Altitude Sickness?

by (1098) Updated January 08, 2012 at 3:44 PM Created January 07, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Hey all :) My husband and I are planning an awesome vacation to Denver this summer. I was reading up on Altitude Sickness just now and one of the suggestions to avoid it is to consume a high carb diet (WHAT?). It also suggests taking Gingko starting 5 days before. That, I think I can do, but the high carb diet? Does anyone have any experience with this and advice to go along with it? We are planning a fun, active vacation of fishing, hiking, etc. We don't want to be sickly the whole time. Ish...

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20762 · January 08, 2012 at 2:45 AM

Generally you don't need to worry about altitude sickness untl you're higher then 5,000 ft. For me it kicks in at 12,500 and my wife not to 14,000. Most of where you'll be hiking and other activities around Denver will probably be around 9,000 or so.

But you are right, you will want to ramp the carbs up a liitle and lower the fat. Your body becomes less efficient at metabolizing fat as you get less oxygen. That doesn't mean go crazy with the carbs and if you're already a fat burner then you don't need to go high carb, just higher than normal. And the higher (in elevation) you go the more you'll want to bias towards carbs.

I live at 8,000 and since I'm acclimated to that I normally eat what you'd call low carb. But when I do go up to 10 or 11,000 I start ramping the carbs up and I do better.

6332 · January 07, 2012 at 10:29 PM

I've stayed in high altitudes before and had symptoms. They lessened gradually and were gone within 2-3 days. I have to be at a considerably higher altitude than Denver before I experience any symptoms.

Stay well hydrated. I think that's about all the advice I have for you. Oh, and don't think about or expect it. If it happens, it happens, but you'll be fine.

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2913 · January 08, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Most common symptoms of altitude sickness (if you suffer) are migraines and dizziness -- for most people, as long as you take it easy, these will go away in half an hour or so. Give yourself time to acclimatize -- no triathlons in your first week :p ... Avoid alcohol and focus big on staying hydrated (plain ol' water will do more good than worrying about your carb/protein ratios)

The ginkgo is recommended because it's a blood thinner, and most other blood thinners or vasoconstrictors will work, including *gasp* plain old coffee.


The best solution for altitude sickness is coca tea -- available in Peru, but *cough* limited availability in the US ...


32175 · January 08, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Moved to Santa Fe (7000 ft.) from sea level six months ago.

High protein is recommended, not high carb, from everything I read. I was already eating Primal for 6 months and I had NO problems at all. I read about the Gingko & forgot to get any!

If you are flying in, give yourself a couple of low intensity days to adjust. Drink lots of water and keep fat & protein high.

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