Hormone Health for Athletes

If you’re an athlete, your hormone levels are crucial to your performance and overall health! Imbalances in your hormone levels can negatively impact your recovery, short- and long-term performance, and mental health. Young athletes in a developmental growing phase should focus special attention on ensuring their hormone levels are optimal, especially before competing at the next level. And yes – this applies to both male and female athletes! 

 

Wondering about your hormone health? Here are the 5 labs we recommend getting tested. 

  1. Vitamin D
  2. Thyroid Hormones T3 & T4
  3. Folate
  4. Progesterone
  5. Lipid Panel 

 

Are you at risk? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I skip meals? 
  2. Am I eating red meat? 
  3. Do you have a very high training volume? 
  4. Do I follow a vegan diet? 
  5. Are you an endurance athlete? 

 

Worried you have hormonal imbalances? Here are 5 common symptoms:

  1. Low energy – not only in training, but during daily life activities
  2. Hair thinning and/or falling out. You might see more hair falling out in the shower or extra hair in your brush; thinning hair is usually most obvious on the arms and head.  
  3. Poor sleep quality & inability to stay asleep
  4. Poor recovery. This could present as unusual fatigue, extreme soreness, or persistent soreness.  
  5. Loss of period (women, see amenorrhea blog post) or symptoms of low testosterone (men)

 

Consequences of hormonal imbalances:

  1. Decrease in bone mineral density → increased risk of injury & stress fractures
  2. Continued loss of menses (women) or prolonged low testosterone (men)
  3. Impaired fertility 
  4. Cognitive deficits & mental health issues. These could present as inability to concentrate in class or during conversations with friends, as well as depressive symptoms. 
  5. Impaired recovery and poor performance

 

REMEMBER: the solution to hormonal imbalances is NOT always supplementation or a medical remedy. Work with a Registered Dietitian to implement a food-first approach before relying on supplements. Female athletes, NEVER use birth control as a means of regaining your period – this does NOT fix the underlying issues!!

 

Athletes – take charge of your health today! Your hormone health is KEY in determining your overall athletic performance, so don’t wait!

 

 

 

 


Sophia Williams, MS, RD

The Nutrition with Wendi team utilizes evidence-based science to tailor nutrition programs for athletes to optimize performance, minimize health risks, and enhance recovery from training while focusing on injury prevention. We partner with parents, athletes, health professionals, and individuals and offer elite nutrition and health guidance for optimal athletic performance, injury, and disease reduction.  We provide virtual sports nutrition coaching, education, and presentations virtually in Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Arizona, and Michigan. Our primary office is based in Nashville, Tennesse where we serve the greater Brentwood, Franklin, and Green Hills communities.  Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for more nutrition information. Services booking here to consult with Wendi for a team talk or QA session.