Karlsen, T., Resaland, G. K., Ri-Li, G., Sivieri, M., Witowski, S., Yates, R., Levine, B. D., & Stray-Gundersen, J. (2001). EPO response to 24 hrs of artificial hypobaric hypoxia predicts EPO response to natural altitude. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(5), Supplement abstract 556.

This study investigated the level of adaptation to simulated altitudes in an altitude chamber and related it to actual adaptation rates at natural altitudes. Ss (M = 30; F = 16) experienced simulations of 1780, 2085, 2454, and 2805 m, for 24 hours, each one week apart. Then four groups were formed, each going to experience natural adaptation at one of the four altitudes. Ss were permitted a 30-40 minute easy run, and/or light activities in the natural setting. EPO was determined for non-altitude conditions.

EPO increased significantly at altitude in both artificial and natural environments. The level of increase was significantly more at the two highest altitudes than the two lowest in the chamber. At natural altitudes, the three highest altitudes demonstrated greater responses than the lowest altitude. Generally, the natural altitude condition produced larger EPO responses than the chamber. A moderate significant correlation was found between the magnitude of the EPO response in each altitude condition except at 1780 m.

Individual differences were very marked. Some responded little in each condition, others little in one condition, and a few not at all. Generally, how an individual responds to high simulated altitudes reflects EPO reactions to similar naturally occurring altitudes.

Implication. EPO responses are greatest in naturally occurring high altitudes. However, the level of response in an environmental chamber can be used as an indication of how an athlete will respond to altitude in this factor.

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