Iron & Exercising by Lucy Wyndham

Posted on
June 16, 2018 by

Why You Need More Iron While Exercising

Every year, 33% of Canadians resolve to embrace personal fitness in their lives, according to Ipsos. Not only does living a healthy lifestyle mean exercising regularly, but it also means taking the recommended nutrients. While there are many fun and effective option for getting exercise, it’s no secret that most of us forget the importance of workout nutrition. This can be quite detrimental to your health, especially if you ignore some basic nutrients like iron. The truth is, exercising can also reduce the amount of iron in your body, making it even more essential to replenish its levels. Here’s all you need to know about iron and exercise:

How Does Exercising Lower Iron Levels?

Although iron deficiency is mostly connected to high endurance sports among other common causes, even a fun and simple fitness exercise like pole dancing can still lead to low levels when combined with other factors. Exercise causes inflammation, which encourages the production of the hormone hepcidin. The hormone then reduces the levels of iron in the blood. Excessive exercise can further block the absorption of the mineral into the body. Other factors that might contribute to deficiency include the production of menstrual blood in women, gastrointestinal blood and the loss of iron through sweating during exercise.

Replenishing the Levels of Iron in Your Body While Exercising

The recommended daily iron intake for adults above the age of 19 is 8mg for men and 18mg for women. However, this rate will vary for women in different stages of life, such as pregnancy, where they need more mineral intake. To maintain the right levels, indulge in food like eggs, liver, chocolate, lentils, sardines, and spinach, which are all rich iron sources. If maintaining a high intake level is tough due to dietary constraints, then taking iron supplements is a wise choice.

Taking Enough Vitamin C Is Also Wise

There are two types of dietary iron: heme and nonheme iron. The body will typically absorb 15-35% of the heme iron, which is produced from animal food products. The nonheme iron, which is from plant-based foods, only gets 2-20% of it absorbed into the body. When taken with vitamin C, the nonheme iron absorption levels increase. This is because the vitamin combines with it to form a compound that can be easily absorbed into the body. You can get a good serving of vitamin C from cabbages, cauliflower, tomatoes and broccoli.

Low iron levels can not only lead to diseases like anemia, but can also lead to you experiencing fatigue from a few minutes of working out. Ensuring that you take the recommended daily intake of iron is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Consider the above guidelines to keep up with taking healthy iron levels for your workout routine.