or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Chlorophyll for altitude?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Heard this is a possible aid to help boost red blood cells. Any info?
post #2 of 31
Hmmm, that's an interesting idea, though I'm not sure how it would work, and I'll explain my ignorance below . Where'd you hear this, Finndog? Do you have a link or source? I'm curious!

Chlorophyll is used in plants primarily as a light-absorption molecule in the photosynthesis process. Most chlorophyll molecules absorb well in the blue-light wavelength and the red-light wavelength. (This is why most leaves appear green, they're reflecting all of those wavelengths. There's another type of chlorophyll that absorbs wavelengths slightly tighter on the spectrum, and those are the ones that look red/magenta).

In photosystems in plants, chlorophyll undergoes a redox reaction and adds an electron to the photosynthesis reaction. It wouldn't do that in the human body, however.

The molecule itself looks to me like a carbohydrate chain with a magnesium ion stuck in one end with a ring around it. It's hydrophobic, so in order to be dissolved it has to be mixed in oil. Chefs will sometimes use it to color their food, like in pasta or absinthe. I don't know how it could help increase your red blood cell count, though.

What may help you would be iron, Vitamin B, and aerobic exercise. (NB: Interval traning will apparently give you very similar cardiovascular results as standard endurance training will. Here's an article about ongoing research on the topic). You could also try to be in a high altitude area as much as possible, so that your body begins to acclimatize and produces more RBCs.

I am no doctor, but I'm not sure what, except for oxygen deficiency, stimulates growth of RBCs. Getting plenty of iron and Vitamin B in your diet will help your body produce the RBCs, but will not stimulate the actual growth. As far as I can tell, the body will simply produce as many RBCs as it *needs* to, which could be stimulated by exercise or percent oxygen in the atmosphere (i.e., altitude). I'd love to hear if there are methods by which the body can be [naturally] coaxed into producing more RBCs, though! Getting rid of altitude sickness would be a great thing for skiers who don't have the fortune of living in high-altitude areas!
post #3 of 31
 As far as I know, this will only work if you are a vegetable. I have not seen anything in the altitude medicine literature that suggests this would be effective. The 2 major stimuli to producing more RBCs are hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and anemia. Both work via EPO (not the kind you get from your team doctor in the Tour de France, the kind your kidneys make! Although the exogenous recombinant kind does work, too.). It is important to be sure that your diet contains enough iron, of course, as that is necessary as well. Reducedfatoreo is absolutely correct about intervals- it appears to be the most efficient way to increase endurance, which will help you exercise at altitude, but will not enhance acclimitazation, however.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
http://www.herbsetc.com/Topics/PDF/chloro_bro_07.pdf

the product is called Chloroxygen and is available under various names. I can find no Clinical scientific studies but there are many who claim it's efficacy. It was suggested for altitude.  I agree about intervals! I do a lot of plyo stuff already and plan to "step" it up.... Thanks to all.   ps- I e-mailed the folks at high altitude medicine for comment
http://www.high-altitude-medicine.com/



Edited by Finndog - 6/30/2009 at 01:05 pm GMT
post #5 of 31
Can't vouch for other chlorophyll products, but I swear by CHLOROXYGEN. 

It was recommended by the mogul clinic doctor at Taos sevearl years ago and I've been taking it for high altitude ski trips ever since, including trips to Chile. You start it several days before you leave and continue on while you're skiing.  I also recommended it to a group of friends who took it before and during a trip to Machu Picchu.  The ones who didn't use it complained of altitude sickness.  The ones who took Chloroxygen didn't.   Nope, I don't work for the company!      P.S. Have never tried the capsules, only the drops. 
post #6 of 31
While I won't be the one to discredit them just yet, I did find some "false" science in ChlorOxygen's brochure, linked to above by Finndog.
Quote:
Using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, chlorophyll starts the process of oxygen production

ehhhhhhhh, that's stretching it a bit. Chlorophyll doesn't "use" water or carbon dioxide. But yes, sunlight does provide the energy whereby chlorophyll can contribute a free electron to the photosynthesis systems. The water and carbon dioxide come into play way down the electron transport chain...

