Iron deficiency caused by 7 weeks of intensive physical exercise

  • Abraham Magazanik
  • Yitzhak Weinstein
  • Ron A. Dlin
  • Malca Derin
  • Silvia Schwartzman
  • David Allalouf
Article

Summary

The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of an intensive physical training program involving both isometric and isotonic activities on the body iron status of 8 females and 11 males (age 20± 1 year). The training was carried out over a 7 week period and included 8 h of varying physical activities each day. Venous blood samples were obtained from the subjects prior to the beginning of the training, on day 2 and in weeks 2, 4, 6 and 7 of the program. Blood samples were analyzed for iron, ferritin and hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations, total iron binding capacity (TIBC) and red blood cell count (RBC). Iron levels of males and females decreased 65% after 2 weeks of training (p<0.001). At the end of the training program 5 males and 6 females had lower than normal iron values (<13.4 μmol·l−1). TIBC increased 25% in women and 18% in men following 2 and 4 weeks of training (p<0.001) and remained at this elevated level throughout the training period. Ferritin levels decreased 50% in both sexes after 4 weeks of exercise (p<0.05) and remained at this level until the end of the training. Hb and RBC decreased 8–10% in both sexes during the training period. In two of the women anemia occurred after 4 weeks of training. The development of latent iron deficiency in a substantial number of participants after a relatively short period of training is uncommon and may reflect the high intensity of exercise required in this program. The decline in body iron status may affect the performance of the subject during training. We suggest that the iron status of athletes engaged in intensive training be examined regularly and consideration be given to iron supplementation.

Key words

Training \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2 max}}} }\) Ferritin Iron status 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abraham Magazanik
    • 1
  • Yitzhak Weinstein
    • 2
  • Ron A. Dlin
    • 2
  • Malca Derin
    • 1
  • Silvia Schwartzman
    • 1
  • David Allalouf
    • 1
  1. 1.Biochemical and Hematological Laboratories, Golda Meir Medical CenterHasharon HospitalPetah-TiqvaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Research and Sport MedicineWingate Institute for Physical Education and SportIsrael

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