Iron status is difficult to assess, particularly from one-off blood measurements. Hard exercise results in an increase in the volume of plasma in the blood. This can dilute haemoglobin levels and incorrectly suggest that there is a problem with iron status. This condition is known as ‘sports anaemia’. It is most likely to occur in the early stages of a training program or when training load is increased. Sports anaemia does not need treatment. It is usually transitory and is unlikely to affect performance.

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