Higher Altitude - Greater Depression/Suicide

Discussion in 'Mental Issues' started by Pufas Shmoofas, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Light

    Light Member

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    Yes there are clearly befefits to high altitude, that's why I was surprised to find all the negative reports.
    So far I've learned 2 things that might help explain this:
    1) People with low Iron levels don't get the benefits of high altitude training,
    presumably because you can't make red blood cells without adequet Iron.
    That seems to be corrected easily with supplements.

    2) I found a review of blood gasses in altitude that seem important:
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2354/8c3f9eb98aab32ffcb7bac4301a581384767.pdf
    It says two things:
    A. "...hypoxia stimulates spleen and bone marrow leading to: (1) progressive increase of circulating hemoglobin over a period of several months
    (but the advantage of increased blood O2 capacity are set off by increased blood viscosity)"

    Think of what we know about viscosity - its assocciated with old age and Estrogen, while the healthy substances like Progesterone and Aspirin
    cause a thinner blood.
    I don't yet know why the blood becomes thicker at altitude but this seems like it's worth paying attentyion to.

    B. "...At metabolic level, although mitochondria and cellular oxidative machinery are slightly more plentiful in some animals native
    to altitude than in sea level controls, the importance of this adjustment in humans is questionable and general consensus is now a
    gainst this possibility
    [9].

    And the reference is to the article: Muscle structure and performance capacity of Himalayan Sherpas.
    Muscle structure and performance capacity of Himalayan Sherpas. - PubMed - NCBI

    So these are people who have lived in altitude for generations.
    I can only see the abstract:
    "The volume density of mitochondria was 3.96 +/- 0.54%, significantly (P less than 0.05) less than the values found for any other investigated group, including sedentary subjects at sea level (4.74 +/- 0.30%). It is concluded that Sherpas, like acclimatized Caucasian climbers, are characterized by 1) facilitated convective and diffusive muscle O2 flow conditions and 2) a higher maximal O2 consumption-to-mitochondrial volume ratio than lowlanders despite a reduced mitochondrial volume density."

    So they actually have fewer mitochondria, that just work alot better than sea level dwellers.

    But why?
    And what if you have a mitochondrial condition that prevents the functional improvement
    of the mitochondria, while you still have less of them?


    *** Edit - BTW, the same abstract also says that the Shepras have smaller muscle mass but their muscles get more blood supply
     
  2. Light

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    The seminal article about altitude training seems to be this one:

    “Living high-training low”: effect of moderate-altitude acclimatization with low-altitude training on performance
    https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.1997.83.1.102?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed


    "Numerous anecdotal reports since the 1940s have suggested that endurance athletes may achieve some benefit from altitude training for sea-level performance (3, 12, 15). However, incomplete characterization of athletic performance, lack of appropriate controls, and small subject numbers have complicated the interpretation of the majority of previous studies of altitude training (3, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18). When appropriate control groups have been included, living and training at altitude have not been proven to be advantageous compared with equivalent training at sea level (1)."

    They see the greatest benefits from living in altitude - or sleeping in altitude, but then going down to sea level to train, just like Floyd Landis.
    But constantly being in altitude is different, and i'm trying to understand why.
    Because i'm getting a hypoxic generator in a few weeks to sleep with, and i'm trying to figure out the best way to use it for health and energy.

    Another thing from another article I read a few days ago that I can't find now, they saw that at 2,500m they got better results than at around 2,000m,
    but that going up to 2,800m made things worst than at 2,500m, not better.

    And one more thing - the same researcherss who did "Living high-Training low" looked back at the data from their original study, and found that while some people did a lot better using this approach, some didn't improve much and some even got worse,
    and they can't explain why.
    I wanna know why.
    (They already knew to give them Iron before the study, so that wasn't it).

    There's more nuance to this than altitude=good, sea level=bad.
     
  3. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    They did not go down to Sea Level to train in the so called "Live High Train Low" group.

    "After the last time trial at sea level, athletes were then matched for gender, 5,000-m time trial performance, and training history into groups of three and then randomized (balanced randomization) to1) “high-low” [living at moderate altitude (2,500 m) and training at low altitude (1,200–1,400 m); n = 13; 9 men, 4 women; primary experimental group];2) “high-high” [living at moderate altitude (2,500 m) and training at moderate altitude (2,500–2,700 m); n = 13; 9 men, 4 women; typical altitude-training control group]; or3) “low-low” [living at sea level (150 m) and training at sea level (150 m);n = 13; 9 men, 4 women; sea-level control group]. Moderate-altitude living occurred in Deer Valley, Utah, with training on trails and roads in the Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges. Low-altitude training occurred nearby, an ∼30-min drive, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The sea-level training camp took place at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista (San Diego)"

    The so called "Low Altitude" training took place at an elevation of 4,226 feet.

    The lowest elevation in Deer Valley, Utah is 6,570 feet. It goes as high as 9,570. This is what the article refers to as "Moderate" elevation.
     
  4. Light

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    You're right, it's under 1,500m but not sea level.
    Do you suggest that that's high enough altitude to get some benefits?
    In the instructions for using the hypoxic generator (the machine used for altitude training) they suggest to start accclimatizationat 1,500m, because most people don't have any reaction to that.
    And in the study I couldn't find, they only got good results when the altitude was in the range of 2000-2500m, above that and under that was less than optimal.
     
  5. Lejeboca

    Lejeboca Member

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    I have heard Dr. Peat saying in an interview(cannot dig out now which one... maybe the one with Andrew about Altitude) that the benefits appear at the altitude of 1,000 feet already.
    Since then, I consider this number as "high altitude" :):.
     
  6. Light

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    Really?
    That's really low, I would never think of it as altitude,
    it would be really nice to start getting results so soon, and probably with fewer side effects.
    I'll try searching that quote.
     
  7. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    I would think so. If you google around, you will see a lot of people talking about how going from near sea level places to Salt Lake City impacted their running ability and such. And how they blazed through workouts just after returning. Of course, baseline is different for people. The altitude in Tucson is about 2400 feet, Phoenix 1000, and LA near zero. So residents of those cities visiting SLC will have different effects.

    Another thing I was trying to point out was that in the study, the "Live High Train Low" group was AT LEAST at 4200 feet elevation for the entire 4 weeks, while living and recovering at closer to 8,000 (likely spending most of their time at that elevation). There might be benefits to this approach, but even the 4200 feet is quite high. It could also have something to do with better training facilities in SLC as compared to the top of a mountain. There might be some unique benefits to cities like SLC and Albuquerque where you could have a set up like this and train rather easily, especially for an off season athlete.
     
  8. Mauritio

    Mauritio Member

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    When I've been to high altitude I also noticed depression /anhedonia ,which was very quickly alleviated by eating lots of salt . My friend always told me not to ,but I felt good doing that.

    I was doing it actually mainly because I was taking acetazolamide and a side effect of it is that you excrete more minerals...

    So if acetazolamide and high altitude have similar effects ,high altitude could just be a chronic salt/ magnesium / mineral deficiency.

    Makes sense ?
     
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