Iron deficiency is a key concern in endurance and competitive athletes. Low levels of iron can cause poor recovery and fatigue. The iron is essential for athletes for its role in oxygen transportation during aerobic activity. Red blood cells are critical to an athlete’s performance as they transport oxygen from the lungs to muscles during high levels of activity and training.
Hemoglobin is made up of iron which carries carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood. The transfer of oxygen to the muscle cells is through iron. ATP is the body’s primary energy source is produced with iron also. While the body does not produce iron naturally it is essential for us to get it through proper diet and some supplementation. There are 2 different types of iron sources, heme and non heme. Heme sources are meat fish and chicken are having a 25% absorption which no heme foods like vegetables and supplements only have a 3-15% absorption rate.
The role of iron is necessity for not only your health but for maximum performance and optimum athletic recovery. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common in females. Ferritin is the transport protein that binds to iron in the body release it as it is needed. This ferratin is essential to keep the iron freely traveling in the body and this plays a key role in anemia and iron deficiency.
Athletes talk about VO2 max and a deficiency/low-level of iron as it will reduce the body’s ability to use oxygen and ATP in the muscles. Normal iron levels are between 38 and 169 µg/dL and ferritin levels are between 13 and 300 nanograms per milliliter. I have a recent testing through Athlete Best Testing (ABT) which showed that my iron and ferritin levels were slightly lower than normal as I was not experiencing any fatigue or decreased recovery times. This test was an indicator that I needed slight changes to improve the blood chemistry to optimize my performance. I do believe that through proper dietary (Desiccated Liver) and supplements that my body will be able to utilize and store this iron more effectively. I addressed this issue thru desiccated liver supplementation along with chlorophyll and enzyme formula to increase the absorption of this iron.
While my training has been at its maximum my iron levels needed to improve but with decreased training intervals, I will be able to reduce my iron and liver supplementation accordingly. I found that regular quarterly blood testing not only can check my overall health status but my Red Blood Cells, hemoglobin, iron and ferritin levels to know exactly where my system stands. During high and moderate levels of training my intention is to maximize my absorption of iron through proper diet and supplementation. Iron is a key element in everyone’s health but is essential for endurance high-performance athletes