Forging iron women

April 9, 2014 by Anne Rahilly, University of Melbourne
Iron and calcium are important for strength and exercise performance. Credit: tonictornado.com

(Medical Xpress)—A new University of Melbourne study has found that women who take iron supplements, experience a marked improvement in their exercise performance.

Published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers undertook a and analysis of the effect of iron supplementation to the of women in child-bearing years.

Lead researcher, Dr Sant-Rayn Pasricha from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health found that iron supplementation improved women's exercise performance, in terms of both the highest level they could achieve at 100% exertion (maximal capacity) and their exercise efficiency at a submaximal exertion. Women who were given iron were able to perform a given exercise using a lower heart rate and at a higher efficiency.

"This was mainly seen in women who had been iron deficient or anaemic at the beginning of the trial and in women who were specifically training, including in elite athletes," he said.

"The study collected data from many individual smaller studies which generally could not identify this beneficial effect on their own. However, when we merged the data using meta-analysis, we found this impressive benefit from iron."

It is the first time researchers have been able to confirm that has beneficial effects on exercise performance.

Dr Pasricha said the findings could have implications for improved performance in athletes and health and general health and well-being in the rest of the population.

"It may be worthwhile screening women, including women training as elite athletes, for iron deficiency, and ensuring they receive appropriate prevention and treatment strategies. Athletes, especially females, are at increased risk of iron deficiency potentially, due to their diets and inflammation caused by excessive exercise," said Dr Pasricha.

Other studies have shown that women given iron experience improved work productivity.

In addition, this study confirms that iron deficiency can impair exercise performance in . Iron deficiency can also produce fatigue and lethargy and eventually result in iron deficiency anaemia.

Explore further: Iron supplementation can provide cognitive and physical benefits to anemic children

Related Stories

Iron supplementation can provide cognitive and physical benefits to anemic children

October 15, 2013
Giving daily iron supplements to anemic primary-school–aged children can have cognitive and physical benefits, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Low iron levels slow down female athletes

November 21, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Female athletes with low levels of iron in their bodies, yet who are not anemic, may be at a disadvantage even before their competitive season starts, according to a new Cornell study. These athletes could ...

Scientists far from finish line in understanding anemia in female athletes

November 20, 2013
When Kaitlyn Patterson's fatigue progressed to hyperventilating even during slow runs, and then forced her to quit high school distance running for the season, she knew something was very wrong.

Iron supplements can reduce fatigue in nonanemic women

July 9, 2012
Iron supplementation reduced fatigue by almost 50% in women who are low in iron but not anemic, according to the results of a clinical trial published July 9 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Time is of the essence for reducing the long-term effects of iron deficiency

June 28, 2013
Iron deficiency is a worldwide problem, especially in developing countries and among infants and pregnant women. In infancy, iron deficiency is associated with poorer cognitive, motor, and social-emotional outcomes. In a ...

Twice weekly iron supplementation to pregnant women as effective as a daily regime

June 18, 2013
Daily supplementation of iron tablets to pregnant women does not provide any benefits in birth weight or improved infant growth compared to twice weekly supplementation, according to a study by international researchers published ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.