Iron is an important mineral for health and fitness. In this article, you will learn why it can be dangerous to have a deficiency, or vice versa, when you get too much iron in your body. Your body needs a certain amount of iron to function properly. Not everyone in the regular diet receives enough iron. If you are replenishing iron, here is everything you need to know.
What is iron and what does it do?
Iron is a trace mineral that helps the body transport oxygen through the blood and muscles, creates red blood cells and releases energy from cells. Iron is contained in hemoglobin, where it carries oxygen from the lungs to the whole body, also in myoglobin, which transfers oxygen to the muscles. So when you have a high enough level of iron, the supply of oxygen to your whole body will reward you with the influx of energy.
How much iron do you need?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adult men (19 to 50 years of age) is 8 milligrams. The RDA for adult women is 18 milligrams per day. This difference is mainly due to monthly blood loss during menstruation in women. Therefore, the RDA for postmenopausal women is reduced to 8 milligrams. Most people can cover their daily iron needs by eating a healthy diet full of raw foods.
What happens if you don’t have enough iron?
Iron deficiency can result in iron deficiency anemia, which means that the red blood cells are either low or damaged. Because iron helps carry oxygen, symptoms of anemia include low energy levels, poor performance, intolerance at low temperatures, and even a pale, diseased appearance. If women do not get enough iron during pregnancy, it can be dangerous for both mothers and babies.
Who is at risk of iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the United States, especially among women. Iron from meat is easier to absorb and use as iron from plants, so vegans, vegetarians and others who do not consume meat products are at risk of iron deficiency. Interestingly, the action of the foot on the ground is the main cause of damage or loss of red blood cells. This means that long-distance runners also have a high risk of iron deficiency. Hard exercise can generally increase the number of red blood cells, which means you need more iron to make them. Iron is also lost through sweating, so the more an athlete sweats, the more he may be at risk of iron deficiency (although this can be very variable). Bodybuilders preparing for a competition or show often dramatically reduce their calorie intake while trying to maintain or increase their training volume. This can result in the loss of important micronutrients such as iron. All athletes must secure enough iron!
Why is it good to supplement iron?
If you have low levels of iron, supplementing to an adequate level can help protect your health, physical performance and energy levels. Athletes who are deficient in iron are likely to experience great improvement after supplementing it. If you have enough iron and just hope that if you take even more, it will be advantageous for you, then you are wrong. The benefits of iron supplementation are visible only to those who have had iron deficiency. If your levels are normal after iron supplementation, you will not feel the difference. In any case, to really know that you need iron supplementation, you need to check your blood levels and consult your doctor.
What are the side effects of iron supplements?
The upper limit for iron was set at 45 milligrams per day. Consumption above this dose (usually through overdose and inappropriate overdose) may cause toxicity, including symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, dizziness and vomiting.
Where is the most iron in the diet?
The easiest way to supplement iron is to eat red meat and some seafood such as clams and oysters. As for plant sources of iron, they include legumes, whole grains and leafy vegetables. While the bioavailability (that is, the amount your body can absorb) of iron from meat is lower than from plant sources, eating both types of iron along with vitamin C can help you absorb more. For example, orange juice with oatmeal, or tomatoes in a salad or oysters drizzled with lemon. If you eat enough red meat, fish, legumes, whole grains and leafy vegetables, you will probably get enough iron in your body. Vegetarians must already consider how to achieve adequate levels when consuming plant iron sources in combination with vitamin C.
What forms of iron are available?
For most people, iron taken from food is enough. However, if your doctor recommends supplementing it, you can find it in many multivitamins, or separately in the form of capsules or gel (both forms are fine). Ideal for the best absorption is the use of iron on an empty stomach. The dose is determined by your deficiency, your energy needs and how much iron you get from your diet.
What are the possible interactions of iron?
Coffee can reduce the absorption of iron if you drink it with or after a meal. Do not affect the absorption if you have coffee an hour before a meal. Dialysis patients have reduced kidney function and lack erythropoietin, a hormone that signals the production of red blood cells and is formed in the kidneys, so reduced kidney function is associated with anemia. In addition, diets prescribed for dialysis patients with some drugs may affect iron absorption, which guarantees higher doses. There are a number of drugs that affect iron absorption, such as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for high blood pressure. Prilosec, Zantak for ulcers, heartburn and gastrointestinal problems. Antibiotics such as tetracyclines (Vibramycin, Minocin) or quinolones (Cipro, Noroxin)
Having enough iron is essential for health and good sports performance. However, this does not mean that it is necessary to replenish at all costs. Too high a level can be just as bad. Eating lots of leafy vegetables, meat, fish, legumes and whole grains should give you plenty of iron. If you have symptoms of deficiency or are in the high-risk category, see your doctor to have your blood tested for iron.
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