By Dr. Cathlin Fitzgerald, PT, DPT, CSCS
Iron deficiency is a common problem, is even more common among endurance athletes. Iron is lost through sweat, urine, the GI tract, and menstruation. Athletes need more iron than the average person; the more efficient the athlete, the more sweat is produced, and so more iron is lost. It has been shown that high intensity and endurance exercise can increase iron losses by 70%. Add in a vegan or vegetarian diet and the risk increases even more because the iron in plants is less absorbable.