"You may have a view on the value of iron injections as a way of quickly boosting iron levels for one of our runners who has a low iron level at 24 (up from 19). What's you opinion regarding this? We know that they can be painful and leave a stain. But there seem to be divided opinions about that."
Gary responds:Iron injections (including B-12) give only short term relief if, in fact, the cause is other than an iron deficient diet. In the case of a young female athlete, a contributor to persistent iron deficiency anaemia is an excess of tissue copper.
Refer image left: Chronically anaemic athlete. Note high Cu relative to Fe. Also note there is arsenic toxicity, presumably due to using Henna dye which is high in arsenic. Both these will contribute to extreme fatigue.
Copper is an antagonist of iron (Fe) and an excess will cause an abnormality in iron utilisation within the body. Treating the condition by forcing more and more iron into the body is futile and may even lead to other more serious health problems.
Incidentally, too much copper can stop menstruation. Bulemic and anorexic young women typically have very high copper. Patients with anorexia nervosa typically stop menstruating. Both conditions are common among female runners - as is anaemia.
Please read my E-Book "Too Thin to Win" which is dedicated to the late Helen Moros who represented New Zealand at the highest levels as a runner only to pass away at 35 years of age.
The only way to know for sure about what to do in the case of an individual athlete is to carry out an ICL Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis which is done through me.
I can send a HTMA kit but need a delivery address.
Do you have a question?
Email Gary: gary at myotec.co.nz (Replace the "at" with @ and remove spaces). Please include any relevant background information to your question.