Research: AGUILA and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 106


AGUILA and co-workers, Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress Research Group at the University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, report that antioxidant diet supplements influence blood iron status in endurance athletics.


The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of antioxidant supplements on iron status in athletes during training and competition.


In this randomized double-blinded design, 18 male athletes were randomly allocated to receive either a placebo or an antioxidant supplement consisting of 500 mg vitamin E, 1 gram vitamin C, and 30 mg beta-carotene daily. Haematological parameters, dietary intake, physical activity intensity, antioxidant status, and iron status were determined before and after the intervention.


Exercise depleted antioxidant defences in the placebo group but not in the supplement group. The supplement group showed no changes in red blood cell counts, haematocrit, or haemoglobin concentration after 3 months despite exercising. The placebo group showed a high oxidative stress index and decreases in serum iron by 24%.


Antioxidant supplementation prevents the decrease of serum iron and iron saturation index. The results suggest a link between iron metabolism and oxidative stress.


Aguilo A, Tauler P, Fuentespina E, Villa G, Cordova A, Tur JA, Pons A. Antioxidant diet supplementation influences blood iron status in endurance athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 14 (2): 147-160, Apr 2004.

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