Could Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports be limiting your performance? (RED-S)

Posted on: May 9th, 2018 by Belinda Brown | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

How are you performing?

Have you heard of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport [RED-S]? Basically, it refers to low energy availability due to an imbalance between energy intake in form of food and energy expenditure required for activities of daily living, healthy bodily functions, growth and sport activities. RED-S identifies many body systems affected, as well as performance consequences for athletes. [Refer Table Right and Figure Below]

This can affect both male and female.

Sports where athletes are most at risk include aesthetic-judged sports, endurance, weight –category or weight-dependant sports.

Periodic health examinations should include screening, as early detection and appropriate intervention is important to prevent health consequences and to improve performance. Once again, low energy availability is the cause of RED-S so this should be the focus – is it present and causes?

Red flags if athletes present with disordered eating, menstrual dysfunction, stress fracture, weight loss, lack of growth, decreased performance or mood disorders.

Blood work, assessment of bone mineral density, body composition and resting metabolic rate can be helpful for treatment plan. It is important to work with appropriate health professionals, if you have RED-S, to assist you to increase dietary intake of energy, return to exercise with supervision, monitoring and a training program appropriate for you and underlying psychological or other health issues are being addressed. This will focus on reversing the underlying cause – low energy availability.

Being aware of RED-S is important to try and prevent the health consequences of it. For more information, contact one of our Physiotherapists today to get you back on the road to training at peak performance.

Lizzy Hore, Womens Health Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy Townsville - The Physio Movement


     517 Flinders Street
Townsville City Qld 4810
     1300 TPM FIT or 4740 4516
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