Achieving optimal performance is the goal of many athletes. However, there is a silent enemy that can undermine your efforts and put your health at risk:… Energy deficiency syndrome Close in Sports (also known as Red-S, for its abbreviation in English). Those affected may be so focused on achieving their goals that they ignore warning signs.
As the name suggests, it looks like As a result of a prolonged imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure. That is, the athlete Not consuming enough calories to support demands From their activity. This deficiency may be due to A voluntary dietary restriction, a Insufficient intake Or a Increase in energy expenditure due to training.
Furthermore, RED-S affects all levels and specialties: It can affect between 15% and 80% of practitioners Depending on the method of exercise.
The first red lights appeared in 1992, when the concept car appeared Feminine triad. This nomenclature combines three interrelated modifications: Eating disorders, irregular menstruation, and bone loss. Later, the concept of low energy availability (LEA) emerged, and in 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized RED-S as a distinct clinical entity. Although it is associated with LEA, its effects are more pronounced in the long term.
Presents the latest consensus reached by the International Olympic Committee, which has just been published Long list of health harms derived from RED-S. Among them are the following:
– Hormonal changes (cessation of menstruation, decreased sexual desire).
– Weak bones and their susceptibility to stress fractures.
– Urinary incontinence. – Sleep disorders.
– Decreased muscle function. – The immune system is affected.
-Depression or eating disorders.
– Decreased cognitive abilities.
Sports performance also suffers from decreased response to training, slow reaction time, low mood, low muscle strength, and low energy…
Although this syndrome does not distinguish and It can affect people of any age, gender, and skill levelSome practices or characteristics increase the risk of infection:
– Endurance sports: People who engage in triathlon, cycling, or long-distance running are at greater risk due to sustained high energy expenditure over long periods of time.
– Pressure to lose kilograms: Disciplines where body weight is an important factor, such as gymnastics, ballet or martial arts, can often encourage unhealthy dietary restrictions.
– Age factor: Teenagers and young adults can also be at risk, because their growing bodies require more energy for body growth and athletic performance.
And how you can avoid “claw” From RED-S? Recent research, also described in the IOC Consensus, provides some evidence:
– Carbohydrate deficiency: Lack of availability of these nutrients accelerates the development of the syndrome, as it is linked to poor bone health or low iron.
– Overtraining: Simultaneous symptoms have been detected between RED-S and overtraining syndrome. This occurs when there is insufficient recovery after intense and repetitive physical sessions. It can include fatigue, decreased performance, and thus susceptibility to injury. For example, it has been observed that training for cyclists can improve parameters such as testosterone levels or aerobic capacity, but also exacerbate signs associated with RED-S.
– Chronological development: Scientific evidence is still emerging and therefore its development process is largely unknown.
– Mental health: Since this syndrome may also be linked to concerns about weight and body image, psychological support is essential.
He. She The priority is to reduce behaviors associated with both LEA and RED-S. Educational initiatives to avoid obsession with body weight or thinness, especially in young and semi-elite athletes, are important in this regard.
In second place, Efforts must be redoubled to identify symptoms early Using screening tools such as interviews, questionnaires, grade assessments, etc.
Finally, Clinical treatments seek to restore the energy balance between calories consumed and the demands of physical activity undertaken. To this end, adjustments can be made to the load of training and psychological assistance provided.
It is essential that athletes and health professionals know well about RED-S so that the first symptoms do not appear. Health should be the top priority, so good care and a holistic approach will be essential to achieving sustainable success in sport.
*Article originally published in The Conversation* Daniel Sanjuan Sanchez is a physiotherapist and research faculty member at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of San Jorge, and an associate professor at the Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy at the University of Lleida. Member of the iPhysio Research Group, San Jorge University