Iron is one of the essential minerals that our bodies need in order to function well. Iron’s most important role is in helping to make red blood cells, which transport the oxygen around our bodies – essential when we’re exercising. If you have fewer red blood cells, your organs and muscles won’t get as much oxygen as they need to perform optimally. 

Daily Requirement

Men require 8.7mg of iron a day and women need 14.8mg of iron. If you’re eating a well balanced diet then you should be meeting your daily iron needs without too much trouble. Foods rich in iron include broccoli, greens, beans, nuts and dried fruits such as apricots. However, if you’re female, vegan or vegetarian, a runner or less able to absorb iron from your food, perhaps due to a B12 or folate deficiency, then you are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anaemia and could benefit from supplementation.

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia and is characterized by:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pale complexion

These symptoms may develop gradually, as it can take decades for your iron to fall to anaemic levels. If you have any concerns then your GP can perform a simple blood test to check your iron levels. Other types of anaemia can be caused by a lack of B12 or folate and again, your GP will be able to test to determine if you fall into this category.

Supplementation

Taking supplements such as the Elite Woman Super Multi-vitamin will help to restore your iron levels, as will a pure iron supplement. Replenishing your iron stores may take a few weeks or a few months, depending on how low they were to begin with, but you should feel the benefit quite quickly. It’s also to get B12 supplements however the vitamin is found in many fortified breakfast cereals, chickpeas, broccoli and products such as Soy Protein, Pre-Works, Advanced Oats and Breakfast Fuel i-Shakes.

Please note that unless you do have a confirmed iron deficiency, be wary of taking supplements as a “just in case” precaution. The side effects of taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
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vikkiroberts

vikkiroberts

I'm in my 30's and fit my sport in around a full time job, part time study (to become a PT), socialising and keeping the weeds out of my allotment. Diet is important to me a food is always on my mind; I eat therefore I run! I've have been a vegetarian for over 20 years with no notable detriment to my fitness or health and I'm enjoying learning about the benefits of supplements and how they can help me get the right things in my diet.I never used to be sporty but I'm now a runner first and foremost with a penchant for collecting medals and one marathon under my belt at the time of writing. More recently I have been dipping my toes into the world of triathlon. I'm not speedy but I am determined. There is always "one more race" in my diary.

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