Most of the literature on RED-S / REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) is geared towards women. Amenorrhea (the absence of a menstrual cycle) is a warning sign that a female’s body may be insufficiently fueled, but RED-S / REDs is rampant in males, as well. What signs should you look for, if you were born male?

Sports nutrition and performance expert Rebecca McConville describes the symptoms that men should look for, and explains the impact that RED-S / REDs can have on their reproductive health.


Read the transcript

[Tina]  I identify as a male and I have recently come to the realization that I have RED-S. Now I know from a previous video, that males can have RED-S, but it feels like everything is tailored towards women. What would you tell someone like me who is struggling with this, because I feel like I’m the only one out there. 

[Becca]  I empathize with this because, yes, the literature primarily did focus on women in the earlier stages, those that identify as women. But as we have grown to learn, and as we have had athletes that have expressed this current concern, that has helped us expand. And truth be told, I think because the menstrual cycle is an easy thing to check off, by your having one, not having one, I think that was a starting point.

 But being able to understand physiology, that obviously males’ bodies are going to respond in a similar manner to low energy availability and have some of those health consequences, so I hope that they are able to stand forward. And we do have researchers out there that are starting to focus on males, so that it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see more emphasis and possibly even different screening and assessment.  

[Tina]  What would you tell people who identify as male to keep an extra eye on, as they begin their recovery process, as with women it’s often menstrual cycles or cervical fluid. Or, what would you say for males to keep an eye on? 

[Becca]  I like the interchange of calling it either reproductive health or sexual health. Both of those are very important. So for males, it could be a drop in the amount of morning erections that they consistently would have, or even a decreased sex drive. There is some exploration right now, if  they are seeking to have children, that males also be assessed for infertility, because we know that sperm count will be decreased in that low energy availability state. So there might be three ways that they can be able to assess where their sexual health is at that time.  

[Tina] And then the other symptoms we’ve talked about, you know, loss of… feeling cold in extremities, irritability, insomnia, stomach upsets, those apply to everyone and can also be monitored. 

[Becca] Absolutely. That doesn’t seem to differ between the females and the males, as well. And seeing some of that digestive dysfunction, especially being able to take nutrition in during training, body temperature, and bone stress injuries. While the statistics may be higher in females, we are seeing those just as rampant in males in the low energy availability state. 

[Tina] Okay, thank you.

check it out

Recovering from RED-S is hard. It’s even harder if you’re working through it alone. Even if you have professional support, they’re not available 24-7, and that can lead to going down search engine rabbit holes that have the potential to derail everything.

Our online resource, RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover, will answer all those questions swimming around in your head about recovery. It will give you the opportunity to connect with the experts you’ve come to know here, and to surround  yourself with a community of others who are going through it too. THANK YOU! to Athletic Greens and Tracksmith for supporting this YouTube series and RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover.

Go to to get five free travel packs of AG1 and a free one year’s supply of vitamin D3+K2 with your subscription!

When you go to and use the code TINA15 at checkout, you’ll get free shipping and Tracksmith will donate 5% of your order to Rising Hearts, the Indigenous-led nonprofit founded by Jordan Marie Daniels.

more about becca:

Rebecca McConville, RD, LD, CSSD, CEDS, is a sports nutrition and performance expert who helps her clients explore and strengthen their relationship with food, weight, body image and sports performance. Her book, “Finding Your Sweet Spot,” helps athletes maximize their potential while avoiding the dangers of RED-S. You can find Becca at

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