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Low sideropenia? Learn how to increase your blood iron if you are a runner!

Sideremie mica_Carenta de fier pentru alergatori

Low sideropenia? Learn how to increase your blood iron if you are a runner!

Robert Hajnal

Robert Hajnal

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Find out how to increase the amount of iron in your blood when the results of the tests show you low sideropenia and many other curiosities about this metal that is very important in physical performance.

You did your tests and found that you had low sideropenia. You already knew, or you googled and found out that sideropenia = the presence of iron in the blood.

What do you do when you find out that your blood iron level is not enough? Before we see how important iron in the blood is and what its role is, let’s provide a context.

The true value of iron is provided by oxygen and the optimal use of oxygen is due to the amount of iron in the blood. One hand washes the other.

If you are in the fog, I hope you understand by the end how the “factory” works.


If we isolated every substance that makes up our body, we would see that more than 80% of the body is oxygen – O2. I mean, if you weigh 70 pounds, about 43 pounds is O2. That way, you get an idea of how important Oxygen is.

All cells in the human body need oxygen. It is an important element both for the functioning of the cells and for keeping them at an optimal level. For everything to work as well as possible, oxygen goes through 3 stages:

  1. It must be taken from the outside environment;
  2. Transported by blood;
  3. Delivered to various parts of the body;

In the first stage, oxygen reaches the lungs from the outside environment, where oxygen is transferred from the lungs to the blood.

Then, in the transport stage, the red cells intervene, whose presence is crucial, as is the amount of iron that exists on them.

Hemoglobina_Fier scazut

Hemoglobin molecule decorated with iron shuttles

I say them because iron settles on hemoglobin like candy on a Christmas tree.

When oxygen sticks to the iron molecule, the blood has a light red color. Think of red cell hemoglobin as a space shuttle carrying up to 4 passengers (oxygen molecules).

This makes iron an important vital mineral: that it settles on hemoglobin and transports oxygen from the tank (lungs) throughout the plant (body).

Molecula de fier



The iron space shuttle, seen up close

Before you go any further, you need to know that there is a balance, a very well-developed system for adjusting the amount of iron absorbed from food and that absorbed from storage.


Large amounts of iron in the diet do not guarantee a good level of iron. This is due to the fact that iron absorption is complex and influenced by many factors. The most important of these is the type of iron.

In the current diet, iron comes in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron.

Heme iron is found in meat, fish, and poultry
Non-heme iron comes from bread and cereals, vegetables, and fruits.

Between 25-35% of heme iron is absorbed from the intestine, compared to only 2-15% of non-heme iron. So you need to eat considerably more non-heme iron to absorb the same amount. Therefore, eating red meat (which contains the most iron) or fish or poultry can really increase iron absorption. It is important to eat a variety of foods that contain non-heme iron for a good long-term iron level. Good sources for this type of non-heme iron:

  • beans;
  • lentils;
  • tofu;
  • Easter;
  • breakfast cereals (many of them are iron-fortified),
  • the bread;
  • rice;
  • eggs;
  • dried fruits, nuts and vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas and beans). In fact, most of our dietary iron comes from non-heme sources, such as bread and cereals.

For a healthy diet, women are advised to eat five servings of vegetables, two servings of fruit, six servings of bread and cereals, 2.5 servings of meat and 2.5 servings of milk per day.

It is possible to get 18 mg of iron if you follow these recommendations and if you include iron-fortified cereals for breakfast, which serves as a portion of bread / cereal, a portion of large green leafy vegetables such as spinach and a portion of meat, chicken or fish in the “meat” category.

Another key strategy when you have low sideropenia is to increase your body’s ability to absorb iron.

Foods rich in vitamin C are well known to increase iron absorption; so include them at every meal in the form of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads.

Other foods that help absorb iron are: lemon juice, vinegar and alcohol.


We have a one-kilogram beef steak. It has about 30 mg of iron. Of the 30 mg, a maximum of 9 mg will be absorbed in the small intestine.

The remaining amount of iron will be removed. The maximum absorption from food is 25-35% and the daily requirement of iron: 8 mg/day in men 15-18 mg/day in athletes; If iron deposits, more precisely ferritin and hemosiderin deposits, decrease, the absorption in the digestive tract will increase.

If this setting does not work, it will lead to excessive disorders and absorption of iron, which, in large quantities, uncontrolled, becomes toxic.

If the erythrocytes do not have enough iron (UFO shuttles on them), not enough O2 will reach the muscles. It means that the performance decreases or is not optimal. TO KNOW! Iron absorption is competitive with Magnesium and Zinc. That is, one inhibits the other. It is either magnesium/zinc / other minerals or Iron.


You end up with low sideropenia in situations such as:

  • Insufficient iron intake from food;
  • Hemolysis – when you run there is a mechanical shock between the sole and the hard contact surface (asphalt/tape/tartan) and the blood vessels are destroyed. This destroys a large number of red blood cells. These are in limited numbers, and their restoration takes about 80 days;
  • Loss of red blood cells -> loss of hemoglobin -> loss of iron;
  • Iron loss can also be caused by bleeding (menstruation in women, hemorrhoids in men);
  • Blood donations;
  • vegetarian, vegan, or a diet in which iron is not well absorbed;


  • Low energy level;
  • Reduction of immunity – accentuated by intense effort; (that’s why, for example, I catch a cold very often after an ultramarathon)
  • Attention deficit;
  • Nervousness;

BEWARE OF OXALIC ACID! It inhibits the absorption of iron!.

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13 Tricks to Fall Asleep Easy After an Evening Workout

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13 Tricks to Fall Asleep Easy After an Evening Workout

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After an evening workout you really deserve a good night’s sleep. But often when I put my head on the pillow after such a workout, I couldn’t fall asleep very easily. I guess I’m not the only one, and those who lift weights, in the evening, face the same problem.

