Iron and the Female Athlete: A Need For Knowledge

Study 3: The IRONWOMEN trial

The effect of intravenous iron on performance outcomes, quality of life and mood states in iron deficient recreational female athletes: A randomised control trial.

Rationale: Current empirical evidence is suggesting that the greatest efficacy of iron therapy for performance will be seen in a very specific population (serum ferritin <15 ug/L & Hb concentration <13 g/dL). However, to date, no randomised control trials have been conducted to test such a theory in this population. We believe this could be the reason for the literature’s current divergence.

Aim: Investigate the effects of IV iron therapy on performance outcomes, quality of life and mood states in iron deficient recreational female athletes.

Hypothesis: IV iron therapy will significantly increase performance, mood and quality of life

Study 2: The Fe-Male athlete health questionnaire: a screening tool for the identification of female athletes at risk of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia

Rationale: Current screening strategies for ID are invasive and paradoxically require blood from iron deficient individuals to diagnose. This is of particular concern for female athletes as menstrual blood loss is already a significant avenue for losses in body iron stores.

(1) Create and validate a screening tool for the purposes of identifying female athletes at risk or with ID & IDA.
(2) Identify the prevalence of ID/ IDA in a recreational female athlete population (using the screening tool)

Study 1: Efficacy of iron supplementation on physical capacity in non-anaemic iron deficient females: an individual patient data meta-analysis (IPMA)

Rationale: Current literature concerning the effect of iron therapy on exercise performance is divergent. Therefore, an individual patient meta-analysis is both warranted and necessary to resolve the literatures ambiguity.

Aim: Review the current scientific literature, using a novel approach (individual patient meta-analysis), in relation to the effect of iron supplementation on physical capacity in IDNA individuals.

Cory Dugan

Cory Dugan

Phd Candidate University of Western Australia.

Currently investigating the impact of iron deficiency and treatment on skeletal muscle function and physiological output in athletes in the setting of a clinical trial. 

Cory Dugan Poster