Vitamins and Minerals for the Female Runner

May 18, 2020

Key Vitamins and Minerals for the Female Runner

Nutrient status is very important for the female runner, especially for musculoskeletal health and for performance. Learn about Iron, Vitamin D and Magnesium regarded as foundational nutrients for good health.

Discover how to recognise the signs and symptoms of insufficiency and what foods to include in your food plan to promote nutrient status.

LISTEN HERE Episode 7: Vitamins and Minerals for the Female Runner



What are the key vitamins and minerals we should consider as female runners and why they are important for performance.


The role of iron in supporting support oxygen and blood, and energy production plus reasons we may be at risk of depletion i.e. menstruation, heel strikes (haemolysis) and secretion of hepscidin in the digestive system.


Highlighting the signs of insufficiency or deficiency in iron status and typical signs and symptoms to check for.


Choosing iron rich foods – what are the best sources (including plant based).


Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) and why is it so important for the female runner (bone health, muscle contraction and immune health)


Food sources and supplementation of Vitamin D.


Magnesium and the importance for runners (energy function, bone health, electrolyte balance, and conversion of glucose to glycogen.


Common signs and symptoms of suboptimal magnesium.


Foods sources rich in magnesium.


  • Females need to be vigilant regarding their iron intake primarily due to losing a significant amount of blood during menstruation
  • Vitamin D is important in the absorption and utilisation of calcium, which is vital for bone health. As bone health deteriorates with age and following menopause women are at higher risk of fractures due to low oestrogen (which is bone protective), women of middle age need to pay particular attention to their vitamin D levels to support bone strength.
  • Magnesium status is important for men and women re energy production, muscle function, done health, electrolyte balance and conversion of glycogen to glucose


  • It is important to consume a balanced and varied diet to ensure an adequate intake of ALL nutrients on a daily basis
  • Women need to take extra care and consider some key micronutrients to support their running performance, especially iron
  • Supplements have a role. However, food comes first. If a true deficiency becomes apparent, then supplements may be necessary whilst also introducing key foods
  • Be aware of your body and mindful of signs and symptoms – address them, don’t ignore them

Related Episodes:

Sports Nutrition Foundations for Female Runners

Performance Effects of Overtraining Syndrome


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

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