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  • Anna Hardman

Malnutrition in Runners

As we all know running burns calories, therefore as a runner we need to provide our body with more nutrition. Often people just think that they need to replace the calories and don’t look at the other nutrients which are used in running. Nutritional deficiencies are common in runners, and it’s really important to be aware of these, the symptoms and affect on performance.


IRON

Iron is a mineral which is particularly important for making haemoglobin. This is a protein that helps to transport oxygen around the body to the muscles this is especially important in physical activity


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY?

Tiredness, lack of energy ,shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue and pale skin


WHAT FOODS CONTAIN IRON?

Animal sources such as red meat ( beef and lamb). Plant based sources such as dark green leafy vegetables i.e spinach cabbage and tofu nuts and seeds


IS DEFICIENCY COMMON IN RUNNERS?

In particular in female runners 🏃‍♀️, studies have suggested iron deficiency to be common. This is because women require more iron in their diet ,on top of the blood loss each month during mensuration.


CALCIUM

Calcium is required for muscle contraction and bone development. A lack of calcium can increase the risk of low bone density and stress fractures.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY?

An increase in bone related injuries, brittle nails and camp in your muscles.


WHAT FOODS CONTAIN CALCIUM?

Dairy sources, such as milk, cheese and yoghurts. Non dairy sources such as tofu or sardines with bones.


VITAMIN D

Vitamin D otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin is produced when we expose our skin to the sun or sometimes we obtain a very small amount from our diet. Vitamin D helps us to absorb the calcium, therefore if you have sufficient vitamin D you lower your risk of fractures.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY?

Unfortunately we do not know you can be deficient and not know about it!


WHERE DO I GET VITAMIN D FROM?

Sunshine, not food is where we get sufficient vitamin D from. The amount of vitamin D you make is dependent on how strong the sun is. During the winter and autumn months the son is not strong enough to produce enough vitamin D therefore it is recommended during these months you take a vitamin D supplement.


People often think we can see malnutrition however this is not the case and malnutrition can affect any runner.


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