FTP #40: Rachel McCormick & Peter Peeling – Iron deficiency in endurance athletes: from diagnosis to treatment strategies

FTP #39: Chiel Poffé and Peter Hespel –Exogenous ketones in pro cycling: An update on exercise performance and beyond
December 14, 2020
FTP #41 – Ketogenic diets, carbohydrate availability and iron regulation in endurance athletes
June 28, 2022

FTP #40: Rachel McCormick & Peter Peeling – Iron deficiency in endurance athletes: from diagnosis to treatment strategies

Framework to guide practitioners towards optimal treatment
protocols for ID athletes, diagnosed via haematological indices.
McCormick et al. 2020
Rachel McCormick, PhD
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Rachel McCormick recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Western Australia in Perth and is affiliated with the Research Centre at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, where she currently works. Her research interests are centered on the relationship between iron metabolism and endurance exercise, with the goal of translating their interaction into practical strategies of iron supplementation for athletes.

Peter Peeling, PhD
Twitter |  Researchgate profile

Peter received his PhD from the University of Western Australia (UWA), where he investigated the impact of exercise on various mechanisms associated to iron deficiency in endurance athletes. This work highlighted the influence of exercise-induced inflammation on the transient increase of the hormone, hepcidin, which plays a regulatory role in controlling dietary iron absorption in the gut. Over the decade that followed this work, Peter has continued to explore the impact of exercise on iron metabolism, with a focus on practical strategies that can optimise iron stores in active populations. Currently, Peter is the Director of Research at the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS), where he oversees the WA High Performance Sport Research Centre. Additionally, Peter holds a teaching and research role at UWA, in the School of Human Sciences, where he teaches courses in applied sports physiology, and supervises several graduate student research programs.

On this episode:

  • Main functions of iron in the human body; different stages of iron deficiency (ID)
  • Different variables for diagnosing ID
  • Prevalence of iron deficiency
  • Consequences of ID for endurance athletes
  • Recommended dietary intakes / Haem and non-haem iron bioavailability
  • Absorption inhibitors and promotors
  • Plant-based diets, dietary iron availability and ID prevalence
  • Hepcidin, exercise and optimal window for supplementation
  • Oral iron supplementation (framework of your review)
  • GI distress and single Vs split dosis
  • Transdermal iron
  • Iron status and altitude training adaptations

Articles mentioned during the episode:

McCormick, R., Sim, M., Dawson, B., & Peeling, P. (2020). Refining Treatment Strategies for Iron Deficient Athletes. Sports Medicine, 1-13.

Sim, M., Garvican-Lewis, L. A., Cox, G. R., Govus, A., McKay, A. K., Stellingwerff, T., & Peeling, P. (2019). Iron considerations for the athlete: A narrative review. European journal of applied physiology119(7), 1463-1478.

McCormick, R., Moretti, D., McKay, A. K., Laarakkers, C. M., Vanswelm, R., Trinder, D., … & Dawson, B. (2019). The Impact of Morning versus Afternoon Exercise on Iron Absorption in Athletes. Medicine and science in sports and exercise51(10), 2147-2155.

Hall, R., Peeling, P., Nemeth, E., Bergland, D., McCluskey, W. T., & Stellingwerff, T. (2019). Single versus split dose of iron optimizes hemoglobin mass gains at 2106 m altitude. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise51(4), 751-759.

McCormick, R., Dawson, B., Sim, M., Lester, L., Goodman, C., & Peeling, P. (2020). The Effectiveness of Transdermal Iron Patches in Athletes With Suboptimal Iron Status (Part 1). International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism1(aop), 1-6.

Stellingwerff, T., Peeling, P., Garvican-Lewis, L. A., Hall, R., Koivisto, A. E., Heikura, I. A., & Burke, L. M. (2019). Nutrition and altitude: strategies to enhance adaptation, improve performance and maintain health: a narrative review. Sports Medicine, 1-16.

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