Jan 17, 2017Considering a Male Athlete Triad
Almost 25 years ago, the Female Athlete Triad was identified, and it’s become a well-known concept in sports medicine circles. A paper has proposed that a similar condition presenting with deficits in nutrition, reduction in sex hormones, and/or impaired bone health may also affect male athletes.
Titled “Parallels with the Female Athlete Triad in Male Athletes,” the article appeared in the February 2016 issue of the journal Sports Medicine. “Our review goes over the prevalence of each of the three symptoms in male athletes, what we already know, and where we recommend research be conducted so we can better understand how nutrition and sex hormones affect bone health and overall health in this population,” says the paper’s lead author, Adam Tenforde, MD, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Sports Medicine Physician at the Spaulding National Running Center in Cambridge, Mass.
A former professional runner and an All-American at Stanford University, Tenforde says his interest in the subject stemmed from trends he had seen in his practice. “There seemed to be a subset of male athletes I cared for, mostly endurance athletes like runners and cyclists, with a history of stress fractures,” he says. “In many cases, I questioned whether they were optimally fueling, and I often found they had low testosterone levels and low bone-mineral levels on their DEXA scans.”
When Tenforde delved further into the topic, he found his observations had significance. “Some studies show male endurance athletes are at a higher risk of having a reduced nutrition intake and not matching the demands of their sport,” he says. “We also reviewed literature that showed male endurance athletes tend to have lower sex hormones, including testosterone.”
Some studies show male endurance athletes are at a higher risk of having a reduced nutrition intake and not matching the demands of their sport. We also reviewed literature that showed male endurance athletes tend to have lower sex hormones