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Discussion Starter #1
'm wondering if my red blood count and hemoglobin levels are low enough to effect performance.<br><br>
I recently had blood work.<br><br>
Red blood count was 4.55, the chart from the lab says normal is 4.40 to 5.90, although online it says the low end of normal for men is 4.70.<br><br>
Hemoglobin level was 13.5 the low end on the chart from the lab, although the net picks 14 as the low-end number.<br><br>
I also read that endurance athletes sometimes have lower counts because of increased blood volume. (I run about 50 miles a week.) I feel fine, but wondered if there would be performance benefits to increasing iron in the diet.<br><br>
What do you think?
 

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At your mileage you are destroying RBCs. That's to be expected, but you are going to have to supplement.<br><br>
The easiest way to get iron in the diet is from heme iron - meat. Of course, that can contribute to other problems. Non-heme iron, that found in spinach, etc., is not as easily absorbed and must be taken with some vit C to enhance uptake. And you have to eat a hell of a lot of spinach.<br><br>
You best bet is to buy a liquid called Feosol and drink it through a straw - it stains teeth. Brush your teeth afterward and drink a glass of orange juice.
 

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Different labs can have slightly different reference ranges for what is considered normal. I've worked in a few different hospitals, and while the numbers are close, they're not always the same. If the chart from your lab results says you're within normal range, there's no need to worry about what it says online.<br><br>
With that said, Sue is right that running does destroy your red blood cells, and it wouldn't hurt to increase the iron in your diet. Besides meat, other decent sources of iron are beans and other legumes, peanut butter, and iron fortified cereals. Cream of Wheat has a ton. Vitamin C helps the iron absorb, so have some fruit or vegetables with your iron-rich foods. Too much calcium can block iron absorption, so you don't need more than 2-3 servings of dairy a day.<br><br>
As far as supplements go, a multivitamin with iron won't hurt, but I 'd check with your doctor before starting a separate iron supplement.
 

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I don't think you are "destroying" excess RBC, although there is some effects of repeated trauma to RBC by the feet and bladder..<br>
Most likely explanation for the slightly low-normal counts is a dilutional effect caused by an increased plasma volume. One adaptation of endurance training is to increase the volume of plasma (fluid) in the blood to compensate for dehydration. This is commonly referred to as "athletic anemia"<br>
Before you start adding iron supplementation, I would perform the following tests:<br>
Serum Ferritin, serum iron, and TIBC. If these are normal, excess iron supplementation will not raise RBC or Hb, and may actually have some long-term harm. If they do indicate a true anemia, then iron supplemenation would be recommended.<br>
It is, however, to always encourage iron-rich foods (as mentioned above) through the diet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>altoids</strong> <a href="/forum/post/1840964"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I moved this thread to the Side Line, in case anyone else might be interested.</div>
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thank you
 
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