What Causes Anemia in Female Athletes?

11/21/13

When Kaitlyn Patterson's fatigue progressed to hyperventilating even during slow runs, and then forced her to quit high school distance running for the season, she knew something was very wrong.

Patterson had exercise-induced iron-deficiency anemia, a common, perplexing problem among elite female athletes, especially endurance runners. Later, as a University of Michigan sophomore, she was so interested in the topic that she applied for an undergraduate research position in the lab of Peter Bodary Ph.D., U-M clinical assistant professor of movement science and health & fitness.

Patterson recently co-wrote a study challenging—and perhaps putting to rest—a popular hypothesis on what causes exercise-induced iron-deficiency anemia.

It's another in a succession of findings from separate research groups that debunk the notion that the iron-regulating hormone hepcidin causes exercise-induced anemia. Conventional science has suggested that rigorous exercise causes hepcidin spikes that result in anemia.

"The U-M finding is significant because we want to provide physicians with the most accurate information regarding exercise-induced anemia," Bodary said. (Full article)

Article by Laura Bailey. Original photo of Alena Vinitskya and Stepanova Ludmile by Phil Roeder

Source: 

 Michigan News

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