Quote:
Chlorophyll's chemical structure is almost identical to hemoglobin.

Nope. Here's a picture of the chemical structure of chlorophyll a (left), next to a picture of a heme group (right), part of a hemoglobin molecule:



Ok, sure, they both have a nitrogen ring that helps bond an ion (magnesium or iron), so in those drawings, the reaction sites sort of look similar, right? Unfortunately for ChlorOxygen, these two rings have vastly different properties. The ions are bound in different ways, which causes different things to happen to each molecule. One might also want to note that hemoglobin must come in the form of a protein containing 4 subunits with a heme group each (those green things), in order to work and actually bond to oxygen:

That's hint one that plants are older than animals. For the most part, waaay less complicated. Plants don't need a complex protein that folds and unfolds to supply themselves with an energy source. Chlorophyll simply needs light waves and other chlorophyll molecules around it to reduce and transfer electrons. Find a way to oxidize the chlorophyll and return that electron, and you've got a nice electron chain going on that can provide you with some sweet power. (Think of completing a circuit with positive and negative nodes of a battery). 


The brochure also claims that chlorophyll is "intimately" involved with oxygen, so therefore it must  be similar to hemoglobin, right? Sure, one molecule helps carry oxygen, while the other, via a series of intermediary steps, will oxidize water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Those intermediary steps mean that chlorophyll isn't as "intimately" involved with oxygen as the ChlorOxygen brochure would have you believe. Without the rest of the photosynthesis processes, the Photosystems, etc., it's hard to see how chlorophyll can directly aid in increasing oxygen flow in your blood.

And although this is a small, nitpicky point, notice how the brochure encourages you to take iron supplements along with ChlorOxygen. Taking iron supplements will ensure that the RBCs you do have are running at full capacity, but it doesn't sound like taking ChlroOxygen will stimulate the production of more RBCs, which is what you need to overcome altitude sickness (unless you exercise and are in good cardio health).

In ChlorOxygen's defense, it's not toxic at all, and certainly not harmful. As the brochure states, the worst that will happen is you get dark green stools. Same thing happens from eating loads of spinach! (Which, incidentally, contains a nice amount of iron ). And honestly, if ChlorOxygen provides a working placebo effect against altitude sickness, then by all means, go for it! 

To me, though, their "science" seems fudged. I'd rather see some blind trials and an explanation of the reaction between chlorophyll and hemoglobin that they claim takes place. I can't help it, I'm a science geek .
post #7 of 31
Reducedfatoreo,
Good post.  I hate junk science. We need more science geeks.
post #8 of 31
Yet, folks claim it really works.  It is amazing what faith in a product will do for performance.  Look at people that ski very well on skis that aren't designed for the conditions they are using them in.  They believe in the ski and their ability and make it work in spite of science telling them a thinner/fatter stiffer/softer ski would perform better for them there. 
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Nicely done! I found some similar articles discussing the falsehood in the similarities in the two molecules as well!  I do find it intersting about the suggestion of taking iron, its kind of like, "cotton candy will increase blood oxygen counts whe used with Iron, Vitamin C and good nutrition....  I did learn you should be taking Vitamin C as it helps with Iron absorbtion.   You get a star for your refridgerator door!
post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Yet, folks claim it really works.  It is amazing what faith in a product will do for performance.  Look at people that ski very well on skis that aren't designed for the conditions they are using them in.  They believe in the ski and their ability and make it work in spite of science telling them a thinner/fatter stiffer/softer ski would perform better for them there. 
 

Oh now your just looking for a fight!  :)  No, really, skills first, but no doubt you will have to pry my fat soft skis from from my cold, stiff feet.... :) 
post #11 of 31
Reality is shaped by the power of the mind.  Of course, if you have a weak mind, that's just crazy talk.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Spoon Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.


and....

