Why Do Physically Fit People Suffer From Low Iron Levels?
Given the physical intensity of their lifestyle, athletes may lose iron through sweat, gastrointestinal tract, or red blood cell destruction (which can occur due to circulatory stress from muscle activity).
Iron deficiency can create a number of problems for athletes, such as exhaustion, diminished performance, and poor recovery. Iron supports a number of important functions within the body – transporting oxygen to muscles & tissues and energy metabolism to name a few. So athletes need to pay close attention to their iron levels as it directly impacts their performance and health.
Low iron, particularly in triathletes and runners, may also result from a phenomenon known as foot-strike hemolysis, whereby blood vessels burst in the foot due to repeated strikes against a hard surface.
You are at further risk of developing iron deficiency if you are an athlete as well as:
- an adolescent,
- a woman, and/ or
- you follow a meatless diet.
How Much Iron Do I Need?
The following chart outlines the Recommended Dietary Allowance (in milligrams) for iron.
Iron requirement also varies based on one's lifestyle (for example, high performing athletes, vegans, and vegetarians require a much higher amount of iron than the amounts outlined here).
USDA and Health Canada
But How Much Iron Is 6-8mg Really?
Eating iron-rich foods can be an effective strategy to keep your iron levels in check. However, it is often difficult to consume the recommended daily amount of iron this way.
Supplementation, such as the Lucky Iron Fish, can help support your iron stores, giving your body the nutrition it needs for peak performance.
A single use of the Lucky Iron Fish releases absorbable iron equivalent to that of a piece of steak or 8 cups of raw spinach.