Many females like myself experience tiredness and lightheadedness, especially during that time of the month.
Weakness, breathlessness, paleness, lack of concentration and even headache can also be symptoms of iron deficiency.
Haemoglobin is found in red blood cells (erythrocytes) and is defined as an iron-containing protein. The major function of haemoglobin is to distribute oxygen from the lungs to all the tissues in your body (eg. organs and muscles) and return carbon dioxide from the tissue back to the lungs.
Iron deficiencies may be caused by the nutritional problem, particularity in poorly balanced plant-based diets. There is an increased demand for iron consumption especially in an adolescent growth spurt, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Chronic blood loss can cause depletion of iron, including heavy menstrual problems, regular nosebleeds, and chronic bleeding disorders. Additionally, individuals may have the inability to absorb iron.
On the other hand, an overdose of iron can cause poisoning.
Click here> for the Recommended Dietary Allowance
Training hard promotes erythrocytes production, however, iron is lost through sweating. Iron maintains the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Trained athletes become prone to iron deficiency. A low level of haemoglobin is defined as 13 to 14 g/100ml in men and 12 g/100ml in women), plus low haematocrit and low ferritin levels.1
Sports anaemia can decrease physical performance.
Friedmann, B., et al. (2001) investigated the effects of iron supplementation in iron-deficient non-anaemic athletes. Forty young elite athletes were randomly assigned to 12-week program with either twice a day ferrous iron or placebo. The aerobic and anaerobic capacity was examined with maximal accumulated oxygen deficit. The athletes performed a high intense treadmill test. Friedmann, B., et al. (2001) reported an increase in maximal aerobic performance capacity with iron supplementation of young elite athletes with low serum ferritin and normal haemoglobin concentration. Check if your diet has ample amount of iron, especially if you exercise!
1.Chatard, J., Mujika, I., Guy, C., and Lacour, J. (1999). Anaemia and Iron Deficiency in Athletes, Sports Medicine, 27(4);229.
2.Friedmann, B., Weller, E., Mairbaurl, H., Bärtsch, P. (2001). Effects of iron repletion on blood volume and performance capacity in young athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(5):741-746.