How to Beat Altitude Sickness // Backpacker Magazine


Summit season is upon us. Follow these tips from altitude expert Dr. Pete Clark to stay healthy on your next high-elevation trip.

Eat smart

The high-altitude diet: more carbs, less fat. Why? It takes more oxygen to burn fat (for the energy produced) compared to carbs. There’s no magic ratio, as the most important thing is to get calories on board even if you lose your appetite.

Get out of your bag

In high, cold conditions, campers tend to spend a lot of time horizontal in a tent, but that works against acclimatization. When you’re lying down, your body increases blood flow to the heart, which in turn increases fluid loss through the kidneys—basically, you pee more. This can make you dehydrated. If weather forces you inside, make hot drinks, play cards, write in your journal—and get a normal amount of sleep.

Drink beet juice

A recent study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that nitrates in beetroot juice relax blood vessels, helping to prevent altitude illness. Add a packet of powdered Beet Boost ($30 for 10) to your water for a concentrated dose.

Note: This article was first published in the May Issue of Backpacker Magazine. See the full story online.

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