Original article

Blood Transfusion - 5 2020 (September-October)

Iron supplementation limits the deleterious effects of repeated blood donation on endurance sport performance but not on iron status

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Key words: erythropoietin, ferritin, maximal oxygen consumption, maximal power output, donor selection
Publication Date: 2020-07-22

Abstract

Background - Every day, blood banks worldwide face the challenge of ensuring an adequate blood supply. Iron deficiency is by far the most common cause of deferral of blood donors. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of iron supplementation after repeated blood donation on iron status and physiological performance.
Materials and methods - Forty-four moderately trained and iron-replete subjects were randomly divided into a whole blood donation (n=36) and a placebo donation (n=8) group. One third of the donation group received no iron supplementation, whereas one third received 20 mg iron and one third received 80 mg iron daily for 28 days. The subjects were intended to make three donations 3 months apart, and recovery of endurance capacity, assessed by an incremental maximal cycling test, and haematological parameters was monitored up to 28 days after each donation.
Results - Negative effects of repeated blood donation were found for markers of iron storage, markers of functional iron and/or iron metabolism regulation, and physiological markers. Iron supplementation did not affect iron storage but did limit, at the highest dose of 80 mg, the effect of blood donations on functional iron and/or iron metabolism regulation, and at both 20 and 80 mg the negative effects on maximal power output and peak oxygen consumption.
Discussion - Iron supplementation limited the deleterious effects of repeated blood donation on endurance sport performance but not on decline in iron status in iron-replete young men. These results underline the importance of iron supplementation to minimise the deleterious effects of blood donation on physiological functions, and the necessity to optimise the supplementation strategy to preserve iron status.

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Authors

Barbara Pachikian - Centre of Investigation in Clinical Nutrition, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve; Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve

Damien Naslain - Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve

Nicolas Benoit - Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve

Romain Brebels - Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve

Kristin Van Asch - Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Mechelen

Veerle Compernolle - Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Mechelen; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent

Philippe Vandekerckhove - Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Mechelen; Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Louise Deldicque - Centre of Investigation in Clinical Nutrition, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve; Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve

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