Narrative Review: Sex Differences and Considerations for Female Nutritional Recommendations

For this week’s article we will be looking at a fantastic review by Wohlgemuth et al. (2021) where the impact of sex-specific nutritional needs with regards to exercise performance was explored in-depth.

The review addresses physiological sex differences, aerobic exercise, strength, power, fatiguability, thermoregulation, body composition amongst other elements.

Calories and body composition are always a significant talking point in current day nutrition. The review found that it may actually be beneficial to increase caloric intake throughout certain phases of the menstrual cycle. Performance and recovery were also seen to be further optimized by addressing nutrient timing of carbs, proteins and fats.

Wohlgemuth et al. (2021) go deeper and more specific. Recommendations are given for a 20-year-old, female, soccer (football- my Englishness has to pipe-up) player. The figure and overview are a wonderful example of what it is like to analyse a client’s issues (muscle soreness and fatigue) whilst optimizing their ultimate goal (enhanced performance in the form of endurance and sprint speed) and putting that plan into action. This can be viewed on pages 9-10 of the review.

Supplementation (one of many modules on our ANS) is also explored. This a topic I also conducted a critical review of during my undergraduate degree, specifically on creatine monohydrate. This particular narrative review further backs the organic compound if athletic performance is desired. Amongst other benefits (see page 13), creatine monohydrate has been shown to be beneficial during menses, pregnancy and post-partum. As woman age, creatine has also been found to positively contribute towards mental health, bone health and physical function. This is a quality review and one I’d recommend having a read of if you’re interested in studying nutrition.

If you’re interested in learning more on sex specific nutritional requirements and optimisation, I’d recommend getting involved with our Applied Nutrition Course. For more research articles like this, please go have a look at the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (

You can find the full review in PDF form here:


Joshua Norrie, MSc ANutr