Your Gut and Hydration Levels Take a Major Hit at High Elevations—Here’s What You Can Do To Get Ahead of It

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Have plans to get elevated this vacation season? No, I’m not talking astir recreational partaking, but alternatively spending clip successful recreational areas astatine precocious altitudes. In lawsuit you’re headed to mountains, parks, aliases different locales astatine importantly precocious elevations—typically 8,000 feet aliases much supra oversea level—there are a fewer things you should cognize earlier you spell to protect your health.

Ahead, spot what adverse symptoms tin originate astatine precocious altitudes; and much importantly, really you tin extremity them from putting a damper connected your recreation plans.

4 things to cognize earlier you recreation to precocious elevations

1. Altitude sickness is reasonably common

“Traveling to mountains pinch important altitudes tin make group susceptible to altitude sickness [due to] little aerial unit and aerial oxygen levels,” says Daniel Hermann, MD, an interventional cardiologist astatine Memorial Hermann successful Houston, Texas. If you reside location comparatively adjacent to oversea level, your likelihood of experiencing acute upland sickness (AMS) will mostly dangle connected nan altitude of your recreation spot. AMS affects astir 25 percent of group sleeping supra 8,000 feet, and galore arsenic 40 to 50 percent of those sleeping supra 10,000. (However, immoderate group struggle pinch AMS astatine elevations starting astatine 6,500 feet supra oversea level.)

2. Going excessively precocious excessively accelerated tin trigger symptoms

If possible, effort to slow and steadily summation your altitude arsenic you scheme your adventures. “Our bodies tin acclimate complete a play of days aliases weeks to these elevations by adjusting our biochemistry. But if we quickly move to those elevations, you tin create aesculapian problems, astir commonly altitude sickness,” Dr. Hermann shares. By gradually getting utilized to precocious elevations—perhaps by settling astatine a guidelines campy for a fewer days earlier venturing up to higher points and peaks—you tin trim your chances of emotion sick aliases retired of sorts.

According to Dr. Hermann, nan astir communal symptoms of altitude sickness see nausea, vomiting, and headache, which are “generally mild and usually resoluteness wrong a mates of days.” However, if you acquisition much terrible symptoms—including thorax tightness, aggravated trouble breathing, and equilibrium aliases coordination issues, he advises seeking contiguous aesculapian attention.

3. Your gut wellness tin return a hit

It’s communal to acquisition digestive irregularities for illustration bloating, constipation, and diarrhea while traveling. On apical of that, walking to precocious altitudes tin besides trigger intestinal obstruction dysfunction. Per a 2022 review successful nan American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, acute vulnerability to precocious altitudes whitethorn lead to accrued intestinal permeability and inflammation successful nan gut and elsewhere successful nan body. To adhd reproach to injury, acetazolamide—a medicine often prescribed to forestall and dainty altitude sickness—can origin GI distress.

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However, it’s not each punishment and gloom. The authors database definite dietary supplements that tin thief support your intestinal obstruction and greater gut wellness successful fighting shape. Better yet, you mightiness already return immoderate of them daily. These include:

  • Glutamine, which strengthens tight junctions and suppresses proinflammatory pathways
  • Bovine colostrum, which tin stave disconnected stress-induced intestinal injury
  • Curcumin (the progressive constituent successful turmeric), which whitethorn fortify nan intestinal obstruction by reducing oxidative stress
  • Probiotics, definite types of which (including Bifidobacterium species) tin heighten intestinal epithelial obstruction function

4. You’re much susceptible to dehydration

Lower aerial pressure, little oxygen, and much labored breathing astatine precocious elevations tin each contribute to dehydration and h2o loss. “Dehydration is simply a well-described trigger for altitude sickness,” Dr. Hermann adds, “so staying good hydrated is simply a awesome measurement to debar aliases mitigate this trouble.”

Some of nan champion ways to enactment hydrated while traveling—especially if you’re engaging successful beingness activities specified arsenic hikes and h2o sports, aliases moreover simply lounging astatine precocious altitudes—include:

  • Boosting your h2o intake earlier and during your trip
  • Snacking connected water-rich fruits and veggies (including watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, and berries)
  • Adding electrolyte packets to your water

While it’s adjuvant to adhd these into your souped up recreation hydration routine, it’s conscionable arsenic important to cognize what you should limit aliases avoid. “Alcohol and caffeine are known to beforehand dehydration,” Dr. Hermann reminds us. “For this reason, [they] should beryllium utilized sparingly while astatine precocious altitudes.” If you can’t discontinue either (it’s vacation, aft all), astatine slightest purpose to summation h2o intake much than accustomed and/or sip connected H2O successful betwixt servings of java and cocktails.

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to backmost up nan accusation we share. You tin spot america on your wellness journey.

  1. Zachary J. McKenna, Felipe Gorini Pereira, Trevor L. Gillum, Fabiano T. Amorim, Michael R. Deyhle, and Christine M. Mermier. “High-altitude exposures and intestinal obstruction dysfunction.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2022 322:3, R192-R203
  2. Hsieh, Chen-Yu et al. “Strengthening of nan intestinal epithelial tight junction by Bifidobacterium bifidum.” Physiological reports vol. 3,3 (2015): e12327. doi:10.14814/phy2.12327