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Iron Improves Exercise Performance in Women

A University of Melbourne study has found that women who take iron supplements, experience a marked improvement in their exercise performance. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers undertook a systematic review and analysis of the effect of iron supplementation to the exercise performance of women in child-bearing years. Lead researcher, Dr Sant-Rayn Pasricha from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health found that iron supplementation improved women’s exercise performance, in terms of both the highest level they could achieve at 100% exertion (maximal capacity) and their exercise efficiency at a submaximal exertion. Women who were given iron were able to perform a given exercise using a lower heart rate and at a higher efficiency.*
“This was mainly seen in women who had been iron deficient or anaemic at the beginning of the trial and in women who were specifically training, including in elite athletes,” Pasricha said. “The study collected data from many individual smaller studies which generally could not identify this beneficial effect on their own.  However, when we merged the data using meta-analysis, we found this impressive benefit from iron.”

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