Effects of training and iron supplementation on iron status of cross-country skiers

A. Pattini, F. Schena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the effects of iron treatment on iron deficient cross-country skiers. Kind and duration of their daily training were also considered. Forty-eight athletes were divided in three balanced groups: Group A received 160 mg ferritinic iron/die, Group B received the same amount of iron and 1 gr of ascorbic acid and Group C was untreated. Blood samples were taken at the start, after two months and four months of supplementation. Hematological and iron status parameters were determined. Average training duration was 80 min a day. Running was the most frequent method of training but also roll and country skiing were commonly used. At the initial sample low serum ferritin values were found in all the three groups (Group A = 23.3 μg/l, Group B = 20.9 μg/l and Group C = 23.5 μg/l). After iron treatment serum ferritin increased in Groups A and B (+67.8% and +63.6% respectively) but was slightly reduced in Group C. Serum iron was unchanged and total iron binding capacity decreased following ferritin increase. Ascorbic acid failed to increase iron absorption in Group B. A significant reduction of haptoglobin (-14% and -9% in Group A and B respectively) was also documented. We conclude that cross-country skiers extensively use running in their training and it may be one of the cause of their poor iron status. Ferritinic iron treatment seems to be effective in replacing iron stores in cross-country skiers who underwent heavy training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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