Braum, B., Butterfield, G. E., Mawson, J. T., Muza, S., Dominick, B. S., Rock, P. B., & Moore, L. G. (1997). Women at altitude: Substrate oxidation during steady-state exercise at sea level and after acclimatization to 4300 meters elevation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(5), Supplement abstract 784.

After acclimatization to high altitude, weight-stable men use more carbohydrate as an exercise fuel compared with sea level. The ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone may cause women to acclimatize to high altitude differently than men, and variations in both hormones in the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle may alter the responses.

Eumenorrheic women (N = 16) were studied for 12 days in both the follicular and luteal phases at sea level and either phase at 4,300 m (Pike's Peak).

When compared to men, it was found that women oxidize less carbohydrate and more fat at 4,300 m relative to sea level.

Implication. This is one more study that shows consideration of the peculiar female response to exercise and altitude is warranted. Treating women with the same training and adaptation principles as men is an erroneous coaching strategy.

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