Author(s): Dubnov G, Constantini NW
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Abstract Iron depletion, with or without anemia, may have a negative effect on physical and mental performance. Even with current recognition of the problem, its incidence among athletes remains high. Most studies describe iron status in endurance athletes. This study examined the prevalence of iron depletion and anemia among male and female top-level basketball players. Adolescents and adults (N = 103) from 8 national basketball teams were screened for anemia and iron stores status, which included a complete blood count and levels of plasma ferritin, transferrin, and serum iron. Iron depletion, defined by a ferritin level below 20 microg/L, was found among 22\% of study participants (15\% in males vs. 35\% in females, p = .019). Anemia was found among 25\% of athletes (18\% in males vs. 38\% in females, p = .028). Iron deficiency anemia, defined by the presence of anemia, ferritin levels below 12 microg/L, and transferrin saturation below 16\%, was found among 7\% of players (3\% in males vs. 14\% in females, p = .043). In summary, a high prevalence of iron depletion, anemia, and iron deficiency anemia was found among basketball players of both genders. We recommend screening ballgame players for blood count and iron store status, and providing nutritional counseling and iron supplementation when necessary.
This article was published in Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology