Iron: What Do You Need to Know?

You may have heard a lot about iron and its importance in metabolism, especially for women due to menstruation.

Iron is a mineral that is used mainly by your body for carrying oxygen in red blood cells in the protein hemoglobin. The RDA for Iron is 18 mg/day for the average non-pregnant woman. If you don’t get enough iron, you will probably feel sluggish, tired and lethargic and not get much out of your workouts.

You may develop a condition called Iron Deficiency Anemia, in which you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry all the oxygen your body needs to function.

Are you getting enough?

In order to be sure you are getting enough iron, be sure to eat iron rich foods often. Red meat, clams, and oysters have a significant amount of iron in them. One serving of canned clams provides more than 100% of the RDA for iron for the average women.

Other high iron foods are lentils, spinach, beans, organ meat, and other meats. Unless you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure some of your iron comes from meat sources like red meat or organ meat at least a few times a week because iron from meat is more readily absorbed than iron from plants.

What should you do?

If you feel sluggish, lethargic, and hit the wall often during your workouts, consider going to the doctor to get a blood test for iron deficiency. The most obvious test for iron deficiency is hemoglobin and hematocrit. If these are low, you have full blown anemia and will likely need an iron supplement for a while or possibly permanently.

If, on the other hand, your hemoglobin and hematocrit are normal, you may still not have adequate iron stores. Ask your physician to test for ferritin, a protein that transports iron before it gets to the red blood cells.

If ferritin is low, you are probably iron deficient. Iron deficiency and anemia can really be a hindrance to your weight loss and fitness efforts, so be sure to take it into consideration, and eat your iron rich foods often.

Some speculate that he is part man, part animal, but the only thing that you need to know is his obsession and dedication to the art of living lean and helping you to achieve your body fat goals.


No comments.

Leave a Reply