Changes in iron metabolism during prolonged repeated walking exercise in middle-aged men and women

Rieneke Terink*, D. ten Haaf, C.W.G. Bongers, M.G.J. Balvers, R.F. Witkamp, M. Mensink, T.M.H. Eijsvogels, J.M.T. Klein Gunnewiek, M.T.E. Hopman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of prolonged and repeated exercise on iron metabolism in middle-aged adults and to compare differences between sexes. Methods: 50 male (58.9 ± 9.9 year) and 48 female (50.9 ± 11.2 year) individuals were monitored on 4 consecutive days at which they walked on average 8 h and 44 min per day at a self-determined pace. Blood samples were collected 1 or 2 days prior to the start of the exercise (baseline) and every day immediately post-exercise. Samples were analysed for iron, ferritin, haemoglobin, and haptoglobin concentrations. Results: Plasma iron decreased across days, while ferritin increased across days (both p < 0.001). Haptoglobin showed a decrease (p < 0.001) after the first day and increased over subsequent days (p < 0.001). Haemoglobin did not change after the first day, but increased during subsequent days (p < 0.05). At baseline, 8% of the participants had iron concentrations below minimum reference value (10 µmol/L), this increased to 43% at day 4. There was an interaction between sex and exercise days on iron (p = 0.028), ferritin (p < 0.001) and haemoglobin levels (p = 0.004), but not on haptoglobin levels. Conclusion: This study showed decreases in iron, increases in ferritin, a decrease followed by increases in haptoglobin and no change followed by increases in haemoglobin. This is most likely explained by (foot strike) haemolysis, inflammation, and sweat and urine losses. These processes resulted in iron levels below minimum reference value in a large number of our participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2349–2357
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume118
Issue number11
Early online date23 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Fe
  • Hb
  • Hp
  • Repetitive exercise

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