Why is iron so important for athletes and especially runners?

Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. This is why fatigue is a common symptom of iron deficiency because, without enough iron, we simply aren’t getting enough oxygen to our working cells.

 

Anemia, or iron deficiency anemia, is fairly common in runners and even more so in female runners.  This is partly due to blood loss during menstruation, but can also be impacted by what is called “Foot Strike Hemolysis”.  With each step, tiny blood vessels are broken, and iron is lost.  Iron can also be lost through sweat!


There is another, and less well known reason that iron deficiency and anemia can occur.  And it can impact anyone, athlete or not.

A new area of focus and research is around the anti-nutrient Phytate.  Phytate is a naturally occurring substance found in many plants that binds to iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium, and inhibits our bodies from absorbing these vital nutrients.

 


Phytate is found in plant based foods (grains, beans, nuts and seeds and all products made from these foods). Vegetarians, vegans or anyone who consumes grains, breads, pastas, beans, nuts and other plant based foods is consuming phytate which prevents the body from absorbing all of the nutrients in the otherwise healthy foods consumed. 

The World Health Organization estimates that about 2 billion people worldwide are anemic, and that one third of all women of reproductive age are anemic.  Much of this can be attributed to diets high in Phytate (grain, corn or soy based).

However, there is hope!  There are a number of ways to counteract iron deficiency and break down the phytate that is preventing billions of people worldwide from absorbing iron from our food and vitamins.

Nature has  powerful enzyme PHYTASE, and how it can help you combat fatigue and iron deficiency.

Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down phytate in your system so that you can access the iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium in your foods and better absorb them.  It also helps with protein and starch utilization.

Try adding phytase to your diet with our nutritional supplement, Equal Access, and see how it feels to start absorbing even more from your diet!

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