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Causes of iron deficiency in athletes

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Causes of iron deficiency in athletes

The importance of iron for human health

The human body uses iron in the redox reactions and to provide cells with oxygen. About two-thirds of endogenous iron is contained in hemoglobin. In the composition of this protein iron carries oxygen from the lungs to all body tissues, and carbon dioxide in the opposite direction.

The muscle protein myoglobin also contains iron. Without myoglobin, the muscles can’t work. This protein takes oxygen molecules from hemoglobin and transfers it to cells for use in oxidation reactions. Myoglobin provides a reserve of oxygen in the muscles, it stores it in excess and releases the shortage (at the time of muscle work).

Iron-containing compounds are also catalysts of oxidation-reduction reactions of the cytochromes. They represent a unique enzyme that promotes the breakdown of various substances from fatty acids and steroids to drug compounds and carcinogens.

The occurrence of iron deficiency for fitness

According to research by North American scientists, conducted in 1995, the lack of iron experience 30-47% of women and 2 to 13% of men. Perhaps this difference is due to smaller amount of food consumed by women. But they need this trace element more than men.

Athletes belong to the category of people who face the risk of iron deficiency. There are several reasons. Too intense and frequent physical activity can interfere with the absorption of trace elements. In addition, during training increases sweating, and in one litre of sweat contains up to 530 mg of iron. The athletes after long runs often found blood in the urine, and this is also the iron loss.

For fitness fanatics there are also General, not sports-related, background iron deficiency: a diet low in meat content, heavy periods, parasitic diseases, gastrointestinal bleeding. Any injury involving loss of blood, is always a depletion of iron, because it is mainly found in erythrocytes.

Ways to maintain a stable level of iron

With significant iron deficiency takes time to change the situation. It may take several months. But too zealous with the restoration of iron stores is not necessary, because its excess has toxic effects on the body.

To prevent a shortage of this trace element you can take an iron Supplement, but also a substance that promotes better absorption of iron and prevents its excretion from the body. In 2004, scientists conducted an experiment which revealed the correlation between maintaining a stable level of endogenous iron and more vitamins C and E.

According to the program of study, athletes within three months had to perform endurance exercise training 14 hours a week. During this period, the level of iron in the blood of athletes from the group who did not receive supplementation, declined by 24%. And their colleagues during the first month were given 500 mg of vitamin E and 30 mg of beta-carotene, and during the last 15 days they received 1 g of vitamin C. as a result of this nutritional Supplement, they’ve managed to completely avoid the loss of important trace element.

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