Women Who Take Iron May Exercise More Effectively

Iron to Exercise More Effectively

Indeed, women who consume iron do exercise more effectively than those who suffer from iron deficiency do. Iron plays a key role in oxygen transportation as well as fuel utilization.

Many studies have been conducted to prove that supplementing with iron rewards you with a boost in stamina as well as marked improvement in exercise performance. It is more important for athletic women to consume iron in order to avoid any sort of deficiency and maintain a stable stamina.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is more common in women than in men. Most women who reach child-bearing age develop iron deficiency.

Sadly, most of the time, symptoms are not noticeable until deficiency becomes serious enough to show symptoms such as brittle nails, sore tongue, enlarged spleen, and recurrent infections. Iron deficiency produces fatigue and exhaustion and eventually results in iron deficiency anemia, which leads to women feeling too tired to get the exercise they need.

Athletes, however, suffer more from iron deficiency because they can easily lose iron through sweat, urination, and the gastrointestinal tract. It is more common for female than male athletes to develop iron deficiency because of the added deficiency they incur due to monthly menstruation.

Supplementing Iron to Exercise More Effectively

Since the human body cannot produce its own iron, taking an adequate supply of iron is necessary for everyone in order to exercise more effectively, especially for athletes. Although there are many iron supplements available in pharmacies that help stave off iron deficiency, the best and healthiest way to do this is to include iron in your diet by consuming foods that are high in iron. Here is a list of some ways to increase your iron intake:

  • Combine plants that are high in iron, such as leafy veggies, orange juice, and lentils and greens—in other words, foods that are rich in vitamin C;
  • Avoid the use of cookware other than cast-iron cookware in order to increase the iron content.
  • Avoid drinking tea or coffee while eating iron-rich foods because both beverages can impair iron absorption.
  • Foods that contain phytates and oxalates, such as grains, wheat bran, spinach, and other veggies, should not be paired with iron-rich foods since these foods impair iron absorption.
  • Calcium-rich beverages should also be avoided in combination with iron-rich foods as this can also result in the impairment of iron absorption.

Precautions When Taking Iron Supplements

At the same time that iron can help women exercise more effectively, too much of it can not only work against you, but it can be dangerous.  This can be said about any nutrient, as nearly all are harmful in excessive amounts.  However, the balance with this essential mineral is easier to disrupt than that of many others.

Moreover, iron can be toxic to such a degree that the digestive tract tightly controls its absorption.  This can help to keep some of the largest threats of excess iron from occurring.  However, it’s still very important to be careful to not to take iron supplements excessively over time.  Those natural safety mechanisms can fail, and the result is often health issues that can be very uncomfortable or dangerous.

Iron Toxicity

Iron toxicity is something that can occur gradually over time, or it can strike quite suddenly. There are many serious side effects that can occur as a result of accidentally overdosing on supplements or from taking high-dose supplements over time when they are not needed.  People with chronic iron overload disorders are particularly at risk of toxicity from this nutrient.

Under normal circumstances, in a healthy person with healthy iron levels, this mineral circulates within the bloodstream.  It bonds to proteins – such as transferring.  This binding is an important step within the body that helps to stop it from being harmful.

However, when the “free” iron levels in the bloodstream significantly rise, toxicity is the result.  This certainly won’t help you to exercise more effectively but is more likely to hold you back.  Too much iron in the bloodstream has an oxidant effect (the opposite of those desirable antioxidants we’re always told we need).  This oxidation is damaging to the cells of the body.

There are a number of conditions that can occur from iron toxicity. These include:

  • Iron poisoning – This type occurs when iron supplements are used to the point of overdose. It is most common in children.
  • African iron overload – This type occurs when iron intake is excessive due to high amounts consumed in food or drinks. Its name comes from the first observation of this condition which resulted from brewing beer in iron pots in Africa.
  • Hereditary hemochromatosis – A genetic disorder in which sufferers absorb too much of the iron contained in their food and drinks.

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