NEWHOUSE, I. J., D. B. CLEMENT, J. E. TAUNTON, and D. C. MCKENZIE. The effects of prelatent/latent iron deficiency on physical work capacity. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 263–268, 1989. In order to examine the effects of mild iron deficiency on physical work capacity, 40 prelatent iron-deficient female endurance runners were studied before and after 8 wk of supplementation with either oral iron (320 mg ferrous sulfate) or a matching placebo. Subjects underwent the following physical work capacity tests: the Wingate cycle ergometer test, the anaerobic speed test, the ventilatory threshold, JOURNAL/mespex/04.02/00005768-198906000-00016/ENTITY_OV0312/v/2017-07-20T222220Z/r/image-pngO2max, and maximal treadmill velocity during the JOURNAL/mespex/04.02/00005768-198906000-00016/ENTITY_OV0312/v/2017-07-20T222220Z/r/image-pngO2max test. Muscle biopsy samples pre- and post-treatment were obtained from 17 of the subjects, and these were assayed for citrate synthase and cytoplasmic α-glycerophosphate dehydrogenase activity. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of the treatment groups, and a double-blind method of administration of the supplements was used. The differences in improvement scores between the two groups on the work capacity and enzyme activity variables were statistically nonsignificant (P >: 0.05). Serum ferritin values rose from a mean of 12.4 ± 4.5 to 37.7 ± 19.7 ng·ml-1 for the experimental group and from 12.2 ± 4.3 to 17.2 ± 8.9 ng·ml-1 for the controls (P = 0.0025), whereas hemoglobin levels remained fairly constant for both groups (P= 0.6). Eight weeks of iron supplementation to prelatent/latent iron-deficient, physically active females did not significantly enhance work capacity. Within the limitations of this study, the presence of a serum ferritin below 20 ng·ml-1 does not pose a significant handicap to physical work capacity.
©1989The American College of Sports Medicine