Iron Status and Dietary Patterns of Collegiate Female Distance Runners

Main Article Content

Rachel Walny
Todd Keylock
Carrie Hamady
Wan Shen

Keywords

Abstract

Introduction: Iron is in oxygen transport which is important for athletic performance. Many female distance runners struggle to maintain adequate iron status through diet alone and rely on iron supplementation.


Methods: Interviews were conducted with eight members of the Women’s Cross Country team at a Division I university to assess dietary patterns and behaviors related to iron status. This information, along with food records and serum ferritin levels, were analyzed qualitatively for trends with a focus on iron intake, total energy intake, and food components that enhance and inhibit iron absorption.


Results: All participants took an iron supplement at the time of the study. All but one had experienced poor iron status currently or in the past.  Most participants did not meet dietary iron, Vitamin E, or estimated energy requirements. Half of the participants expressed an attempt to increase iron intake in response to higher training loads. Half attempted to increase intake in response to a low ferritin result or iron deficiency symptoms.


Conclusions: Consistently low energy and iron intake among participants indicated the likelihood of a relationship with poor iron status and/or reliance on supplementation. The most common motivation for increasing iron intake was the prevention of symptoms.

Abstract 37 | PDF Downloads 22

References

1. Blanco-Rojo R, Vaquero, MP. Iron bioavailability from food fortification to precision nutrition. A review. Innov Food Sci Emerg Technol. 2019;51:126-138. doi: 10.1016/j.ifset.2018.04.015
2. Garza D, Shrier I, Kohl HW, Ford P, Brown M, Matheson GO. The clinical value of serum ferritin tests in endurance athletes. J Sport Med. 1997;7(1):46-53. doi: 10.1097/00042752-199701000-00009
3. Suedekum NA, Dimeff RJ. Iron and the athlete. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2005;4(4):199-202. doi: 10.1097/01.csmr.0000306207.79809.7f
4. Alaunyte I, Stojceska V, Plunkett A. Iron and the female athlete: a review of dietary treatment methods for improving iron status and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(1). doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0099-2
5. Beard J, Tobin B. Iron status and exercise. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(2):594-597. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/72.2.594s
6. Zimmermann MB, Hurrell RF. Nutritional iron deficiency. Lancet. 2007;370(9586):511-520. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(07)61235-5
7. World Health Organization (WHO). Archived: Iron deficiency anaemia: assessment, prevention and control. World Health Organization. June 27, 2018. Accessed December, 2019. https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/micronutrients/anaemia_iron_deficiency/WHO_NHD_01.3/en/
8. Habte K, Adish A, Zerfu D, et al. Iron, folate and vitamin B12 status of Ethiopian professional runners. Nutr Metab. 2015;12(1). doi: 10.1186/s12986-015-0056-8.
9. Anschuetz S, Rodgers CD, Taylor AW. Meal composition and iron status of experienced male and female distance runners. J Exerc Sci Fit. 2010;8(1):25-33. doi: 10.1016/s1728-869x(10)60004-4
10. Coates A, Mountjoy M, Burr J. Incidence of iron deficiency and iron deficient anemia in elite runners and triathletes. Clin J Sport Med. 2017;27(5):493-498. doi: 10.1097/jsm.0000000000000390
11. Rúnarsdóttir TR. Body composition and training levels in relation to iron deficiency among athletes and other physically active individuals [Unpublished master’s thesis]. University of Iceland. 2018.
12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. December, 2015. Accessed December, 2019. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
13. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Serving size card. National Institutes of Health. 2013. Accessed December, 2019. https://nutritionandaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/servingcard7.pdf
14. Frankenfield DC. Bias and accuracy of resting metabolic rate equations in non-obese adults. Clin Nutr. 2013;32(6):976-982. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2013.03.022
15. Frankenfield DC, Roth-Yousey, L, Compher, C. Comparison of predictive equations for resting metabolic rate in healthy nonobese and obese adults: a systematic review. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105(5):775-789. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2005.02.005
16. Bytomski JR. Fueling for performance. Sports Health. 2018;10(1);47-53.
17. Ly KH, Stanzione JR, Volpe SL. Determining the accuracy of basal metabolic rate prediction equations for athletes.
18. National Science Foundation (NSF). User-friendly handbook for mixed-method evaluations. NSF. August 1997. Accessed December 2019. https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1997/nsf97153/start.htm
19. Taylor-Powell E, Renner M. Analyzing qualitative data. UW Externsion. 2003. Accessed December, 2019. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0145/8808/4272/files/G3658-12.pdf
20. Creswell, JW. Miller, DL. Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory Pract. 2000;39(3):124-130.
21. Burke DE, Johnson JV, Vukovich MD, Kattelmann KK. Effects of lean beef supplementation on iron status, body composition and performance of collegiate distance runners. Food Sci Nutr. 2012;3(6):810-821. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.36109
22. Logue D. Low energy availability in athletes: A review of prevalence, dietary patterns, physiological health, and sports performance. Sports Med. 2017;48(1):73-96. doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0790-3