Kelli Talks Iron

1) Supplement with 1 multivitamin per day that contains ~18-28 mg iron PLUS 50-100 mg elemental iron from ferrous sulfate per day (I recommend Slow-Fe, it contains ~50 mg iron per tablet in the form of ferrous sulfate – it’s over-the-counter and easy on the stomach).  Take your multivitamin and iron supplement at different times per day.

2)If you have reason to believe low ferritin has already become a problem, or if you’d just like to get it tested, ask for a serum ferritin test from your doctor.  If levels are below 20 ng/mL, supplement with 2 tablets of 50 mg elemental iron each (100 mg total) + multivitamin per day.  If below 10 ng/mL, increase to 3 tablets or 50 mg elemental iron (150 mg total) per day.  Some athletes this low have seen faster increases with liquid iron supplement – talk to you doctor as most of them require a subscription.  Consult your doctor about your dosage and make sure to retest as described below.   See testing information and supplement recommendations below.

Male Athletes:

Avid runners, Ultra-distance athletes (meat eaters):

1) Supplement with 1 multivitamin per day that contains ~18-28 mg iron per day.

2) If you have reason to believe low ferritin has already become a problem, or if you’d just like to get it tested, ask for a serum ferritin test from your doctor.  If levels are below 20 ng/mL, supplement with 2 tablets of 50 mg elemental iron each (100 mg total) + multivitamin per day.  If below 10 ng/mL, increase to 3 tablets or 50 mg elemental iron (150 mg total) per day.  Some athletes this low have seen faster increases with liquid iron supplement – talk to you doctor as most of them require a subscription. Consult your doctor about your dosage and make sure to retest as described below.  See testing information and supplement recommendations below.

Avid runners, Ultra-distance athletes (vegetarians – iron from plant sources is not as well absorbed as meat sources):

1) Supplement with 1 multivitamin per day that contains ~18-28 mg iron PLUS 50 mg elemental iron from ferrous sulfate per day (I recommend Slow-Fe, it contains ~50 mg iron per tablet in the form of ferrous sulfate – it’s over-the-counter and easy on the stomach).  Take your multivitamin and iron supplement at different times per day.

2) If you have reason to believe low ferritin has already become a problem, or if you’d just like to get it tested, ask for a serum ferritin test from your doctor.  If levels are below 20 ng/mL, supplement with 2 tablets of 50 mg elemental iron each (100 mg total) + multivitamin per day.  If below 10 ng/mL, increase to 3 tablets or 50 mg elemental iron (150 mg total) per day.  Some athletes this low have seen faster increases with liquid iron supplement – talk to you doctor as most of them require a subscription.  Consult your doctor about your dosage and make sure to retest as described below.   See testing information and supplement recommendations below.

Any athlete that suspects low-iron:

1) You can start by supplementing with 1 multivitamin per day that contains ~18-28 mg iron PLUS 50 mg elemental iron from ferrous sulfate per day (I recommend Slow-Fe, it contains ~50 mg iron per tablet in the form of ferrous sulfate – it’s over-the-counter and easy on the stomach).  Take your multivitamin and iron supplement at different times per day.  Make an appointment with your doctor and get your serum ferritin tested.

Supplementation recommendations:

1) If low ferritin status is confirmed (below 30 ng/mL), take supplemental iron as indicated above.  Usually, for sedentary adult, therapeutic iron supplementation is ~50-60 mg elemental iron 2-3 times/day (so 100-180 mg elemental per day). However, for an athlete, I recommend a slightly higher dose to cover daily needs + a therapeutic amount to get stores back to normal.  In this age group, runners need ~20 mg elemental iron more than sedentary counterparts – so approximately 120-200 mg elemental iron per day split into 2-3 doses/day. You can get iron through a prescription or over the counter. Over the counter, products that are “slow-release” like Slow-Fe work well.  Each tablet is ~50 mg elemental iron.  In addition to the recommended amount of tablets per day, continue to take your multivitamin.

2) Further Supplementation Tips:

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