Projects & Grants

Effect of long-term nutritional intervention on changes in bone density and body composition in athletes at risk of low energy availability
Project IdSGS12/LF/2023
Main solverMgr. Bc. Jan Konvička
Period1/2023 - 12/2023
ProviderSpecifický VŠ výzkum
AnotationTo maintain good health and perform at peak levels, athletes often need to consume higher amounts of energy, protein and micronutrients. Long-term failure to meet these requirements can lead to a syndrome known as relative energy deficiency in sports (RED-S). This concept is relatively new and extends the previously known female athlete triad (FAT), which is characterised by low energy availability with a high incidence of eating disorders, reduced bone density and menstrual cycle disorders. Similar to females, impaired sexual function in the form of functional hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, is also observed in athletic males, termed as male athlete triad (MAT). RED-S syndrome can further impair immune function, protein synthesis and cardiovascular health. A major factor involved in RED-S is energy availability (EA). This concept is clearly defined in the scientific literature. Energy availability is equal to the difference between total energy intake and energy expended during training or a race, converted to 1 kg of fat-free body weight. Current literature indicates that the prevalence of low energy availability across sports is 22-58 %. The loss of bone density that results from low energy availability leads to osteopenia and may result in osteoporosis later in life. Furthermore, reduced bone density can lead to stress fractures and more frequent injuries during sports. Increasing peak bone density by 10 % during youth can delay the development of osteoporosis by 10 years and reduce the risk of fractures during life by 50 %. The ideal approach to maximising bone density is to ensure adequate nutrition in combination with physical activity. The presence of RED-S symptoms, which includes both FAT and MAT, should be primarily treated with nutritional intervention. The specific and effective nutritional management of RED-S is the subject of further research.