IL-6 mediates hypoferremia of inflammation by inducing the synthesis of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin.
Iron supplementation contributes an effort to improving iron status among athletes, but it does not always prevent iron deficiency. In the present study, we explored the effect of three consecutive days of endurance training (twice daily) on the hepcidin-25 (hepcidin) level. The effect of iron supplementation during this period was also determined. Fourteen male endurance athletes were enrolled and randomly assigned to either an iron-treated condition (Fe condition, n = 7) or a placebo condition (Control condition; CON, n = 7). They engaged in two 75-min sessions of treadmill running at 75% of maximal oxygen uptake on three consecutive days (days 1-3). The Fe condition took 12 mg of iron twice daily (24 mg/day), and the CON condition did not. On day 1, both conditions exhibited significant increases in serum hepcidin and plasma interleukin-6 levels after exercise (p < 0.05). In the CON condition, the hepcidin level did not change significantly throughout the training period. However, in the Fe condition, the serum hepcidin level on day 4 was significantly higher than that of the CON condition (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the hepcidin level was significantly elevated following three consecutive days of endurance training when moderate doses of iron were taken.