Talkback: Iron - Are you getting enough?

21 to 38 of 38 messages
03/12/2010 at 12:22

Spinach is an interesting one.  I'm not an expert so I can only go on what I read but the way I understand it, it's got iron in just like any other green leafy vegetable, but it's not the best source of iron because it also contains oxalic acid which is an iron absorption inhibitor.  See here.

Bottom line, spinach is good for you cos it's a green leafy vegetable, but there are better sources of iron.  I've got a load of chick peas in my salad and I'm making a big chilli this evening, so that should sort me out.

03/12/2010 at 13:21
and anyway, I hate the horrid ad-speak "up to" 40% in their article. Where do RW get their info? Pill makers? A cursory search of the web throws up a scientific paper from 1989 that studies male/female runner/non-runner with/without iron supplements that concluded that "the runner's iron status is similar to that of the general population." If they have better or more recent info they should tell us, else we can't distinguish what they say from hearsay like the Popeye spinach myth.
05/12/2010 at 11:26

Spinach may contain oxalic acid but around 50% is still available as iron it has alot of other nutrients which make it a useful food.

there are alot of myths about food and alot of confusion and alot of the reserch is biased - ie towards whoever is funding it there are many clever ways of designing experiments to give you results that you want

me - vegan who was ironed up enough to be accepted as a blood donor so therefore NOT anaemic and I don't tend to use suppliments

05/12/2010 at 18:11
A friend of mine was diagnosed as borderline anaemic but not low enough to be prescribed iron tablets. Instead the dr told her to make sure she ate some chocolate everyday. She interprereted that as a licence to snarf down curlywurlys - although I'm not sure that's exactly what he meant, apparently it did the trick.
05/12/2010 at 21:47
06/12/2010 at 17:13
That's a shame because there is no iron in Curly Wurlies
06/12/2010 at 22:13
We did wonder at the time...however that was 20 years ago and she's not dead yet! . I think the dr had plain chocolate in mind, which does. Stuff here for anyone who's interested
11/12/2010 at 18:09
I hadn't noticed any symptons, but was diagosed as anemic after attempting to give blood, Doc the put me on Iron tablets..... and my running improved, e.g. my half marathon PB reduced from 2'10 to 1'53. Felt as if I was taking performance enhancing drugs!!! Where is the boundary between medication and cheating?
12/12/2010 at 11:01
The boundary in this case is that a deficiency is being corrected. More iron on top of that doesn't make you even better and can actually be bad for you.
25/12/2010 at 23:04

 SPAMMMMM!   RW please removed all of qezcxadw threads  him self and his  web-site is utter rubbish.  Forumites you have been warned.

25/12/2010 at 23:18
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of The RUNNERS WORLD Team
06/01/2011 at 15:06
Be careful if you have an underactive thyroid and are on thyroxine, if considering taking iron as a supplement.  It affects the uptake of the thyroxine as does taking a calcium supplement
13/01/2011 at 14:37
should i just swallow a 6 inch nail
16/01/2011 at 12:29

Get prescription iron its 200mg as apposed to 30mg the max you get in shops! You'll be bouncing off the walls

25/08/2011 at 12:17
I have just (yesterday) been put on iron tablets for a severe iron deficiency (as well as told to eat all the things everyone is arguing about above). I'm hoping that the end result is the same as Mc Hilly. Although I have been feeling sluggish most of this year, I just trained harder but when I tried to give blood earlier this month they said I had low Haemoglobin levels, so I couldn't. They referred me to my doctor who gave me a blood test with the results above. So an easy way to test is to give blood; if you are OK you help loads of people in the process. If not you will find out immediately. Happy running.
14/12/2011 at 11:45

A year ago after completing the Gaolforce Challenge I suddenly found myself with chapped lips, not any old chapping but seriously sore.  When it didn't go away I eventually went to the Doctors and discovered it was lack of Iron.  I've been taking an Iron supplement ever since, and more recently completely changed my diet to be almost vegan but with heaps of green vegetables.  I'm doing really well on it.  Now training for my first Ultra marathon (

 Pleased to say I no longer have chapped lips!

18/12/2011 at 19:10

I was surprised at the level of iron in Ovaltine drink. One cup mixed with milk has 3.6mg - 26% of the RDA along with a whole pile of other good stuff. And it tastes good too. Sadly it won't quite replace coffee for me though!

Also important to know that tea/coffee block iron absorption so best to avoid drinking them after eating.

12/12/2012 at 21:39
Note that the comment about haemochromatosis is inaccurate - it's genetic, not something you get from eating excess iron. Furthermore, even of you have it  a) women are likely to have no effect due to extra need for iron. b) men may have ill effects in later life if left undiagnosed. Diet a very small element anyway. The only solution is regular blood taking (all done by the hospital - the blood is no good for donation.) Iron deposits in joints and organs such as liver and (ulimately)n heart. However most runners would use up excess iron deposits at least until their later life. 

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