Iron excess in recreational marathon runners

S. Mettler, M.B. Zimmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Objectives: Iron deficiency and anemia may impair athletic performance, and iron supplements are commonly consumed by athletes. However, iron overload should be avoided because of the possible long-term adverse health effects. Methods: We investigated the iron status of 170 male and female recreational runners participating in the Zürich marathon. Iron deficiency was defined either as a plasma ferritin (PF) concentration 200¿µg/l. Iron depletion was found in only 2 out of 127 men (1.6% of the male study population) and in 12 out of 43 (28.0%) women. Functional iron deficiency was found in 5 (3.9%) and 11 (25.5%) male and female athletes, respectively. Body iron stores, calculated from the sTfR/PF ratio, were significantly higher (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-494
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • previously untrained women
  • serum ferritin
  • body iron
  • myocardial-infarction
  • transferrin receptor
  • road cyclists
  • deficiency
  • anemia
  • supplementation
  • prevalence

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