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Gazzetta Medica Italiana - Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2019 July-August;178(7-8):563-8

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.18.03888-3

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Fluctuation of iron carrying capacity in an elite female triathlete while maintaining sporting performance

Alberto GARCÍA BATALLER 1, Nicola MAFFULLI 2, José L. NEYRO 3, Johnny PADULO 4, 5, Juan M. SANTISTEBAN MARTÍNEZ 6, Nicola L. BRAGAZZI 4 , Francisco J. CALDERÓN MONTERO 1

1 Department of Health and Human Performance, School of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (INEF), Polytechnic University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain; 2 Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK; 3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cruces University Hospital, University of País Vasco, EHU-UPV, Barakaldo, Spain; 4 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia; 5 University eCampus, Novedrate, Como, Italy; 6 Department of Medical Services, Athletic Club Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain



The prevalence of iron deficiency in adolescent female athletes is above 52% and is more frequent in endurance sports. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the training process in endurance athletes in order to follow their adaptation to the training load and avoid iron deficiency and, even, anemia. This article presents a clinical case study, which analyzes hematological parameters (namely, hemoglobin, hematocrit, number of erythrocytes and reticulocytes, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean cellular reticulocytes and the fluorescence of the reticulocytes) and iron parameters (including ferritin, transferin and haptoglobin) in an elite female triathlete (7th in the Athens Olympic Games, among other relevant sport results) during 9 consecutive seasons (from 2004 to 2012). Training load was measured in each complete training session using “training impulse” (TRIMP). In order to avoid anemia and maintain competitive level, 100 to 220 mg of FeSO4 were administered daily during her whole sports career. The triathlete did not develop anemia in any of the 9 seasons, although mean hemoglobin concentration (13.08 g/dl) was only slightly above the limits defined for pseudoanemia (12 g/dl). This case study could help sport managers and coaches in properly managing triathlon athletes.


KEY WORDS: Female; Athletes; Ferritins

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