LIVING AT ALTITUDE DOES NOT PRODUCE CONSISTENT PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS
Winslow, R. M., Chapman, K. W., Gibson, C. C., Samaja, M., Monge, C. C., Goldwasser, E., Sherpa, M., Blume, F. D., & Santolaya, R. (1989). Different hematologic responses to hypoxia in Sherpas and Quecha Indianas. Journal of Applied Physiology, 66, 1561-1569.
Erythropoietic responses to the same altitude (3,700 m) in age-matched male natives of the Himalaya and Andes mountains were conducted to correct previous research errors.
The Chilean natives were significantly higher in hematocrit and erythropoietin concentrations than the Nepalese. The Sherpas were no different to western normal-altitude residents. The differences in levels could not be explained.
This study is evidence of the differences in response to altitude that exist in individuals as well as groups. For sporting purposes, one should not assume that "training at altitude" would result in beneficial responses. Understanding of responses should only occur after frequent and accurate measurements.
Implication. Living at altitude does not produce consistent hematolgic responses across individuals.
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