NutraCast: Nutritional Concerns of the Female Athlete

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

NutraCast: Nutritional Concerns of the Female Athlete

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Although women have been underrepresented in nutrition, sport, and exercise science research, there’s a growing understanding of how sex differences and sex hormones influence the nutritional requirements to maximize health, performance, and recovery of female athletes.

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​ (ISSN) recently released a new position statement on Nutritional Concerns of the Female Athlete​. This review reflects the latest evidence-based nutritional considerations for female athletes and provides a framework and guidance for future research opportunities. 

One of the researchers, Katie Hirsch, Exercise Physiologist & Sport Nutritionist Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina, joined the NutraCast to discuss this research and some of the key learnings.

Hirsch said one trend in sports nutrition that she enjoys seeing is female athletes competing longer and later in life, using the women’s World Cup as an example. 

“Teenagers and then ranging all the way up into mid to late 30s, and we've got athletes even into their 40s. And so what does optimal nutrition and training look like at all these different stages? And they're all going through different, kind of hormonal profiles.  And then even those older ones who are maybe retiring, what does transition into regular life look like? And as they enter perimenopause, how do they stay active? How do we maximize benefits of our supplements? So the creatines, the Beta-alanines, the nitrate, how can that optimize blood flow as that changes throughout our life? I do a lot with amino acids. So how can I overcome anabolic resistance that occurs with aging and help these women stay strong and healthy?”

Hirsch added that there's a lot of potential in many areas to help women continue to compete throughout their lives–but patience is key.

“We're seeing a lot of growing support and interest, but science takes time. No matter how fast I do it, a study, seeing it from getting the funding to the publishing can take five years if we're moving fast. And so it just takes time, but I think there's a lot of us trying to do more work, trying to do better work, improving that quality. So I'm excited to see what comes out in the coming years. I think we're just getting started.”

To hear more on the sex differences that exist, what largely drives these differences and how we can use this knowledge to maximize health, performance, and recovery of athletes, listen to the NutraCast.

If you enjoy listening to the NutraCast, feel free to leave a review. You can subscribe on iTunes​, Spotify​, Stitcher​ or wherever you get your podcasts.

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