New research published earlier this month has revealed exciting adaptions to high altitude, including improved tolerance to AMS, increased exercise performance and cognitive function.

Taking place in Mount Chacaltaya in Bolivia, at 5,260m (approx. 10.7 per cent oxygen), 21 subjects acclimatised for 16 days. Prior to ascent, the researchers put the subjects through a series of tests at sea level assessing arterial oxygen levels (the amount of oxygen in the blood); haemoglobin content of the blood; cognitive function (including reaction time, spatial awareness and memory) and exercise performance (ramp test on a stationary bike).

After 16 days at high altitude, the subjects were then taken back down to 1,525m (around 17.2 per cent oxygen). One group stayed at sea level for just seven days, with another for three weeks (21 days).

Re-assessment of the same tests revealed that even after 21 days, some of the benefits gained whilst at high altitude for 16 days previously were still evident: Elevated blood oxygen (reduced de-saturation); reduced susceptibility to AMS, retention of exercise performance and improvements in measures of cognitive performance.

This study presents an interesting development in the benefits of altitude. Even after descending to low altitude for three weeks, the physiological changes induced by acclimatisation remained when re-ascending.

Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE) with The Altitude Centre takes you up to 5,000m without having to travel to Bolivia to acclimatise. Book at our Trump Street chamber, or click here to find out about renting your own system to use at home.