Athletic Training M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Osgood , Chad


Background: Iron has been a commonly prescribed supplement for female athletes to take, but there is little evidence to support if iron supplementation can help improve non-anemic female, athlete’s performance. There is still a lack of unity to determine whether iron can be beneficial to a female athlete during their competitive season regardless of their blood iron status. Purpose: The purpose of this literature review is to determine the impact of iron supplementation on physical performance in competitive non-anemic female athletes. Results: Seventeen articles were selected after following evaluation procedures utilizing the PEDro Scale, CASP, and the Critical Appraisal of a Meta-Analysis or Systematic Review; each of the articles were selected for their respective research types. Ten of the seventeen articles were able to report the benefits of iron supplementation on physical performance. The most common performance improvements were VO2max, energy efficiency, and improved blood lactate levels. Five articles reported no evidence of iron improving performance. The most common outcome supported by the utilized review articles suggested that iron supplementation allowed for iron level maintenance throughout the competitive season. Conclusion: Iron supplementation is most beneficial to physical performance in patients who have lower iron status. There is evidence to support that iron supplementation maintains blood iron levels throughout a competition which helps patients maintain their aerobic capacity. Iron supplementation was most beneficial to aerobic performance. Implications for Research and Practice: This research supports using iron supplementation in female athletes regardless of their iron status. The literature encourages athletic trainers and physicians to present athletes with the option for the female athletes to begin supplementation during their competitive season regardless of their iron status. Further research needs to be completed to determine the adverse effects of supplementing iron in patients that currently have normal iron levels as well as research on adequate dosage amounts.

Degree Name

Athletic Training M.S.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Kinesiology Commons