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Karl, J. Philip1; Lieberman, Harris R.1; Corum, Sonya J.C.2; Williams, Kelly W.2; Young, Andrew J. FACSM1; McClung, James P.1
1US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.
2Experimentation and Analysis Element, Fort Jackson, SC.
PURPOSE: Iron deficiency has been associated with impaired athletic performance, and cross-sectional studies indicate an adverse affect of military basic combat training (BCT) on iron status of female Soldiers. We investigated the association between indicators of iron status and physical performance in female soldiers before and following 9-week BCT.
METHODS: Immediately before and following BCT, iron status indicators were measured in 70 and 53 fasted female volunteers respectively. One-mile run time was assessed during the initial week and two-mile run time (2MR) during the final week of BCT.
RESULTS: One-mile run time was not associated with any indicator of iron status. Hemoglobin (Hgb) was negatively (r = −0.455; p = 0.001) and red cell distribution width (RDW) was positively (r = 0.306; p = 0.026) correlated with 2MR. Serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were not associated with 2MR. Two-mile run times of volunteers with low Hgb levels (< 12 g/dL) were slower than those with normal levels ([mean ± SD] 1174 ± 49 s vs. 1063 ± 101 s; p = 0.007).
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that indicators of iron status, specifically Hgb and RDW, are associated with aerobic endurance and that maintaining iron nutriture may support optimal physical performance in female Soldiers. Research funded by MRMC.
©2007The American College of Sports Medicine
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