Can you believe there are people who don’t love sleep and consider it useless? Well, we’re not one of them.

If you’ve experienced that feeling of not being able to fall asleep after an evening workout, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are different routines you can get used to in order to avoid such situations.

The body needs to have a low temperature, low heart rate and the central nervous system to be ‘calm’.

All these elements are crucial and contribute to a restful sleep.

 1. Pay attention to what you eat and drink after an evening workout!

What you consume before bed, whether it’s food or drink, contributes to the quality of your sleep. For example, if I go out for a run around 8 pm and by 9:30 pm I have a glass of orange juice, I’m more than likely not going to fall asleep until around 2 am. Some studies prove that small pre-bedtime meals are beneficial in muscle protein synthesis. Studies point to adding extra servings of protein.

If you usually do strenuous workouts late, try to eat your main, substantial meals during the day, not before bedtime. “The “problem” with eating large meals after a demanding evening workout is that they will make it harder for you to achieve deep sleep and you will wake up more tired the next day. You can try having a break between eating and drinking fluids before sleep.

Give yourself about an hour between dinner and liquids before sleep.

 2. Regulate your body temperature with a shower

After a strenuous workout, your body temperature rises and can affect your sleep cycle. Lowering your body temperature with a cool-moderate shower increases your chances of sleeping well after an evening workout. A hot shower can increase your body temperature and prevent you from sleeping. On the other hand, a cold shower boosts alertness.

Bottom line: find a ‘compromise’ water temperature to avoid affecting your sleep. I prefer to start the shower with relatively cold water and gradually increase the temperature, but not too hot. A warm shower makes the peripheral circulation work better and the blood vessels irrigate your tissues better.

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3. Maintain a cool temperature in the room where you sleep

A cool room will give you quality sleep by lowering your pulse rate. Your body will also relax, making it easier to get into a deep sleep.


 4. Take regular magnesium supplements

Magnesium supplements will help you get a restful night’s sleep and at the same time help your body regain its strength. Many runners are deficient in magnesium, an important electrolyte that is closely linked to testosterone levels.  Testosterone is an essential hormone that regulates the normal functioning of various organs in the body.

Another benefit of magnesium is that it reduces stress and helps muscles relax, contributing to a restful sleep. It also helps calm the body by relaxing the nervous system after an intense evening workout.

I get my extra magnesium from Nigari Salt or Magne B6.


 5. Turn off blue light sources

Darkness brings with it monsters under the bed, but also a secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone. Light generally interrupts sleep because it affects melatonin secretion.

The body follows a sleep-wake sequence determined by light and dark. When the light is on, the mind remembers to stay awake/wake; until it receives a signal that it is time to fall asleep, melatonin secretion is inhibited.

So I advise reducing the light in the room by turning on a lamp or a diffused light. If you have a red light source, you will speed up your melatonin secretion and fall asleep more easily.


 6. Try meditating before falling asleep

Even though it sounds fancy and oriental, the purpose of meditation is to calm yourself and focus a lot on your breathing. Meditation is a great remedy to induce a sleepy state and make sure you rest after your evening workout. When the mind relaxes, you’ll fall asleep more easily and rest for a longer period of time.


 7. Run during the day

We also forgot to mention this point. If you have the time, we recommend starting the day with a light 25-30 minute run, with your main workout at 6-7pm. Running during the day takes up your available energy. If you don’t see it as a solution, try to run at least 3 hours before getting ready for sleep. Between the end of your run and when you go to bed, give your body enough time to recover and get into a sleep state. In addition, you make sure that the last dose of adrenaline from the run has been used up.

8. Use your bed only for sleep…and sex.

The bed is a sacred place. It’s where two of the most important activities of the day happen. Sleep and sex. Don’t use your bed as a desk or a place to sit on your phone. The bed is a temple where gadgets should be banned.

 9. Keep hydrated

You need to consume enough fluids before you lie down. During your run there’s a good chance you’ll have consumed large amounts of fluids from your own reserves. Be careful not to consume too many fluids just before you go to bed, though, as you’ll be making lots of trips to the toilet afterward. If you are lazy, it will keep you up all night precisely because you don’t want to make that visit and your sleep cycle may be affected.


10. Make your bed comfortable

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting into clean sheets and falling asleep on a comfy mattress. I think people who don’t love sleep have forgotten that feeling. Since we spend so much time sleeping, let’s at least make a comfortable bed with a good mattress and nice linens.


11. Avoid caffeine and alcohol

You already know you should do what the priest says, not what the priest does. Caffeine takes about 5 hours to get out of your system and alcohol takes two generations. That’s if you go to church. These two components are stimulants and keep your mind alert when it should be resting. That’s why it’s best to drink coffee in the morning to get it into your system, and only use it when you’re training hard.


 12. Avoid extra portions and shaorma with everything

It’s crucial to avoid heavy meals after an evening workout. I’ve said that before, haven’t I! A heavy meal affects your digestive system, but it will also affect your sleep. Plus, if you throw in garlic and something spicy, you might regret it the next morning.


13. Not a MUST, but go to the doctor

Not all doctors have 8 classes. Most of them are well educated and know what advice to give you. If you have sleep disturbances for more than 2-3 days in a row, it’s clear that something else is wrong. Some cogs are failing you and it’s good to grease them with something more than running.


14. Avoid sleeping pills

Most sleep-inducing pills are melatonin-based. In the long run, they can cause hormonal disturbances. Try natural remedies like valerian tea or lime tea.

What tricks do you use to sleep like a princess in a castle?

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