Borjesson, M. A., Adolfsson, P., & Rodgjer, S. (2000). Iron deficiency and anemia in elite women athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(5), Supplement abstract 220.

Iron deficiency is common in fertile women, sometimes leading to lowered Hb count or even anemia. Hb is directly related to VO2max. Iron deficiency has not been linked to decreased oxygen uptake, but peripheral effects have been noted. This study evaluated the occurrence of iron deficiency/anemia in female Swedish national team soccer players (N = 19).

Ss (N = 11) were iron deficient, and six were anemic. After iron supplementation, Hb and serum-iron increased significantly. No supplemented women were anemic at follow up.

Implication. Iron stores and Hb should be regularly checked in seriously exercising women. Iron supplementation might be considered as a standard procedure to avoid major and peripheral deficiencies.

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