It is common for athletes - especially runners - to be diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia. But why does that matter and what do you do now?
What Is It?Iron is a trace mineral that the body needs to obtain from food for proper function of key biological processes. Iron carries oxygen in the blood and delivers it to the lungs and muscles. It is also important for the proper function of the immune system. Each red blood cell that you have in your body contains a protein called hemoglobin (what gives red blood cells their color) that iron is attached to.
Why Do I Need It?
Getting the right amount of iron is important because it determines how much oxygen gets to the rest of the body. If iron is low, the body starts making fewer red blood cells—leading to fatigue, feelings of coldness, decreased physical performance and anemia. Both vegetarian and female athletes are at an increased risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.