European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 5, pp 877–883 | Cite as

Exercise as a mediator of hepcidin activity in athletes

  • Peter PeelingEmail author
Unsolicited Review


Iron is a trace mineral used by the body in many physiological processes that are essential for athletic performance. However, it is common that an athlete’s iron stores are compromised via several well-established exercise-related mechanisms such as hemolysis, hematuria, sweating and gastrointestinal bleeding. Recently, however, a new mechanism for athletics-induced iron deficiency has been proposed, involving the influence of physical activity on the post-exercise hepcidin response. Hepcidin is a liver-produced hormone that regulates iron metabolism in the gut and macrophages. This hormone has become the focus of recent investigations into altered iron metabolism in athletes, and may be a mitigating factor implicated in athletics-induced iron deficiency. This review attempts to summarize and disseminate the collective knowledge currently held regarding exercise and hepcidin expression, in addition to suggesting the direction for future research in this area.


Hepcidin Hemolysis Iron deficiency Inflammation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport Science, Exercise and HealthThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Western Australian Institute of SportMt ClaremontAustralia

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