Weight loss at high altitude: pathophysiology and practical implications

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Abstract

Climbers at high altitude (>5000 m) lose weight. This impairs performance and safety, but the mechanisms are not entirely due to an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. There is some evidence of carbohydrate malabsorption, but there are also changes in fat metabolism and total body water. This paper considers the physiological control of weight and then discusses the changes in each parameter before addressing the practical implications.

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