Sport-related iron deficiency: what are the causes?
Agonistic athletes may be subject to iron and haemoglobin level below normal range. […]
The basis of good health is always a varied and balanced diet. Athletes are well aware of this, so they pay a lot of attention to the quality and quantity of food they consume with their diet. However, sometimes, diet alone is not enough to meet the need for macro- and micronutrients before, during or after sports performance. In these cases, specific food supplements may be useful to support the body in cases of deficiency of one or more essential nutrients.
There are many types of dietary supplements for athletes. This is because, depending on the sport practised, it can be useful to support the body only with specific carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. However, it should be noted that food supplements are not a substitute for a varied and balanced diet, but can provide support to the body in cases of deficiency or increased needs for one or more nutrients.
Amongst the most suitable supplements for runners and joggers, nutritional supplements that help to quickly restore energy expenditure can be useful. Supplements useful during the racing are those containing carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin. To support the well-being of the muscles, on the other hand, supplements with branched amino acids are indicated. In the summer or in cases of excessive sweating, it may be useful to rebalance the normal amount of mineral salts in the body with supplements containing magnesium and potassium. These supplements can also be useful in cases of post-workout muscle cramps.
Those who practice road cycling and mountain biking put muscle endurance to the test, as do runners, therefore, maltodextrins are recommended during physical activity (to replenish sugars quickly and punctually), isotonic supplements (to replenish minerals lost through sweating) and protein and amino acid supplements to maintain the normal well-being of the muscles.
Sports characterised by intense and prolonged muscle exertion, such as endurance training, marathon, race walking or triathlon, may require increased iron requirements. Iron supports the formation of haemoglobin and myoglobin present in red blood cells and muscle cells, respectively.
Low haemoglobin levels can cause muscle fatigue and tiredness. In the case of sports such as endurance sports or marathons, micro-bleeding may occur in muscle tissue that can contribute to an iron deficiency. In people practising competitive sports, an iron deficiency or low haemoglobin and haematocrit levels can adversely affect performance in training and competition.
Women and young people who play sports may be subject to increased depletion of iron reserves due to specific physiological conditions. In women of childbearing age, for example, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or breastfeeding require more bodily iron; likewise, in children and adolescents, an increased need for iron is associated with growth and physical and cognitive development.
If there is a deficiency or increased bodily need for iron and diet is not sufficient to provide the body with the right amounts, you can support your diet with an iron-based nutritional supplement. Vitamin C, B vitamins and folic acid can also be useful in cases of iron deficiency, therefore, it is common to find these essential nutrients combined with iron in food supplement formulations.
The SiderAL® range of food supplements is designed to support the body in ensuring the right amount of iron in cases of deficiency or increased bodily needs. Those who practise sport must keep normal bodily levels of iron under control, without leading to a deficiency. The SiderAL® formulations, containing Sucrosomial® Iron, the exclusive patent of PharmaNutra which promotes a better intestinal absorption of iron, can be a valid ally to preserving normal levels of iron in the body at all ages.