The Importance of Iron
Written By Cat Blatner
Are you eating enough iron rich foods? It might be time to get your blood checked to confirm that your iron levels are up to par.
Blood health is super important when talking about recovery and performance. Without proper mineral support you might not be performing at your very best, and here’s why.
First off, iron is a major mineral found in hemoglobin, a protein found in your red blood cells that transports oxygen to the cells of your entire body. You can only imagine how detrimental it would be if your muscles weren’t being sent an efficient amount of oxygen. All the strength in the world wouldn’t matter the least bit if you are working with muscles that are essentially suffocating during your training session. Women who train at high volumes are especially prone to Iron deficiency while menstruating because of the loss of blood.
Signs of Iron Deficiency:
- Low energy / often feeling tired
- Declining performance
- Tight muscles / slow recovery
- Increase proneness to injury
- In women – very heavy periods
- Headaches during activity
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
Sources of Iron
Iron can be found in many meats, poultry, fish and leafy greens. For optimal iron absorption, avoid consuming caffeine or carbonated drinks with your iron source as this will decrease the rate of iron absorption. Consuming Vitamin C, however, will increase your body’s rate of iron absorption.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it would be well worth your time to get a blood test to check your iron levels. Iron deficiency is a growing problem and many people are anemic and don’t even know it. Keep your blood healthy and oxygenated for better performance in and out of the gym.
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Thank you for this. Back in February, my hemoglobin levels were just high enough (12.5 gm/dL) to allow me to give blood; two weeks ago, I was at 11.8 gm/dL, too low for a 67-year-old to donate. I’m on this with upcoming bloodwork, and am hopeful that it’s just a matter of regularly blood donation that has depleted me…….but it’s still cause for concern. Your list of signs of iron deficiency is both useful and encouraging — something to pay attention to moving forward, but positive in that only two of the signs apply to me. (And for one of… Read more »