If you feel tired, sluggish, fatigue easily, or have frequent headaches, you may be iron deficient or have iron deficiency anemia.
Iron is a component of hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood. It is also a component of myoglobin which carries oxygen in the muscle. If an athlete is lacking in iron, their performance may suffer and may be more proned to get sick.
Athletes who participate in endurance sports and menstruating women are susceptible. Iron can be lost through sweat, urine, blood (with menstruation), and the impact of hard foot strikes may destroy normal blood cells called haemolysis (usually with running mileage>40-50 miles/week).
The recommended amount is 10mg for men and 15-18 mg for women. Some suggest that athletes need more. NOTE: 18 mg is used as the Daily Value labeled on food items. An example would be a Promax bar contains 25% DV of Iron (4-5 mg). One cup of Total cereal contains 100% DV of iron (18 mg).
Animal products are the best sources of absorbable iron with beef being the –all time best”. Red meat has 2 times as much iron as chicken and 3 times as much iron as fish. Sources include:
Yes, however they are not absorbed as well when eaten alone. The absorption of these foods can be enhanced by eating them along with the animal food sources listed above and/or Vitamin C rich foods. Sources include: