Methodological considerations for investigating iron status and regulation in exercise and sport science studies

Journal article


McKay, Alannah K. A., Sim, Marc, Moretti, Diego, Hall, Rebecca, Stellingwerff, Trent, Burden, Richard J. and Peeling, Peter. (2022). Methodological considerations for investigating iron status and regulation in exercise and sport science studies. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 32(8), pp. 359-370. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2021-0343
AuthorsMcKay, Alannah K. A., Sim, Marc, Moretti, Diego, Hall, Rebecca, Stellingwerff, Trent, Burden, Richard J. and Peeling, Peter
Abstract

Iron deficiency is a common health issue in active and athlete populations. Accordingly, research into iron status, regulation, absorption, and iron deficiency treatment strategies is increasing at a rapid rate. However, despite the increase in the quantity of research, various methodological issues need to be addressed as we progress our knowledge in this area. The purpose of this review is to highlight specific considerations for conducting iron-related research in active and athlete populations. First, we discuss the methodological importance of assessment and interpretation of iron status, with reference to blood collection protocols, participant screening procedures, and biomarker selection. Next, we consider numerous variables that should be accounted for in the design of iron-related research studies, such as the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin and its interaction with exercise, in addition to an examination of female physiology and its impact on iron metabolism. Subsequently, we explore dietary iron and nutrient interactions that impact iron regulation and absorption, with recommendations made for optimal methodological control. Consideration is then given to key features of long-term study designs, such as the monitoring of training load, oral iron supplementation, dietary analysis, and general lifestyle factors. Finally, we conclude our recommendations with an exploration of stable iron isotope tracers as a methodology to measure iron absorption. Ultimately, it is our intention that this review can be used as a guide to improve study design, biomarker analysis, and reporting of findings, to maximize the quality of future research outputs in iron-related research focused on active and athlete populations.

Keywordsmethods; iron deficiency; iron isotopes; hepcidin; absorption; hemoglobin
Year2022
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Journal citation32 (8), pp. 359-370
PublisherHuman Kinetics, Inc.
ISSN1526-484X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2021-0343
PubMed ID35365588
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85133948303
Page range359-370
FunderRoyal Perth Hospital
Western Australian Future Health and Innovation Fund
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Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Apr 2022
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Deposited25 May 2023
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