RED-S: The Silent Threat that You Must Avoid at All Costs
Reading time: 3 min

RED-S: The Silent Threat that You Must Avoid at All Costs

Reading time: 3 min
Learn what causes RED-S and how to prevent it.
RED-S: The Silent Threat that You Must Avoid at All Costs

Proper sports nutrition is not essential just to fuel your athletic performance and trigger optimal muscle recovery. It also has a great impact on your health.

If you train hard but neglect to properly feed your body, you might develop chronic conditions. One of these conditions is RED-S.

In this blog, you'll learn what RED-S is, what causes RED-S, and how to prevent it.

What is RED-S?

RED-S or relative energy deficiency in sport is a condition of malnutrition in which you fail to provide enough energy to your body to sustain all body functions. The end result is an energy deficit which leads to a hormonal imbalance.

Many athletes suffer from RED-S, both male and female athletes, and often they don't even know it. This is dangerous, as RED-S poses a serious long-term threat to your health and athletic performance.

Proper Nutrition is Essential to Prevent RED-SProper nutrition is essential to prevent RED-S.

What are the symptoms of RED-S?

You might be developing RED-S, but don't even know it. That's why you must be very mindful of the following symptoms.

  • Lack of menstruation: the most obvious symptom experienced by many young female athletes.
  • Testosterone drop: male athletes may experience a drop of their sex hormone and the associated loss of libido.
  • Fatigue: if you are constantly feeling low on energy, chances are you are developing RED-S.
  • Weak immune system: getting sick all the time? It may be caused by energy deficiency.
  • Weight loss: if you're losing weight, you're probably not eating enough. Reconsider your daily intake.

There are several other symptoms that might directly or indirectly reveal RED-S, but they are easy to miss or attribute to fleeting causes. If you suspect you might be developing RED-S, you need to see a doctor immediately and do a blood test.

What are the consequences of RED-S?

It's not our intention to scare you. But we need to get this message across. You don't need to use dietary supplements if you feel you're better off without them, but you must take care of proper nutrition.

Developing RED-S is the last thing you want, especially if you are a young athlete.

The consequences of RED-S are real and long lasting. In fact, RED-S affects:

  • menstrual cycle,
  • bone health,
  • hormonal balance,
  • metabolism,
  • blood count,
  • growth and development,
  • mental state,
  • cardiovascular health,
  • digestion,
  • immune system.

In simple words, if you develop RED-S, you are in trouble. Not only you might seriously damage your bone structure, something not easily fixed later on, but you will endanger pretty much all vital aspects of your system.

RED-S consequencesRED-S can have devastating consequences.

How to avoid RED-S?

If all illnesses were so easy to prevent, the world would be a much simpler, and a much healthier place.

And yet, RED-S is not only a sad constant, it even seems to be on a rise.

Don't boost this trend. Stop RED-S in its tracks.


Well, that's easy. Eat enough food. Specifically, carbohydrates.

Yes, it's that simple. Disregarding special medical conditions, where your ability to absorb nutrients from food is impaired, in which case we advise medical assistance, eating enough food is all it takes.

Sports Nutrition RED-SDietary supplements are a great way to support your diet and get all the nutrients you need during and after intense exercise.

What are the causes of RED-S?

If all it takes to prevent RED-S is eat enough food, why is there so much of it?

Well, the answer is easy. Many athletes don't provide enough nutrients to their body.

But why?

There are several reasons, but let's look at the main ones.

  • Impaired absorption: if your digestive system is not able to absorb nutrients from food, we advise you visit a doctor immediately!
  • Eating disorders: there are many ways to develop an eating disorder, so you need to be careful to respect proper nutrition at all times.
  • Losing weight: related to eating disorders, losing weight is often unhealthy and may lead to chronic conditions. Be smart!
  • Psychological reasons: if you put too much stress on food, you might develop eating disorders. Take it easy.
  • Lack of knowledge: some athletes simply don't know they must eat enough food. Arm yourself with knowledge!

Food consumption is a problem many athletes struggle with, and solutions are not always simple. They might require the assistance of professionals, be it doctors, nutritionists, or psychologists, but whatever it takes, you should prevent RED-S at all costs.

Nutritious Energy Bar During ExerciseAn energy bar is a great and efficient source of energy.


RED-S, relative energy deficiency in sport, is a condition of malnutrition that severely impairs your health and athletic performance.

The most common symptoms are loss of menstruation, loss of libido, lack of energy, and weight loss.

RED-S can cause a lot of damage to your health and do severe structural damage to your bones.

If you suspect you might be developing RED-S, consult a doctor.

The simplest way to avoid RED-S is by following a carbohydrate-rich diet.

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