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Altitude & Potassium

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've always thought I was a little more sensitive to altitude than the average flat-lander. Recently I've had more than one low energy day plus a few more aches and cramps than usual. I think I stay hydrated even to the point where I think I'm over doing it since I need to get up during the night several times. That's not a problem I have at home at an elevation of 250 feet so either I'm drinking too much or I'm not retaining the fluid I'm drinking. I drink liquids in the morning, noon and night. I eat fruit, including a banana a day while skiing. I have a fairly normal North American diet but with less red meat than average. I drink a significant amount of water and juice plus diet Coke, wine and sometimes a Martini. I know all of this isn't training table food but I list it so you know what I'm drinking.

My question is does anyone know of a connection between altitude and potassium deficiency, or anything else that might sap my energy? My symptoms are similar to a potassium shortage but potassium supplements call for one to three tablets a day and the tablets have only 3% MDA. Doesn't sound like supplements would help much to me but I'll try them on my next trip. I know it might be any one of a million things but I thought some of you folks with more experience in the mountains might have an idea of what I should try. My flat-lander physician says everything is OK when he's checked me but of course he's not there when I'm in the mountains. Anybody with any thoughts on what I should try?

post #2 of 5

I used to get cramps in weird places, toes, fingers, and chin.


I tried bananas, gatorade, quinine, water, vitamins, and supplements.


The only thing that prevents them for me is beer.  If I have a Newcastle at lunch, I never get them anymore!  Bonus!  Medicinal beer - who knew?

post #3 of 5

I am not aware of any connection between altitude and potassium deficiency. Low energy and fatigue is very common for the first few days at altitude and the cause is not well understood. 

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks dp.

I'm a flatlander vacation skier with little time for acclimation. I used Diamox successfully 20 years ago when I skied mostly around Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. My symptoms then were headache and nausea. Every morning I felt like I had a hangover. We decided to move to lower elevation resorts and avoid medication and that worked for the past two decades.

Now I ski mostly at Big Sky I have not noticed the headache problem. I suspect that what manifested itself 20 years ago as headache is now noticed more as fatigue. Since the fatigue set in on the second or third ski day I did not relate it to AMS but after rereading the earlier posts I see it's not unusual for the symptoms to present a day or two into the trip. I think I'll try the Diamox again next winter.

It's a shame I can't mix Diamox with a Newcastle from lp! I guess I'll have to stick with my Chardonnay.

post #5 of 5

I understand that WTFH is working on a ginkgo enhanced Guinness.......

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