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Iron metabolism in athletes – achieving a gold standard

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Iron is an important mineral element required for diverse life processes. Its metabolism is almost synonymous to erythrocyte maintenance, erythropoiesis and erythrophagocytosis. Consequently, exercise exertion impacts significantly on red cell haematology. Here, the interactions between exercise and erythropoiesis are explored. Hepcidin, the peptide hormone that regulates systemic iron metabolism, decreases in response to erythropoiesis by facilitating increased iron efflux from ferroportin into circulation. However, during exercise, there is an alarming increase in the expression of hepcidin resulting in a negative iron balance in athletes. In this review, the confounding cause and effect scenarios of exercise, athlete training and haematology and hepcidin interactions are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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