Clean Eating, Sports Nutrition

Iron & Athletes

Iron is an important mineral for everyone, and athletes in particular, as one of its main functions is to carry oxygen from our lungs to other parts of our body (including our muscles) and take carbon dioxide back to our lungs to be removed. If you are low on iron you might feel more weak or fatigue more easily than expected. The best way to know though is through a simple blood test with your doctor.

Athletes, especially high-intensity & endurance athletes tend to lose more iron daily through sweat and hitting the ground with their feet (like long distance running and the explosive movements of CrossFit).

Sources of iron:
The best source of iron is meat, with poultry and fish next (oysters in particular are great). Plant-based sources like blackstrap molasses, dried apricots, beans, and spinach are all good but when possible should be combined with vitamin C (strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, peppers) to increase absorption.

How much:
If you’re going to track it, the recommendation is for men and post-menopausal women to have 8mg/day and pre-menopausal women to have 18 mg/day. Athletes may need more, however, depending on how much we lose. If you’re vegetarian, you should double that requirement since plant-based iron isn’t as well absorbed.