From a long run to a short jog, it’s natural for runners of all levels to get tired. But what about those who are dealing with anemia? A runner’s iron level can be depleted or just not enough, and this is something that needs attention before your next workout session.
Runner’s Anemia (RA) has two main possible causes: either from depletion or inadequacy in capacity stores of Iron-deficiency erythropoiesis syndrome). It may affect athletes differently depending on whether they have RA caused by low iron supply versus insufficient hemoglobin production needed during exercise due to increased demand for oxygen delivery.
Table of Contents
What is Runner’s Anemia or Sports Anemia?
Running is a great way to stay healthy, but it can take its toll on the body. Runner’s anemia could be one of three things: low iron levels in your blood, too little hemoglobin (a protein that transports oxygen), or not enough ferritin cells storing and releasing iron into the bloodstream; which makes day-to-day tasks more difficult for some people than others!
The condition might sound confusing at first glance with all these different words thrown together like “iron,” “hemoglobin,” and “ferritin”—but they’re actually easy to understand if broken down individually. Low Iron Levels are when there isn’t as much usable iron within red blood cells because their supply has been depleted due to frequent running
What does low iron in my body and blood mean?
Iron is a mineral that helps the cells get energy, so if your levels of it are too low then you might feel more tired than usual. Low hemoglobin means that there’s not enough oxygen getting to the muscles because they’re not using all their available resources for work. Ferritin stores put away iron within our bone marrow, which can be depleted by physical training or during illness causing us to become anemic (lack sufficient red blood cells).
Symptoms of Runner’s Anemia or Sports Anemia:
These are some general symptoms of anemia an individual can experience:
- Persistent Headaches
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty in concentration
- You will feel exhausted and tired most of the time
- Cold Extremities
- Pounding Heart
Other signs and symptoms:
Iron deficiency and low ferritin levels can cause a runner to feel heavy, sluggish, unmotivated. Additionally, they may experience feelings of fatigue or even muscle aches which are similar symptoms for someone with an iron insufficiency. The lack of these essential nutrients will greatly affect your performance as well as put you at risk for some common running injuries such as shin splints or stress fractures that could keep you sidelined from training sessions on the track altogether!
Anemia has a significant effect on runners’ energy levels and can lead to impaired performance. Low iron can deplete oxygen in the body which is necessary for cells to function properly; it also decreases endurance by decreasing VO2 Max, or the volume of oxygen your body consumes during exercise. Over time, anemia will cause thyroid problems that create hormone imbalances and affect running ability even more drastically than before.
Check out this great article if you want to know how to improve your VO2 Max.
Anemic individuals often experience extreme fatigue when they run because low amounts of red blood cells cannot carry as much oxygen as healthy people do – this significantly affects all aspects of their daily life due not only directly but indirectly too (i.e., decreased effectiveness at work).
Causes of Runner’s Anemia or Sports Anemia:
If you’re a runner, it’s inevitable that your body will break down. Intense activity causes an increase in red platelets and the need for more iron to keep blood levels properly regulated. Bumping impacts like footfalls can also cause hemolysis-the breaking of those pesky red cells!
The long-distance endurance runners are in danger for Runner’s pallor.
The iron lost through perspiration and, for a woman, menstruation put them at risk of becoming anemic; this combined with the body’s production of hepcidin which hinders absorption puts these athletes into dangerous territory.
How to overcome Runner’s Anemia or Sports Anemia:
A runner or sportsman can easily overcome iron deficiency within 4 to 8 weeks by making specific dietary changes. There are two kinds of dietetic alterations that runners may need to make, one including adding certain foods rich in iron like beans and lentils while the other involves removing substances that inhibit absorption (like tannins found in tea) or coffee, both of which diminish levels of Iron retention.
Omnivores with a well-balanced meal plan will find it easy enough to meet their daily consumption needs for this nutrient but vegetarians would require more time thinking about what they eat if they want good results from these particular food sources.
If you’re iron-deficient, it’s important to know that whole food sources of the mineral exist – both plant and animal-based. Iron-rich vegan foods include spinach, oats, dried natural products like raisins or apricots (dried fruit), as well as steel cut oatmeal with nuts/seeds sprinkled on top for a power breakfast! If your doctor has prescribed an iron supplement that does not contain calcium or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen then these are safe options too. Stay away from caffeine and other substances when taking supplements if you want them to work effectively
Iron is an essential mineral that’s not very well absorbed by the human body. There are several types of iron supplements, including pills and liquid forms like ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate which are more easily absorbed by your body. However most doctors will recommend taking strong tablets because they’re more convenient and don’t have a taste. Your body can only absorb about 15% of what you consume; if you’re a runner or athlete it would be wise to consider asking for the readily-absorbed form as these increase your odds at retaining energy levels (and therefore giving yourself temporary reprieve).