Why Athletes Need Iron
There’s a reason Ironman is called Ironman. He’s made of it. Right? Iron, like calcium, is a common element athletes are deficient in.
Iron gives you energy—how important is that to an athlete?
*Awkward silence after rhetorical question*
Oxygen and Athletic Performance
Iron transports oxygen throughout the body. Obviously we need oxygen to breathe, but our muscles need it to function, too.
While training, if you’re doing it right, your muscles are working harder and need more oxygen to do so.
This is called cellular respiration. Muscles suck in oxygen and churn it out as ATP, aka energy. So while you’re pushing your limits, you intake oxygen, it enters your blood stream where it is transported to muscles in need. Your body knows which ones because they’re like that guy on the plane that has to press the attendant button every 3 and a half minutes. Your muscles are signaling for oxygen and the blood responds with a delivery. Some of it is used by the muscles and some is used to break down glucose from carbs to create more energy for your body.
If you run out of oxygen and your muscles can’t get what they need, they convert glucose into lactic acid and you activate your anaerobic system. Without oxygen demands being met, you become fatigued, your power drops and your performance suffers.
So what does this have to do with Iron?
Iron transports the oxygen! Without the oxygen uber, what do you get?
Not results, that’s for sure.
Iron and Performance
Iron is an essential mineral found in every cell of the body. Its main role is to transport oxygen in the blood to the tissues. When you’re training, iron works overtime to deliver fuel to your muscles so they can make more fuel from carbs.
In short, it helps your muscles work, helps the body convert carbs into energy during training, and aids in recovery by producing new proteins, cells and hormones to heal.
If you are deficient in iron, which is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, you will suffer from fatigue, reduced power and lacking results. That’s anemia right there. The killjoy of the athletic world.
Your body cannot produce iron. So if you don’t get enough from food or supplements, it’s like your suffocating your muscles.
And, while it’s the most common deficiency, athletes should watch their levels because they sweat iron out during training.
If you’re supplementing, supplementing with the right form is important, too. Iron already has a low absorption rate between five and thirty-five percent. Getting it in liquid form increases absorption.
Another form athletes should consider is one created by Albion Labs. It is an iron glycinate, which is iron attached to the amino acid glycine which is also needed to produce hemoglobin. So it aids in creating hemoglobin and possess a higher bioavailability than iron alone.
Get Iron and Get Results
So there you have it, you can’t argue with science. Or the body. Your body needs iron and as an athlete you use and lose more of it. As the number one deficiency, you should make sure you’re not running low, or your results will suffer. Iron isn’t the only thing athletes run low on, check out other natural muscle building and performance enhancing supps here.