein to support protein synthesis and make new muscles. Amino acids are the building blocks of your muscles, and taking them can help support new muscle growth.REF#2351 

While the goal of most runners isn’t to gain a lot of muscle mass (which could slow you down), you’ll need to watch your protein intake and ensure you’re getting enough to support the muscles you’re using (especially in your legs). 

Taking whey protein or vegan-friendly protein powder can help check a few boxes on your list, especially if it is fortified with a probiotic to support your immune system and multivitamins (like vitamin B12 and vitamin C. 

What Herbal Supplements Can Support Performance in Runners?

Whether you’re a 5K queen or marathon runner, we’ve got a list of six herbal supplements that can help support your performance no matter how far you’re running.*

Spice up your health stack by adding these herbal support lines, adaptogenic powders, and multitasking mushrooms to maximize every mile. You can even add the powder to your pre-workout smoothie or protein shake. 

1. Cordyceps Mushrooms

Cordyceps are a type of mushroom our ancestors relied on to help keep them from experiencing exhaustion and lethargy. These mushrooms act like energy conductors in your cells, helping support your adrenals and ensuring the communication between them and your immune system is smooth and consistent.REF#2352 

Cordyceps contain compounds called polysaccharides, which researchers suggest can support your overall health and wellness. Further research has even linked these plant-based compounds to your ability to withstand longer periods of high-intensity exercise.REF#2352

2. Rhodiola

Increasing stamina and energy is something everyone (not just runners) can appreciate. Rhodiola Rosea, an herb that provides energy support, has been used for centuries to support endurance.REF#2353 Records indicate that even the Vikings used this herb to support mental clarity and physical endurance during battle.* 

Rhodiola rosea can also help support your adrenal glands, which work closely with your immune system.REF#2353 Studies of this herb have linked it with the ability to access explosive power during physically challenging workouts and have noted its ability to diminish feelings of fatigue and lethargy.REF#2353

3. Olive Leaf

Nothing can set back your training like a cold or illness. That’s why it’s key to support your immune system so you don’t have to miss a run. Olive Leaf has been used in traditional medicine for ages to help support the body’s natural immune defenses.

Running is a heart-healthy activity, but the longer you run and the further you go, the greater the change your immune system might take a hit. Many runners training for long distances experience a decline in immune health and may even notice upper respiratory discomfort after running marathons.REF#2347

As you increase your mileage for marathon training, it’s also important to increase your immune support with immune-bolstering supplements like Olive Leaf. 

4. Turmeric

We’ve all experienced the agony of pushing ourselves just a little too far or moving a muscle in a way it didn’t like. When we are suffering from sore muscles or joint pain, we can feel a little miserable. 

Usually taken with Black Pepper to support the bioavailability of this herb, the curcuminoids in Turmeric can soothe any related to running, helping you to feel better.REF#2356

Run Well

You’ve only got one body, so it’s important to support your body with the essentials it needs to properly handle the physical and mental stress of running. Luckily, Gaia Herbs makes it easy for you to support your body naturally.


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