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Iron Requirements for Distance Runners

Posted by Yoshi at 11/04/2012

Anyone have any knowledge of how much additional iron is required for endurance athletes such as distance runners? The USRDA is 18mg/day (if I remember correctly) for my age/gender, but I've also heard that vegans/vegetarians need to eat approximately twice that due to the low absorption of non-heme iron. I've taken an iron supplement almost everyday for about 2-3 years, but I want to start getting all of my intake from food sources. Not to mention that I believe the supplements are causing me stomach problems. I started taking them about 2 years after becoming vegetarian due to extreme fatigue that I was experiencing. I am a 35 year old male, vegetarian for 5+ years and vegan for almost 2. I run between 40-50 miles a week. If anyone has any experience with this issue I would love to hear your advice on my requirements or suggestions on foods that I should be concentrating on. Thanks!


Cascadian11/05/2012 11:27:54
Hi Yoshi,

I don't have an answer for you but I know who can probably help you out! Check out the great community of folks over at: :)
MonicaCarten12/13/2012 16:15:07
I run about 50 miles per week and am a vegetarian/almost vegan. I eat A TON of spinach and I always flavor it with lemon juice or eat a citrus fruit for dessert to increase my iron absorption. I don't take iron supplements. My red blood cell count is slightly low but I'm a pretty small woman so I don't feel that I'm deficient.

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