Iron supplementation for Athletes
Iron is utilised by the body for oxygen transport and energy production.
It is therefore essential to athletic performance. 1
Insufficient iron stores may not only lead to a decline in health and well-being, but also athletic performance. 1
Athletes are commonly diagnosed with iron deficiency (ID). 1 This is due to strenuous exercise programs placing athletes at risk of depleting their iron stores, which can lead to iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). 1
The two main reasons for the loss of iron in athletes are: 1
- Foot strike haemolysis: the destruction of red blood cells in the feet due to the constant impact
- Sweating: exercise promotes the increase of sweating as a way of regulating body temperature, however, it is also a mechanism by which the body may lose iron
Other factors contributing to iron losses in athletes are gastrointestinal bleeding and haematuria (blood in the urine). 1
Therefore, a sufficient intake of iron is essential for athletes in order to replace the iron that is lost during exercise. Iron supplementation has been linked to improved performance due to oxygen being better transported through the body. 1
- Peeling P, Dawson B, Goodman C, Landers G, Trinder D. Athletic induced iron deficiency: new insights into the role of inflammation, cytokines and hormones. Eur J Appl Physiol 2008;103(4):381-391.
- Geisser P. Safety and Efficacy of Iron(III)-hydroxide Polymaltose Complex. Arzneimittel-Forschung 2007;57(6a):439-452.
- Borbolla JF, Cicero RE, Dibildox M, Sotres D, Gutiérrez R. Iron hydroxide polymaltose complex vs iron sulphate in the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia in infants. Revista Mexicana de Pediatria 2000;57(2):63-67.
- Yasa B, Agaoglu L, Unuvar E. Efficacy, Tolerability, and Acceptability of Iron Hydroxide Polymaltose Complex versus Ferrous Sulfate: A Randomized Trial in Pediatric Patients with Iron Deficiency Anemia. Int J Pediatr 2011;2011:1-6.