Be the ball Danny......
post #13 of 31
Interval training definitely works.  Years ago, I was trying to break my own time in an upcoming 10K, so I trained with a classmate who had been an olympics contender.  We did some long distances, but the toughest drill he made me do (3X/week) was go to a track and do: 110 yds full sprint, then 110 yds jog, then 110 sprint, etc., etc. ad nauseum (literally).  Darn near killed me, but I did get a PR in that race.  I tried the drill again just this Spring.  I can do five miles non-interval (moderate pace) without breaking a sweat, but I did the 110/110 drill for just six laps (1.5 miles), and it still darn near killed me!

Back to drugs (the main topic of the thread): that article on interval training mentioned that one of the benefits was an increase in cellular mitochondria.  I had heard that CoQ10 may help build the mitos.  Does anyone know whether taking that would help with altitude adjustment?
  
post #14 of 31

Sweet, is my star in the mail? I need more magnets on the fridge anway! 

This WikiHow does a pretty good job of summarizing everything I've been reading about how to prevent altitude sickness. Tip # 5 might be especially interesting to you, Finndog!


Quote:

Accelerate the acclimatization process if necessary. If there is not enough time to follow the golden rule, such as if you're flying to a destination that is several hundred metres (or thousand feet) above your departure site, there are ways to speed up acclimatization and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness once you're there.

 
  • Simulated altitude equipment that produce hypoxic (reduced oxygen) air. Portable hyperbaric chambers are especially useful if inclement weather or other factors could make the climb or drive down to base camp impossible.[3]
  • Acetazolamide, medication sold under the trade name Diamox[4] Since it causes increased urination, drink sufficient fluids and do not consume alcohol while taking this drug.[3] This is likely to cut the recovery time in half.[2]
  • Coca leaves, used by indigenous cultures of the South American Andes mountain range for centuries. However these are illegal in several countries [such as the U.S.]
  • Ginkgo Biloba, an inexpensive herbal supplement used for mental clarity and increased circulation, has been proven to speed acclimatization to altitude and lessen the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness in several clinical and on-location studies, without incurring any of the side effects of Diamox. Recommended dosage is 120mg per day, two weeks before arriving at altitude, then 120mg per day while at altitude.
  • Oxygen enrichment in climate-controlled rooms (offered by some hotels)
  • Gamow bag, a portable plastic pressure bag inflated with a foot pump that can reduce the effective altitude by as much as 1,500 meters (5,000 feet)

Acetozolamide is recommended by the CDC for treating altitude sickness. Tylenol can also help if you only have mild symptoms, but make sure you drink loads of water and eat foods rich in carbohydrates (many, light meals, though, no heavy ones!) I have no idea if the coca is true, but if you make it to South America, do let us know! Gingko may only be offering placebo effects, but I'd rather take that over chlorophyll, since it has other positive properties as well.

As disappointed as I was to read this, it seems as though exercising cannot predictably prevent altitude sickness. That shouldn't stop you, though, because once you've acclimatized you'll be wanting to ski hard without getting winded!

What will also work to prevent altitude sickness: 
  • Climb high, sleep low. Once you're above 10,000 feet, no matter how far you climb in a day, you should climb back down so that you are sleeping in increments of 1,000ft.
  • Hike in to a high elevation rather than flying in, if possible. Over half of the altitude sickness cases on Mt. Everest climbs come from people who flew in by helicopter rather than hiking in from the base villages.

And also, don't worry about it too much! Gingko may have as much effect on altitude sickness as a placebo, but hey, lots of people swear that gingko also has other awesome properties, so no harm in trying, right? Just try to sleep at a high-ish elevation to acclimatize overnight before you go to a high mountain, stay hydrated, and eat lots of small, carbohydrate-rich meals a day. Then just go enjoy your high-altitude skiing, you lucky dog!
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
THX bro' for all your hard work!  Much appreciated, really. I have used Ginkgo with decent results. I sleep at Steamboat often, we are right at 7K with no issues. I have slept in Breck and Copper, I guess those are about 9300-9500, with moderate affects, pretty bad headache, racing pulse and sleeping issues. The 1st night is alwasy the issue, the 2nd is improved and so on. I am only concerned as this trip is a big one one for me and i don't want to be all F'd up the fist couple of days. BTW- A gamow bag cost about 2K!

I think I will just take the diamox and call it a day. No need to get all worked up over what I really can't control.

