Iron for Athletes

The major function of iron in the body is in the formation of compounds such as haemoglobin that are essential for the transport and utilization of oxygen. Iron is a required component cytochromes and enzymes within the mitochondria, making iron also an essential component for brain development and cognitition.

For the athlete, the reduction of iron stores could have effects on the capacity for oxygen transport and utilization within the blood and muscle system, athlete motivation, concentration and hence decision making during play.

Anemia caused by iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. It is well known that athletes are at greater risk of iron deficiency than the general population, due to the items listed below, and it should be managed to ensure there is no performance detriments.

The following situations effect the iron status of the athlete:  

meat is the best source of iron meat is one of the best sources of iron

The body takes in iron from the food we eat. Therefore it is important to have a balanced diet with adequate sources of iron.

Good dietary sources of iron are:

In some cases, supplementation of iron may be necessary. You should consult a medical practitioner who can assess your blood levels and prescribe appropriate action such as dietary changes, supplementation and blood infusion.

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Nutrition Extra

Athlete nutrition is not just about weight loss. It is important to fuel the body optimally before, during and after exercise, as well as to stay hydrated.

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