Iron Deficient Diet

If you are not getting the iron your body needs from your diet you can become iron deficient, with women and children being most susceptible.

Results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) have shown that the average woman does not get all their RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake) of iron from their diet alone. 

  • In a recent study by the Department of Health, it was estimated that 46% of girls and 23% of women had Low Iron Intakes. For women aged 25-49, the mean iron intake was 65% of the RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake); 29% of these women had Iron Intakes below the LRNI (Lower Reference Nutrient Intake).1


Iron deficiency develops gradually and usually begins with a negative iron balance when iron intake does not meet the daily need for dietary iron.

Common symptoms of iron deficiency can include:
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • General lack of energy and stamina

Iron for athletes
Endurance athletes whose systems are depleted of iron may experience one of the following:

  • Reduction in their performances
  • Lack of endurance
  • Reduced VO2max
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced motivation
  • Irritability 
Please note: female runners and male and female vegetarian athletes are at a higher risk of iron depletion.

If iron levels are not maintained, serious iron depletion can occur and this will need treatment by a doctor. 

If you are concerned about any of the symptoms, please contact your doctor of health care practitioner.  



The National Diet & Nutrition Survey: Results from years 1-4 (combined) of the rolling programme (2008/2009 - 2011/2012)