Q. My son's ferritin is low, and he is an athlete. Should he take iron supplements?

Answered by Dr. Atul Prakash and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 

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Hello doctor,

I have a 16 year old son, he runs at the varsity level, for his high school, cross country, and track team. He is a distance runner. He recently had some blood tests done. His hemoglobin was 14.8 g/dL, hematocrit was 44.5 %, and ferritin was 23 ng/mL. I have been told by the team doctor that his ferritin is too low for an endurance athlete and that he should take iron supplements. My son's pediatrician says that he does not need the supplements. Can you offer some advice? Should he take the supplements? If yes, then how much?


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Dr. Atul Prakash
MBBS., MS ORTH., DNB ORTH., MNAMS., FRCS
Fitness Expert, Orthopedics And Traumatology, Physiotherapy, Spine Health

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • I will second your pediatrician and reassure you that, iron is for hemoglobin synthesis, and as the amount of hemoglobin is fine and he is actively taking part in long-distance sports I will not supplement iron.
  • If you are being pressurized then the best alternative is to increase iron-rich foods in his diet like apples, green leafy vegetables, figs, etc.

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