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Exercise-Associated Iron Deficiency: A Review and Recommendations for Practice

Goldstein, Erica R. MS, RDN, LD/N, CSCS, CISSN

Strength and Conditioning Journal: April 2016 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 24–34
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000202
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ABSTRACT IRON DEFICIENCY IS PREVALENT IN FEMALE ATHLETES AND CAN IMPEDE ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE (I.E., SLOWER TIME TRIAL), AND WITH ANEMIA CAN REDUCE ENDURANCE CAPACITY. LEVELS OF HEPCIDIN ARE ELEVATED AFTER EXERCISE SECOND TO INFLAMMATORY STIMULI (INTERLEUKIN-6) AND MAY CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF IRON DEFICIENCY. HEPCIDIN ACTS TO INTERNALIZE AND DEGRADE FERROPORTIN (CELLULAR CHANNEL RESPONSIBLE FOR IRON EFFLUX). THIS RESULTS IN SEQUESTRATION OF IRON WITHIN MACROPHAGES, WHICH RECYCLE IRON FROM AGED AND DAMAGED ERYTHROCYTES. PROLONGED HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING, ESPECIALLY A MODALITY THAT INCLUDES REPETITIVE FOOT STRIKES, CAN CAUSE HEMOLYSIS RESULTING IN UPREGULATION OF HEPCIDIN AND MAY CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF IRON DEFICIENCY.

Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The author reports no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

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Erica R. Goldsteinis a clinical dietitian at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

© 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association