The supplement I am most passionate about, especially for young female runners is iron. While in high school, I had a devastating experience my last two years of high school cross country. I would start out the season strong, even winning a couple large invitationals. But by the time the state meet rolled around I would be seeing black spots and could barely muster the strength to crawl across the finish line. My senior year was the worst season, I went into the cross country state meet with the fastest time and barely finished the race in 159th place. It would not be until my freshman year at the University of Washington that I learned what "blood ferritin levels" meant and discovered I was severely anemic. Ferritin is a protein in the body that binds to iron, and so the amount of ferratin present in your blood shows how much iron is stored in your body. Oxygen binds to iron for transportation throughout the body. Anemia develops when the red blood cells in your blood lack the ability to bind oxygen (low iron), and consequently organs throughout the body are not getting the oxygen they need to function optimally. According to WebMD, "Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects about 3.5 million Americans. Women and people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of anemia." I personally have seen teammates and running friends affected by anemia over the years, with similar heartbreaking races at the end of the season and general symptoms. This is why iron is the #1 supplement I recommend- especially for high school and college female athletes!!
I take Garden of Life's RAW Iron, because it is made up of raw food-created nutrients and comes with a probiotic/enzyme blend, organic fruit/vegetable blend, and Vitamins B12, C and folic acid to enhance absorption:
"In nature, individual vitamins and minerals rarely work alone to accomplish their tasks. Instead they rely on the help of other vitamins, minerals and co-factors. Our Vitamin Code RAW Iron is formulated to include these additional nutrients to more efficiently perform its vital functions in the body. Vitamin B12 and folic acid work together in the production of red blood cells and complement iron’s function in the formation of hemoglobin, all of which support healthy blood and a healthy heart. Taking vitamin C along with iron enhances iron absorption. Additionally, vitamin C is integral to building and maintaining collagen, a protein that holds the body’s cells in place, including blood vessels, supporting healthy blood and a healthy heart."