Episode 95

Female metabolism, nutrition and exercise with Prof Abbie Smith-Ryan


December 20th, 2022

44 mins 24 secs

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About this Episode

*The information in this podcast is intended for Healthcare Practitioners.

Nutrition and exercise recommendations are often generic and seldom consider sex differences, let alone the effect of fluctuating sex hormones that occur through ovulatory cycle or reproductive phases. Exercise physiologist and nutrition researcher, Professor Abbie Smith-Ryan, joins the podcast to shed light on the under-recognised effect of sex hormones on women’s metabolism, nutrition and exercise performance.

Listen in as Abbie discusses the influence oestrogen and progesterone have on female physiology, such as impacts mitochondrial function, muscle fibre type, bone structure and body composition. Zooming out, Abbie highlights a holistic view and discusses how perimenopausal women can often experience undesirable changes in body composition and performance which can be both a cause and effect of psychological distress during this life stage.

Abbie also explores the subtle but meaningful impact fluctuating sex hormones have on macronutrient metabolism and exercise performance in the ovulatory and luteal phase in cyclic women – all of which can have real world impact on the food women eat or how they feel and perform at different stages of their cycle.

Finally, in a ‘speed round’, Abbie briefly outlines the lesser-known benefits of several nutrients in the context of women’s health and performance.


Smith-Ryan AE, Cabre HE, Moore SR. Active Women Across the Lifespan: Nutritional Ingredients to Support Health and Wellness. Sports Med. 2022;52(Suppl 1):101-117. doi:10.1007/s40279-022-01755-3

Bailey RL, Dog TL, Smith-Ryan AE, et al. Sex Differences Across the Life Course: A Focus On Unique Nutritional and Health Considerations among Women. J Nutr. 2022;152(7):1597-1610. doi:10.1093/jn/nxac059

Wohlgemuth KJ, Arieta LR, Brewer GJ, Hoselton AL, Gould LM, Smith-Ryan AE. Sex differences and considerations for female specific nutritional strategies: a narrative review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021;18(1):27. Published 2021 Apr 1. doi:10.1186/s12970-021-00422-8