What Athletes Need to Know About Iron Deficiency:
Iron Deficiency Symptoms:
Athletes need to know about iron deficiency symptoms, which are not always obvious when it comes to your own health. When you have anemia, you may experience fatigue, weakness or even loss of energy. You might feel tired all the time and lose motivation in activities that require mental concentration such as math problems or writing essays. You might also develop a rash around your mouth and throat, nausea and vomiting, headache, shortness of breath, constipation or diarrhea.
Other symptoms include hair loss (especially on your head), brittle nails and poor vision. Some people may get sick from eating foods containing iron such as meat, fish or poultry. If you don’t eat these foods regularly then you could suffer from anemia too. Another symptom that occurs due to anemia is impaired growth. An athlete needs to take iron supplements if they want to grow at their best. There are different types of iron supplements available for athletes. They come in tablets, capsules or powders. They are either for adults or children under the age of 18 years old. These products contain varying amounts of iron and must be taken daily to ensure adequate intake of iron into your body. Iron supplementation is essential for athletes because without it they won’t be able to perform well during training sessions and competitions.
The importance of iron for athletes:
Athletes need to know about the importance of iron, especially if they have been diagnosed with anemia. If your diet doesn’t contain enough iron, you are more likely to suffer from physical fatigue or tiredness, especially during training or competition. Your muscles need oxygen to work properly, which is supplied by the iron in your blood. When you have been diagnosed with anemia, you need to increase your intake of iron-rich foods or take an iron supplement until your physical condition improves.
If you have too much iron in your blood, then you may experience side effects such as abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stools or diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking an iron supplement, see a doctor immediately.
There are different types of iron supplements for adults and children available over-the-counter without prescription. Talk to your family doctor before taking any iron supplements and never give them to children under the age of 18 unless instructed to by a medical professional. Do not exceed the recommended daily dose, which is normally printed on the label. Ingesting too much iron can be very dangerous.
You need to know about the different types of iron supplements for children and adults when you have been diagnosed with anemia. Taking iron supplements is the only way to increase your intake of iron in your diet if you don’t eat enough iron-rich foods. There are different types of iron supplements available for children and adults, which contain varying amounts of iron. They come in various forms such as tablets, capsules or powdered mixes that you can mix with water.
You can buy these over-the-counter without a prescription. Talk to your family doctor before taking any iron supplements.
Types of iron supplements:
Iron bisglycinate (Fergon)
This is suitable for children and adults who don’t tolerate iron sulfate well. It is available as tablets or capsules and should be taken with meals.
Iron fumarate (Fedratin)
This is suitable for children aged 1-13 who need extra iron. It is available as a flavored liquid that can be taken directly from the mouth or mixed with food or liquids.
Iron gluconate (Fergon, Fergon Junior)
This is suitable for children aged 1-6 who need extra iron. It is available as chewable tablets.
Iron gluconate-fumarate (Fergon)
This is suitable for children aged 1-13 who need extra iron. It is available as chewable tablets with a fruity flavor.
Iron sulfate (various)
This is suitable for children and adults who need extra iron. It is available as chewable or liquid capsules or tablets, which can be taken directly from the mouth or mixed with food or liquids. This type of iron supplement should be taken two hours before or after taking any medicine. It is important not to exceed the recommended daily dose.
Iron fumarate (Feuro)
This is suitable for adults with iron deficiency anemia and chronic kidney disease who need extra iron. It is available as tablets and should be taken with food. If you experience any side effects such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea when taking this, consult your doctor immediately.
Do not take other medicines and supplements without first discussing it with your doctor. Some medicines, vitamins and minerals can interfere with the absorption of iron. If you do need to take other medicines, vitamins or minerals, take them at least two hours before or after taking the iron supplement.
Your doctor may recommend that you eat more iron-rich foods while you are taking the supplements. Iron is much better absorbed from food than from pills. Foods that are high in iron include red meats such as beef and liver, shellfish, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dried fruits, oatmeal and enriched cereals. It is important not to take in too much iron, as this can be bad for your health.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of iron overload.
It takes several months of taking iron supplements before your body gets the amount of iron that it needs. Your doctor will decide when you no longer need to take the supplements.
Written by Lindsay Radford, pharmacist at Pharmacy Direct Online
Last updated: 25/05/2018
Sources & references used in this article:
Iron and the athlete by NA Suedekum, RJ Dimeff – Current sports medicine reports, 2005 – Springer
Iron deficiency in adolescent female athletes—is iron status affected by regular sporting activity? by G Sandström, M Börjesson… – Clinical Journal of Sport …, 2012 – cdn.journals.lww.com
The anemias of athletes by ER Eichner – The Physician and sportsmedicine, 1986 – Taylor & Francis
Iron status in athletes by IJ Newhouse, DB Clement – Sports Medicine, 1988 – Springer
Iron deficiency in adolescents and young adults by WL Risser, JMH Risser, B Goldberg – The Physician and …, 1990 – Taylor & Francis
Endurance swimming, intravascular hemolysis, anemia, and iron depletion: new perspective on athlete’s anemia by GB Selby, ER Eichner – The American journal of medicine, 1986 – Elsevier
Anemia and blood boosting by R Eichner – Sports Science Exchange, 2001 – secure.footprint.net
Iron deficiency and reduced work capacity: a critical review of the research to determine a causal relationship by JD Haas, T Brownlie IV – The Journal of nutrition, 2001 – academic.oup.com