Oh, magnet's in the mail but I asked your mom to give you a kiss on the forehead and an extra oreo for desert
post #16 of 31
Yeah, interval training definitely is one of my favorite (and simultaneously, hated) ways to train. My spring to the subway station each day actually does something! 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

Back to drugs (the main topic of the thread): that article on interval training mentioned that one of the benefits was an increase in cellular mitochondria.  I had heard that CoQ10 may help build the mitos.  Does anyone know whether taking that would help with altitude adjustment? 
 

Based on what I read at the high-altitude-medicine.com site Finndog posted above, being fit doesn't necessarily help you acclimatize faster, but it *will* help you in working harder and not getting tired once you *are* acclimatized. The issue with what you're asking about is what mitochondria actually do. They're like little energy factories for cells, churning out ATP (gasoline for cellular processes) like it's nobody's business.

[Side note: mitochondria are to animal cells what chloroplasts–which contain lots and lots of chlorophyll molecules–are to plant cells. Each are cellular organelles (subunits) that provide the cell in question with ATP, though their methods are quite different. Both use an electron transport chain to eventually make ATP, but animal cells end up *using* oxygen to break apart glucose and other nutrients to create chemical energy, while plant cells end up *creating* oxygen and store their chemical energy in glucose molecules.]

Mitochondria require oxygen to complete their reactions and create ATP. Even if you have an increased amount of mitochondria, if you move to a higher elevation there will be less oxygen in the air. Until you take a night or so to acclimatize, your body still thinks there's a certain percentage of oxygen in the air, and so has a number of RBCs in your blood stream that reflects that percentage. Acclimatization happens pretty quickly, though, and once you have more RBCs to counter-balance the drop in atmospheric oxygen, your mitochondria will once again be able to fire on all cylinders and provide you with all that ATP you need to ski/bike/hike that mountain.

Looks like the only way to stimulate growth of RBCs is to trick the body into thinking there's less oxygen in the air than there actually is, eh? Oh well, that just means I'll have to go live somewhere high!
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I think I will just take the diamox and call it a day. No need to get all worked up over what I really can't control.

Oh, magnet's in the mail but I asked your mom to give you a kiss on the forehead and an extra oreo for desert
SWEET! I'll be seeing her this weekend for July 4th anyway, so I'll ask for it then .

Yeah, sounds like you've got the same moderate symptoms 1 out of every 4 people get in high altitudes. Get the Diamox from your doc and then just do everything as you normally would. Take it easy on the first day and get a bunch of sleep. Eat some red meat or spinach so you've got that iron ready to be used once your body has finished producing all the RBCs it needs, and then go rip it!

Where's your trip to, BTW? Any possibiliby of you getting to the place a bit early, or hitting up a high-altitude area a week before you head out?

Hmm, if the Gamow bag is that ridiculously expensive, what about getting a small canister of oxygen? Take a few breaths every time you get dizzy? Dunno about taking it on the plane, but maybe you can get some there, especially if it's a place where mountaineers like to go!
post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post


SWEET! I'll be seeing her this weekend for July 4th anyway, so I'll ask for it then .

Yeah, sounds like you've got the same moderate symptoms 1 out of every 4 people get in high altitudes. Get the Diamox from your doc and then just do everything as you normally would. Take it easy on the first day and get a bunch of sleep. Eat some red meat or spinach so you've got that iron ready to be used once your body has finished producing all the RBCs it needs, and then go rip it!

Where's your trip to, BTW? Any possibiliby of you getting to the place a bit early, or hitting up a high-altitude area a week before you head out?

Hmm, if the Gamow bag is that ridiculously expensive, what about getting a small canister of oxygen? Take a few breaths every time you get dizzy? Dunno about taking it on the plane, but maybe you can get some there, especially if it's a place where mountaineers like to go!

