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How iron increases training performance in women

Wie Eisen die Trainingsleistung bei Frauen steigert

How iron boosts exercise performance in women

Walk into any supplement store and you'll be overwhelmed by the variety of supplements available. There are dozens of brands, types and flavors of protein powders and many more pre-workout products, post-workout products, BCAA products, fat-burning products and sleep-enhancing products. You may not even know which ones are effective and which ones are a waste of money.

Here is one supplement that has proven its effectiveness: Iron. Research from the University of Melbourne has shown that iron is an important addition to your supplement program. In 2014, Australian scientists conducted a systematic analysis and review of studies on iron supplementation in women of childbearing age. Their research led to an intriguing conclusion: iron can help you perform at a higher efficiency and lower heart rate.

Women who were iron deficient or anemic at the beginning of the study showed the most visible results, but all women who used an iron supplement experienced a significant improvement in their physical performance. Thanks to the iron, the women were actually able to reach their maximum capacity (100% effort). But not only that, they saw an improvement in training efficiency even at sub-maximal levels. Simply put, they were able to push themselves harder, perform better and last longer.

Why is iron such an important supplement for training performance? It all boils down to the fact that iron plays an important role in the formation of new red blood cells. These red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of oxygen and nutrients through the bloodstream, as well as the removal of lactic acid (lactate) from the muscles. Thanks to this increase in oxygen and nutrients, which results from the increase in iron intake, you can improve your performance on the pitch, in the gym or on the cinder track.

If you're not giving what you'd like to in the gym or during your training sessions, then it's time you looked at your iron intake. According to this study, an iron deficiency can noticeably affect your training performance. An iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and lethargy - not to mention an increase in the risk of anemia.

"It can be useful to screen women - including women who train as elite athletes - for iron deficiency and ensure they receive appropriate prevention and treatment strategies. Athletes - especially women - are at increased risk of iron deficiency due to their diet and inflammation caused by excessive training," said lead researcher Dr. Sant-Rayn Pasricha from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.


1. S.-R. Pasricha, M. Low, J. Thompson, A. Farrell, L.-M. De-Regil. "Iron Supplementation Benefits Physical Performance in Women of Reproductive Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Journal of Nutrition, 2014; DOI: 10.3945/jn.113.189589.

By Andy Peloquin


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