Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) is a clinical syndrome underpinned by low energy availability (LEA) as a result of over-training and inadequate energy intake. A variety of body systems are negatively impacted by this syndrome leading to compromised health and decreased sports performance.
Essentially the body systems go into “energy saving mode” because there is not enough energy to carry out normal functioning. As a result, your body will try and tell you in many ways that it’s not functioning as it should. Some signs, but aren’t limited to include:
• Irregular menstruation (amenorrhea)
• Frequent injuries
• Frequent illnesses
This condition is most prevalent in body weight sensitive or aesthetically focused sports (e.g. ballet, gymnastics, cycling, running, swimming, dancing, boxing etc). However, it is important to note that anyone can be at risk - it can occur in females, males, able-bodied, disabled populations, athletes and non-athletes.
Note: it is important to understand that sports also play a protective factor in the development of eating disorders. If you have developed an eating disorder and you are seeking dietetic support, it is best you find a dietitian that specialises in eating disorders & sports nutrition.
Treatment & Prevention
To treat RED-S it is important to address the root cause of the problem - being an imbalance of energy intake vs energy expenditure (LEA), thereby increasing caloric intake to match training and lifestyle demands (and in some cases reducing the training demands).
This is a very simple approach to treating this condition, and therefore we encourage a comprehensive and holistic assessment to be done by a qualified specialist to address the individual's root cause/s. If you would like to book in for a complimentary 15-min discovery call head to our website. Book here: https://www.maitrihealth.com.au/bookings
Mountjoy M, Sundgot-Borgen J, Burke L, et al The IOC consensus statement: beyond the Female Athlete Triad—Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) British Journal of Sports Medicine 2014;48:491-497.