How to supplement iron?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

One of the most important micronutrients for the functioning of an individual’s organism, especially the athlete, is iron. This mineral is in the Krebs Cycle, has an important function for the immune system and is related to the oxygen transport capacity of the lungs to muscles. Thus, it is of paramount importance that the levels of this micronutrient are adequate in the body, since several cell compartments require iron to perform their functions properly. Below, understand how to supplement iron efficiently.


The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency are similar to those presented by other nutritional deficiencies such as tiredness, indisposition and body pain. In this context, it is necessary to look even closer to the athlete, since he is accustomed to the same signs due to routine strenuous training. However, the evaluation of serum iron and hemoglobin are insufficient to determine whether the levels are adequate or not. Thus, laboratory tests such as mean corpuscular hemoglobin (HCM), ferritin, laboratory signs and symptoms, added to the training intensity should be biomarkers controlled by the nutritionist.

It is crucial to stimulate iron consumption through food. Therefore, including strategies that increase its bioavailability are extremely important, especially for women of childbearing age. However, there are cases in which only feeding is not sufficient, making it necessary to resort to supplementation.

Clinical practice

In order for the nutritionist to prescribe more assertively the best iron supplementation to the athlete, it is necessary to look at the individual’s life as a whole, thinking from its physiological functioning to financial conditions. However, for all prescription of iron supplementation, attention should be made regarding macronutrient DRIS (RDA – 8mg for men and 18mg for women; UL 45mg) so that the body is not exceeded the levels of insurance.

Bibliographic references

Reading Suggestion:
The effect of vegetarian diets on iron levels in adults

Watch the video of Biomedical Rodrigo Manda on the science play platform –
Iron Deficiency

Article: Supplemental Iron: McCormick R, Dreyer A, Dawson B, Sim M, Lester L, Goodman C, Peeling P. The
Effectiveness of Daily and Alternate Day Oral Iron Supplementation Athletes in With Suboptimal Iron Status (Part 2).
Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2020 May 1;30(3):191–196. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2019-0310. Epub 2020 Mar 27. PMID: 32217790.

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