Kluger, M. J., Ashtron, H. A., Doshi, J. B., Hein, P. S., Newby, J. S., & Philips, R. S. (1992). Letters to the Editor-in-chief. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 24, 303-304.

When serum ferritin is low, attempts to treat and prevent iron deficiency anemia are warranted. However, when serum ferritin is normal or high but iron is low (hypoferremia), the response is more likely to be a host-defense to underlying injury or infection. One of the initial responses to infection is a rapid reduction in the concentration of circulating iron. Attempted iron repletion exacerbates many diseases.

Implication. Before suggesting that athletes should augment their diets with supplemental iron, it is best to determine the real cause of observed hypoferremia.

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