Iron+Runners

Iron+Runners

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 3:29 am #1

I have done some research and still can't find a conclusive answer to the connection between runners and iron (ferritin level). any thoughts on healthy levels, supplements etc? thanks
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Dennis McxClanahan
Dennis McxClanahan

December 7th, 2011, 3:42 am #2

The tough part is getting acceptable numbers for runners. Many GP do not have experience with it.
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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 3:57 am #3

I have done some research and still can't find a conclusive answer to the connection between runners and iron (ferritin level). any thoughts on healthy levels, supplements etc? thanks
Agree with the other poster, the information is out there.

I've gone through this with our daughter, and found a DR, that was familiar with the iron needs of a young female runner. Her input, was to get her Ferritin levels up over 50.

Between female's menses, lack of red meat in her diet, lack of green leafy veggies, repetitive foot strikes, and a few other factors; her score was an 8. We started supplementing with Ferrous Sulfate Elixir (at the pharmacy), and then later switched to Tri Iron Folic + Tablets from Nutrilite (Get it on eBay).

Her score is now 54.
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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 5:52 am #4

The tough part is getting acceptable numbers for runners. Many GP do not have experience with it.
I would love to see an educated perspective on Iron and Ferritin ... and it being well communicated within the running community ... for everyone's benefit. There is much research out there if you dig. However, it is all over the map ... but generally says too low is BAD in many ways!

Some DRs appear to apply general population parameters (standard levels) to the young female runners and don't even test for Ferritin levels (rather just general blood iron) and/or don't recognize the stored iron (Ferritin) deficiency as detrimental to a runner. Very disappointing.
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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 5:53 am #5

Agree with the other poster, the information is out there.

I've gone through this with our daughter, and found a DR, that was familiar with the iron needs of a young female runner. Her input, was to get her Ferritin levels up over 50.

Between female's menses, lack of red meat in her diet, lack of green leafy veggies, repetitive foot strikes, and a few other factors; her score was an 8. We started supplementing with Ferrous Sulfate Elixir (at the pharmacy), and then later switched to Tri Iron Folic + Tablets from Nutrilite (Get it on eBay).

Her score is now 54.
54 would be a good level. So how did your daughter's performance and overall general health feeling improve with the Ferritin level?
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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 6:19 am #6

When she had Ferritin anemia (8), she would look strong in the first half of a race, and then she looked like she was running in lead shoes for the second half. Same in her training. Her confidence was shaken, and she couldn't figure out why her times were getting slower, and other girls were now beating her.

The biggest difference was her ability to continue to race during the season, and the second half of the races. She was able to handle more miles, recover faster and race throughout the season.


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my iron levels went from 21-111 in a year
my iron levels went from 21-111 in a year

December 7th, 2011, 7:24 am #7

I have done some research and still can't find a conclusive answer to the connection between runners and iron (ferritin level). any thoughts on healthy levels, supplements etc? thanks
Nature made iron with vitamin C in the morning and Night. All elite athletes do this
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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 7:45 am #8

its true most top distance guys take iron
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CCHS Dad
CCHS Dad

December 7th, 2011, 7:47 am #9

Agree with the other poster, the information is out there.

I've gone through this with our daughter, and found a DR, that was familiar with the iron needs of a young female runner. Her input, was to get her Ferritin levels up over 50.

Between female's menses, lack of red meat in her diet, lack of green leafy veggies, repetitive foot strikes, and a few other factors; her score was an 8. We started supplementing with Ferrous Sulfate Elixir (at the pharmacy), and then later switched to Tri Iron Folic + Tablets from Nutrilite (Get it on eBay).

Her score is now 54.
Amazing. Just the post I was looking for! Our daughter went from having an amazing season
last year with 18:53 at State and 18:36 at Mt Sac, to improving and running a 16:21 at this year's
moving shoes at Morley Field. Seemed like we were heading for maybe an 18: 30 & 18:15 season
at State and Mt. SAC, or thereabouts. After struggling to get a 17:09 at CIF, she seemed just "tanked"
at State. We realized several weeks before CIF that her iron might be low so we got her on supplements
and since it took a while to get a ferritin blood test (which happened right after State) we might not
have gotten her lowest level, but came in a 17! after 3 weeks of supplements. Not catastrophic,
but not good either...

Here's the kicker, our MVP girl this year started at a ferritin level of 2 !!!! and after a disappointing 2nd half
of last year, and a very slow start this year-- she took off like gang busters once she got onto iron
supplements and had an amazing close to the season. Scoreboard iron supplements. In hindsight
you could see it in her faceand in my daughter's face as well. There's that "ferritin" lookthey just
die out half way through the race. So what's the morale of the story--even though I walked our runner's
mom over to get advice from Sherri Cortez early in the season (thanks! it really worked), it was difficult to see
it in my own daughter, until it was basically too late. She a vegetarian (OK she eats fish), so we should have
been more on edge to this, but you always think that a bad race or two is just thatbut you don't just go from
a 6 minute mile pace to a 6:20-25, with no injuries. And then there's the "ferritin" stare...

Next we (OK Dad really) tried to be a medical doctor by reading everything I could get a hold of.
Of course MDs say that even 10'ish is OK, whereas trainers say >50 is recommended. Having
chatted with an MD myself, and listen to the gibberish, I set off to debunk this notion (OK I'm
a PhD nerd) and it only took but a few hours to find the double-blind validation of low ferritin levels
in runners--as in real research, real medical journal stuff. Not sure what all the hub-bub is
regarding this simple notion, but it is really in both the antidotal (i.e., coaches) and medical literature,
so everyone has to "get-over-it" and under 50 or so is not good!

Now we are off on the journey of getting our daughter to take supplements and eat better as
a pescatarian. 50+ here we come!

Beyond our CCHS MVP this year, I heard that Anne Charles also had a bout with this, others?

What supplements are folks taking? Is there a cheap ferritin or iron/ferritin test for updates around
town? Advice?

Thanks!
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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

December 7th, 2011, 9:37 am #10

We had a similar story.

The amazing thing is... once you have been through this ... you can look around and kind of predict who else might be having Ferritin iron deficiency issues. The symptoms are somewhat general and can be confused with exhaustion, lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, but if you know the runner and their situation ... iron deficiency (Ferritin) is quite possible.

It is both a guy and a girl problem ... but more prevalent in girls.

Also, research shows that iron deficiency (Ferritin
Careful with the general practitioners (following a standard protocol) who say Ferritin of ~30 is fine (maybe for the general public) ... do your own homework/research. Get an opinion from someone who works with female athletes.

Looks like goal should be Ferritin of 50+ for serious athletes from what we hear as well.
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