 

Heading to valle Nevado, good advice, no chance to get in early. In addtion to a big-ass steak and some steamed spinach(you don't eat raw veggies there) don't forget a good dose of Vitamin-C, which helps with iron absorption. All will be fine and this kind of banter is a good thing. It would be interesting teo see how you could trick the body into thinking it needs more O2. that does seem to be the solution.
post #19 of 31
This is pretty tried and true:


Seriously though.  I'll never forget my first trip skiing out west.  I packed the car and left Oklahoma early on a Friday morning.  Checked in to a motel in Golden, slept then drove to Breckenridge early Saturday morning.  I was breathless both literally and figuratively while walking up the stairs between the parking lot and the resort.  Luckily, I guess because I was in decent shape at age 18, I recovered within a few minutes and by lunch time altitude wasn't a factor at all.  I try not to think how bad it might be next time i head up past 6 K.  I do fine at 5,500.  Finn, you practically live there in the winter.  Maybe you should check with a doctor and see if there isn't something else making it hard for you to acclimate??
post #20 of 31
Thread Starter 

There is no medical issue, you don't acclimate to 9k, live back at sea level for a month and then instantly reacclimatize to 9K. It's only above about 9000 and for the first 24-36 hours, this is normal. Steamboat is 7k, and I have no issues.

post #21 of 31
RFO -- From your explanation, it sounds like using an oxygen cannister would just postpone the body's increase in RBCs.  Yes?

 
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

RFO -- From your explanation, it sounds like using an oxygen cannister would just postpone the body's increase in RBCs.  Yes?

 

Using Oxygen just helps to provide O2 to the blood stream, it may in some way retard or prolong the addtion of RBC's which help to carry more O2, but the desired result would be the same; more O2 in the blood stream.
post #23 of 31
Thread Starter 
I just picked up my Diamox, cipro and 5mg Ambien's for the plane.... I also got a Hep-A vaccine..
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

RFO -- From your explanation, it sounds like using an oxygen cannister would just postpone the body's increase in RBCs.  Yes?

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post



Using Oxygen just helps to provide O2 to the blood stream, it may in some way retard or prolong the addtion of RBC's which help to carry more O2, but the desired result would be the same; more O2 in the blood stream.

Yah, what Finndog said. I'd just add that an oxygen supplement should probably only used sporadically if you're having *mild* symptoms. It'll help you feel better in the moment, fall asleep, etc. It seems as though most of the body's acclimatization occurs fastest while one is asleep, so as long as you're not wearing an oxygen mask while sleeping, it's probably fine to use for short bursts here and there. Good point, though!
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I just picked up my Diamox, cipro and 5mg Ambien's for the plane.... I also got a Hep-A vaccine..

Don't forget the camera. Sounds like we're in for a dope summer stoke
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
Helmet cam is ready to go, I'm still a gaper so don't hang your summer stoke on this trip! :)  thanks!
post #27 of 31
Thread Starter 
in the field test on Chloroyxgen:

OK, I took the stuff for the past of of weeks. I arrived at Steamboat yesterday and drove up fro DIA, stopping in Dillon for a 45 minutes ( about 9K). Typically, I can feel the altitude a bit, a little harder to breathe and some increased heartbeat. Gotta admit haven't felt any altitude effects at all. None, we sleep here at 7k, usually the first night is pretty good, some minor effects, a little problem with sleeping but nothing really, Last night I slept very soundly. no symptoms at all.  Maybe it's because I eat better now? Better condition?  Maybe its the Chloroxygen.....
post #28 of 31
That's great to hear!

Hey, if it works for you, then that's all you need. Placebos work 50% of the time, and if this stuff is helping you get to high altitudes, then that's awesome!
post #29 of 31
Oh, ye of little faith.  I told you the stuff works.  You owe me an apology -- or at least a pisco sour!
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
Can't say it was the chloroxygen for sure but it seems to definitely give you a boost of sorts. I actaully ran into some guys here in SB who are long distance guys and had just ran the 8 mile Howelson hile run (think vertical climb) they use it regularly. THey aslo said it gave them a boost helped with endurance. I am taking the diamox in Chile for sure. Huge dfifference in felt altitude from 7k to 9.5K!
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post

That's great to hear!

Hey, if it works for you, then that's all you need. Placebos work 50% of the time, and if this stuff is helping you get to high altitudes, then that's awesome!
 
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: