Supplementing altitude training
Training high is hard. During hard training periods, it is common to supplement with nutrients, vitamins or minerals that can’t be obtained through diet. This could be in the form of drinks, gels or tablets, with various nutritional contents dependent on the time of supplementation and training period. However, what is the most suitable supplement for training intensely and regularly at altitude?
The Altitude Centre have created a supplement, ALTI-VIT, for those who are soon to be travelling to high altitude. This vitamin is intended to support oxygen uptake, energy production, immune function and sleep quality which should be taken prior to and during a trip. Naturally, these factors are important for everyday life and not just for mountain treks – so we recommend this vitamin for day-to-day supplementation. A study carried out at Kingston University showed that 24 hour ALTI-VIT supplementation increased metabolic efficiency (larger contribution of fat over carbohydrate utilisation) and decreased symptoms of acute mountain sickness during a 10 mile time trial in hypoxia (15% O2) compared to a placebo.
When taking in to account other research, a number of studies have looked into the use of antioxidant supplements for improving performance. This is primarily due to the potential of increasing blood flow subsequently providing better muscle oxygenation, which is typically limited when at altitude. A recent study found that consuming blackcurrant extract for seven days prior to a 10 mile time trial in hypoxic (15% O2) and normoxic conditions had no benefit on performance in either condition. Further, there were no changes in the metabolic responses across the time trial regardless of condition. Perhaps the dose of blackcurrant extract used in the current study was not optimised for the cyclists who completed the time trials, which may explain why no differences were found between environmental conditions.
Overall, it seems that ALTI-VIT may be a viable supplement to support adventures to altitude, performance and everyday life! Of course more research is warranted, but the most important question is how much it will benefit you as an individual…find out now by purchasing a pot here.
Youngman et al. (2013) – https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/17/e4.15
Willems et al. (2019) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30884866