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The Male Athlete Triad
The Female Athlete Triad’s Male Counterpart
I know many of you have complained about my period posts. Well, this one’s for you.
You too can experience Energy Deficiency (ED) that may affect you in more ways than ever imaginable. It is now termed… The Male Athlete Triad. How original, right?
Did you ever wonder why you may have decreased libido or why your facial hair growth has slowed? Are you fatigued and irritable? Injured often? How about your morning wood, has that faded too?
We have known there are negative consequences of Low Energy Availability (LEA) in males for a while, but the topic seemed neglected. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) was created to bridge the gap… kind of. However, we still weren’t quite sure of how LEA truly affects a man’s ecosystem. Thanks to A. Nattiv et al. (2021), men, you are now at the forefront of this conversation.
Just as women experience a negative cascade of events secondary to low fueling and energy availability, men can too. The Female Athlete Triad has been a discussion point for many years. Now, it’s your turn.
The Male Athlete Triad is defined as:
“…a syndrome of 3 interrelated conditions, including energy deficiency, low EA, impaired bone health, and suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.” – A. Nattiv et al. (2021)
So, in layman’s terms…
(1) Inadequate food intake and poor rest and recovery strategies cause your body to enter into an energy deficit.
(2) Due to lack of fuel, your body’s hormone centers become disrupted. This causes a condition called hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, where your body suppresses the secretion of testosterone(T) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Two imperative hormones in a male’s ecosystem (similar to Estrogen for women).
(3) An imbalance and lack of hormones can affect bone health and reproductive function. It can increase a male’s risk for bone stress injury, osteopenia and osteoporosis, decrease sperm count and decrease libido.
So, my male counterparts, it’s time to start paying attention. Your female friends, such as myself, are not the only ones affected by LEA.
However, it does seem you are a bit lucky. Although there is no definitive answer yet, it appears a male’s ED must be larger than a female’s to create hormonal unrest. Darn you guys… but let’s keep it real.
If you are an active adult male experiencing:
- A new bone stress injury or stress fracture diagnosis
- Decreased libido
- Absence of morning erections
- Decreased facial hair growth
- Weight Loss and low BMI
- Poor performance
- Mood Swings
- Chronic Injury
- Negative feelings about your appearance/weight
- Stress of maintaining weight
It’s time to consult your local sports medicine team of MDs, physios, dietitians, and psychologists.
It’s time to train healthy & well.
Yours In Health,
PS: There is so much that goes into this topic! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below.