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Serum ferritin values in elite speed and synchronized swimmers and speed skaters



Serum ferritin values in elite speed and synchronized swimmers and speed skaters



Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 116(5): 661-665



Reports of subnormal serum ferritin values for elite athletes are widespread. Human studies evaluating performance in the ferritin-depleted state have led to a questioning of the significance of low ferritin levels of athletic performance. However, the accelerated iron metabolism and subnormal iron intake-uptake demonstrated by some athletes suggests that a point occurs in training at which the body must draw on its reserves. In consideration of this problem, serum ferritin, hemoglobulin, hematocrit, serum Fe, and total iron-binding capacity levels were measured in elite Canadian female synchronized swimmers (n = 9), male speed swimmers (n = 7), and male and female speed skaters (n = 6, n = 6) over the course of two seasons of training and competition. Training sessions were monitored to document the workload carried out by each athlete. The midseason serum ferritin team values for the first and second years (mean .+-. SEM) were as follows: synchro 48 .+-. 10 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L, 24 .+-. 6 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L; female speed skaters 57 .+-. 14 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L, 51 .+-. 7 .mu.g .cntdot. L; male speed skaters 94 .+-. 27 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L, 72 .+-. 19 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L; and male swimmers 66 .+-. 13 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L, 56 .+-. 7 .mu.g .cntdot. 1 L. A significant decrease was seen in both serum ferritin and hemoglobin for the synchronized swimmers and in serum ferritin for the male speed skaters (p < 0.05). These results suggest that a tendency exists for a decrease in serum ferritin levels from season to season. The decline in iron stores may ultimately lead to decreased hemoglobin levels as seen in female synchronized swimmers. Further investigation is required to determine the relationships between training volume or training intensity (or both) and changing serum ferritin levels.

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Accession: 002219755

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PMID: 2230536



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