April 1, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Iron & Athletes

I know women who menstruate need more iron than men and postmenopausal women.

What about male athletes?

I have seen some literature that suggests they need more iron [than men who are not athletes], but my coach said he has never heard of that.

-- Scott Julin

(Location unknown)

Athletes of all sexes and ages require higher iron intakes than the average population.

The term "athlete", by the way, refers to people who train for significant amounts of time at high intensity.

I am often surprised at the amount of people who jog for 20 minutes three days a week and think they suddenly have the nutrition requirements of an Olympic medalist!

The reason for this higher requirement (roughly equal to that of vegans and vegetarians)? Athletes -- especially long-distance runners -- experience microscopic intestinal bleeding as a result of their intense physical activity.

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