An understanding of the health consequences of abnormal menstrual function is an important consideration for all exercising women. Menstrual disturbances in exercising women are quite common and range in severity from mild to severe and are often associated with bone loss, low energy availability, stress fractures, eating disorders, and poor performance. The key factor that causes menstrual disturbances is low energy availability created by an imbalance of energy intake and energy expenditure that leads to an energy deficit and compensatory metabolic adaptations to maintain energy balance. Practical guidelines for preventing and treating amenorrhea in exercising women include evidence-based dietary practices designed to achieve optimal energy availability. Other factors such as gynecological age, genetics, and one’s susceptibility to psychological stress can modify an individual’s susceptibility to menstrual disturbances caused by low energy availability. Future research should explore the magnitude of these effects in an effort to move toward more individualized prevention and treatment approaches.
Nancy I. Williams, Clara V. Etter and Jay L. Lieberman
Laurie Stickler, Trisha Armstrong, Alyssa Polso and Melissa Smith
Low energy availability has been identified through research as the cornerstone of the female athlete triad, yet reasons for nutritional choices among female collegiate athletes are poorly understood.
To explore the perspectives of female collegiate cross country runners on eating behaviors and attitudes toward health.
Phenomenologic qualitative study with individual, semistructured interviews.
Ten collegiate female cross country runners, ages 18–22, participated in the study. All interviews were audiotaped then transcribed. Three researchers independently coded data and developed themes and subthemes before meeting and negotiating findings.
The following four themes were identified: health behaviors, nutritional knowledge, internal and external factors, and health attitudes.
This study contributes to understanding “the why” behind health behaviors of female collegiate cross country runners. This developmental understanding may assist in interpreting the behavioral causes of low energy availability; thus, both management and prevention of the triad may be aided by this information.
Julien Louis, Fabrice Vercruyssen, Olivier Dupuy and Thierry Bernard
Master athletes are often considered exemplars of successful aging, thanks to their capacity to maintain a high sports performance during their entire life. A high training capacity, regular participation in sporting competitions, and delayed alterations in body composition and physiological capacities have been listed among the main factors contributing to impressive master athletes’ performances. However, there is a paucity of data on the metabolism and dietary habits of master athletes, and the question of whether they need to adapt their nutrition to the aging process remains open. Herein, the authors presented a contemporary overview of the metabolic challenges associated with aging, including the risk of low energy availability, anabolic resistance, and periods of metabolic crisis due to forced immobilization. After assembling scientific evidence to show that master athletes must adapt their dietary intake, the authors proposed a summary of nutritional recommendations for master athletes and suggested the next stage of research.
per se, or failure to optimally integrate the periodization of exercise, nutrition, and recovery. Low energy availability occurs where nutritional intake is not sufficient to cover expenditure from training and resting metabolic rate. In this situation the body goes into energy saving mode, including
Bradley D. Hatfield, Calvin M. Lu and Jo B. Zimmerman
University triad described the female athlete triad, which comprises menstrual dysfunction, low energy availability (with or without an eating disorder), and decreased bone mineral density and has become increasingly common in women pushing their bodies under the pressure of intense training. She described a
Laura K. Fewell, Riley Nickols, Amanda Schlitzer Tierney and Cheri A. Levinson
suggest that increased nutritional intake, reduction in excessive exercise, or a combination of both remedied low energy availability and facilitated strength improvements. In the full sample, VO 2 max and vertical jump did not significantly differ from admission to discharge. VO 2 max was measured via