Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists far from finish line in understanding anemia in female athletes

Date:
November 20, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
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.

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.

Related Articles


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, 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.

The downside is that hepcidin isn't the anemia cure-all the scientific community had hoped.

Bodary said that physicians already do a nice job of helping athletes recover from exercise-induced anemia by providing iron supplementation and educating athletes about optimizing iron absorption. The challenge now is understanding what causes anemia in order to prevent it.

The U-M study is the first known to compare hepcidin levels in competitive college female runners against those of non-exercisers, Bodary said. About half the runners in the study had a history of anemia and about 85 percent supplemented with iron.

Researchers wanted to see if hepcidin remained high in resting athletes, which could link elevated hepcidin with exercise-induced iron-deficiency anemia. However, overall hepcidin levels in both groups were about equal, Bodary said.

Will scientists have to return to the starting line? Not necessarily. A physician familiar with Bodary's research contacted him about a female patient with long-term anemia that is hypothesized to have elevated levels of resting hepcidin. Although she didn't exercise regularly, her blood work resembled that of an athlete with the disease, Bodary said.

By analyzing the woman's blood samples, Bodary's lab hopes to learn if high hepcidin drives her anemia. Results could help scientists decode what causes anemia in both the general population of women and in elite athletes.

Meanwhile, Patterson remains healthy since her first struggles with anemia.

"I still run, and have returned to cross country skiing and have taken up cycling," she said. "I'm planning on ski racing this winter and putting together a solid triathlon season. I've been fortunate in that I responded well to iron supplementation, so I've stayed healthy since my original bout with anemia."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiaoya Ma, Kaitlyn J. Patterson, Kayla M. Gieschen, and Peter F. Bodary. Are Serum Hepcidin Levels Chronically Elevated in Collegiate Female Distance Runners? International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, November 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Scientists far from finish line in understanding anemia in female athletes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120134034.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2013, November 20). Scientists far from finish line in understanding anemia in female athletes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120134034.htm
University of Michigan. "Scientists far from finish line in understanding anemia in female athletes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131120134034.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins