Iron and 2,3-DPG are Wonderful Things

Scott W. Tunis MD FACS |

Iron is the element in hemoglobin in our red cells that binds and carries oxygen. It’s also why our blood is red.

Low in Iron = less oxygen delivery = poorer exercise performance.

Not good.

2,3-DPG (2,3-diphosphoglycerate) is a chemical also present in relatively small amounts in our red blood cells.

Normally, our red blood cells release only about 25% of the oxygen they are transporting as they pass through our body.

2,3-DPG regulates the affinity of oxygen binding to the Iron in hemoglobin, causing oxygen to be released more easily by red cells.

With higher levels of 2,3-DPG in our red cells, higher levels of oxygen is released, delivering more oxygen to our body, and increasing our VO2 Max and our exercise capacity.

Guess what increases our 2,3-DPG levels?

Training at altitude.

Training at altitude also increases our own EPO and hematocrit… natural blood doping, you could say.

Can’t travel to Kenya to train at altitude?

Fix what you can.

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency in western society, with estimates of prevalence as high as 50% in reproductive age women.

Remember… lower Iron level = less oxygen carrying capacity = lower VO2 Max = diminished performance.

Runners Essentials Daily Vitamin Formula has your Iron. And lots more.

Learn more about Runners Essentials Daily Vitamin Formula. Specifically targeted for runners and endurance athletes.

Written by Runners Daily Vitamin

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