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What's your number?

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nkrichards
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Post  JohnP Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:52 am

Does anyone know their exact iron levels as I am just curious. I took the levels last December and then again in June. I stopped taking the iron supplement in April and wanted to see if it had an impact. There was a big impact as my important iron levels all dropped so I started taking them again. Even when I was taking the iron supplement, my readings were mostly just above the minimum level in the "normal range." I'm convinced this has some effect on my running. I wanted to see if others know their levels to compare.

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Post  Julie Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:17 pm

I've only ever had it checked when I've had problems and sometimes even then it wasn't low but I agree low iron can cause problems. I was slightly anemic after the birth of my daughter and it was hard to run those first few weeks (although that wasn't the only thing I had going on, obviously)  but it wasn't enough that my MD felt like I should supplement.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:53 pm

Like you, my serum ferritin and iron levels are low, and I truly believe that this has a VERY LARGE IMPACT on my running.  I have been dealing with this issue since I was in my late 20s, and I take iron supplements on and off.  I try to also eat a diet that incorporates a lot of iron and do not shy away from red meat.   As I have understood it, low serum ferritin is the key as it measures your iron stores, and if these stores are low it contributes to fatigue, etc.  We lose iron in foot strike, in sweat, and for women in other ways, and it is essential to have those stores in a place where you feel your best.  I know that you met Joe at Boston, and he has had similar issues.  

The range is so large that most doctors will tell you that you are fine, but most doctors do not understand how our bodies are breaking down and losing iron do to long distance running.  If you do a literature search on the web, you will find endless studies confirming what you are experiencing.  I can also tell you that I can feel when the iron supplements are kicking in in terms of my workouts.

As an FYI, a great source of iron is Guiness - so drink up!
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Post  dot520 Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:26 pm

I'll post mine, I just had the work done and I've spent the last 6 months changing my diet.  I'll post those late this weekend.  I don't take a supplement but I might.
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Post  nkrichards Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:52 pm

I looked at my last blood tests and the only result that I saw that appeared to be related to the numbers you posted was RBC which was 4.99.  Should the other numbers be there somewhere in a standard bi-annual blood test for a physical or are they typically only results you get when you're looking specifically at iron levels?  My doctor always talks to me about cholesterol but doesn't mention the other results.  I guess he would if they were a problem.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:06 pm

nkrichards wrote:I looked at my last blood tests and the only result that I saw that appeared to be related to the numbers you posted was RBC which was 4.99.  Should the other numbers be there somewhere in a standard bi-annual blood test for a physical or are they typically only results you get when you're looking specifically at iron levels?  My doctor always talks to me about cholesterol but doesn't mention the other results.  I guess he would if they were a problem.

 Nancy - Most likely you have to ask your doctor to check the other items.  Since I was alerted to the issue 20 yrs ago, I always have my doctor run the tests.  They will most likely tell you that your levels are normal, but the range for serum ferritin that is normal is like 30-300. I first had my iron checked because I was feeling down and simple overtraining didn't explain it.
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Post  Nick Morris Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:27 pm

Wow, there really is a difference between the two numbers.  What type of supplements are you taking?
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Post  JohnP Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:47 pm

Nick Morris wrote:Wow, there really is a difference between the two numbers.  What type of supplements are you taking?

Nick, I was switching between Bifera and a regular ferrous sulfate supplement. I started up again with the Bifera and will re-take the tests in a month or so to see if the counts gets higher.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:31 pm

JohnP wrote:
Nick Morris wrote:Wow, there really is a difference between the two numbers.  What type of supplements are you taking?

Nick, I was switching between Bifera and a regular ferrous sulfate supplement. I started up again with the Bifera and will re-take the tests in a month or so to see if the counts gets higher.

 Bifera is my supplement of choice as well.
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Post  Nick Morris Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:43 am

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:
JohnP wrote:
Nick Morris wrote:Wow, there really is a difference between the two numbers.  What type of supplements are you taking?

Nick, I was switching between Bifera and a regular ferrous sulfate supplement. I started up again with the Bifera and will re-take the tests in a month or so to see if the counts gets higher.

 Bifera is my supplement of choice as well.

Thanks!!
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Post  Jerry Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:08 pm

Bought one a day for men pro edge. One pill has every thing, perfect for lazy Jerry. Besides its in Walmart, has to be good quality.
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Post  Penelope Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:57 pm

I just got mine done, and while they're technically all within normal range, the trend is toward iron deficiency, and I think is enough to explain why I feel like I'm struggling on my long runs and why red meat gives me a boost.

Ferritin 45, transferrin 289, transferrin sat 21%, total iron 80, IBC 374.
If I wasn't a runner, I would ignore all of this, but since I am, I'm going to start iron supplements.

This is all while taking Women's One-A-Day Pro Edge, which has 150% of the daily allotted iron in it.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:01 pm

Penelope wrote:I just got mine done, and while they're technically all within normal range, the trend is toward iron deficiency, and I think is enough to explain why I feel like I'm struggling on my long runs and why red meat gives me a boost.

Ferritin 45, transferrin 289, transferrin sat 21%, total iron 80, IBC 374.
If I wasn't a runner, I would ignore all of this, but since I am, I'm going to start iron supplements.

This is all while taking Women's One-A-Day Pro Edge, which has 150% of the daily allotted iron in it.
Glad you got this done!  Mine were lower before I started the bifera again (and I only take it when feeling low as I am in menopause), and they have risen to slightly higher than these and I'm feeling good.
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Post  mountandog Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:32 pm

I'm in the same low range.  I know it's hurting my performance.  Just like Michele said, doctor said "normal - don't worry".  Haven't taken supplements.  How long does it take for them to have an effect?
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:40 pm

mountandog wrote:I'm in the same low range.  I know it's hurting my performance.  Just like Michele said, doctor said "normal - don't worry".  Haven't taken supplements.  How long does it take for them to have an effect?
It depends - for me, I feel the effects in a few days time.  There is an article (that I could have written) in this month's Running Times on the exact subject.

By the way, besides being rather lower in calories than most beers (in spite of the heavy look), Guinness is also a good source or iron.  Drink up!
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Post  Penelope Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:10 pm

mountandog wrote:I'm in the same low range.  I know it's hurting my performance.  Just like Michele said, doctor said "normal - don't worry".  Haven't taken supplements.  How long does it take for them to have an effect?
I noticed a huge difference in my long run endurance after about 4 days of iron.  Suddenly it felt like running should feel again instead of a horrible struggle.
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