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Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Apr;16(2):180-6.

Iron supplementation: oral tablets versus intramuscular injection.

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  • 1School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, the University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia.


Non-anemic, iron depleted women were randomly assigned to an injection group (IG) or oral group (OG) to assess which method is more efficient for increasing iron stores over a short time period. IG received a course of 5 x 2 mL intramuscular injections over 10 d, and OG received one tablet daily for 30 d. Fourteen, 21 and 28 d after commencing supplementation, ferritin concentration in OG significantly increased from baseline (means +/- standard error: 27 +/- 3 to 40 +/- 5 to 41 +/- 5 to 41 +/- 5 microg/L; P < 0.01). Similarly, on days 15, 20, and 28 post the first injection, ferritin concentration in IG significantly increased from baseline (means +/- standard error: 20 +/- 2 to 71 +/- 17 to 63 +/- 11 to 63 +/- 7 microg/L; P < 0.01), and was also significantly greater than OG at day 15 and 28 (P < 0.05). Iron injections are significantly more effective (both in time and degree of increase) in improving ferritin levels over 30 d than oral tablets.

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