Are There Alternatives to Taking Diamox at High Altitude

Our high altitude doctors and specialists recommend taking Diamox from the first day of your trip. 125mg in the morning and 125mg in the afternoon.  Remember, Diamox might not be recommended for you personally. It is always worth having a full health check up with your doctor. Your doctor will know your medical history best.  Importantly, your doctor can give you clear advice on traveling to a low oxygen environment.

Taking Diamox before going on a trek to altitude is important,  to make sure there are no major side effects.  Diamox is a diuretic so you do need to manage your hydration carefully.

Altitude Specialists

Ian Taylor Trekking has helped over 3,600 people reach Everest Base Camp at 5,364/ 17,500 feet. We run usually have 220+ people trekking in the Everest region annually. Our experience had led us to having 3 nights in Namche Bazaar before, moving higher.  With over a decade of high altitude experience we have developed unique itineraries with additional acclimatization.  This means a safer and more enjoyable experience for you.

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to low oxygen environments. Hydration is also key, we urinate out the bodies over production of alkaline that make us sick. We recommend 4 to 5 liters daily. The increased respiratory rate begins within the first few hours of arriving at altitudes as low as 5,000 feet. The lost carbon dioxide causes the body to become more alkaline. To compensate for the body’s increasing alkalinity, the kidneys excrete bicarbonate (an alkaline substance) in the urine. We pee out the alkaline if we hydrate properly.  If we don’t we get sick hence, less altitude sickness and in some cases none at all or tolerable. If hydration is taken seriously, most people will not need to take any medications at high altitudes. Hydrate hydrate hydrate along with, acclimatization being done correctly.

There are Some Alternatives

There are a few alternatives to taking Diamox undoubtedly, there are no substitute for acclimatization. With 20 years of experience definitely having more acclimatization offers you better safety and success. I can guarantee this. Always pick the itinerary with more days and more acclimatization.

1). The Most Important Piece of Advice

On our treks to Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu we spend more time acclimatizing. We have 3 nights at 3,440m/ 11,300 feet on our Everest treks.  It should be noted, an additional 24 hours of producing more red blood cells at altitude is important. We have these additional nights to help carry more oxygen around the body as we move higher. Not having enough acclimatization can make or break your trip.  On Kilimanjaro we have a minimum of 8 days on the mountain. This usually results in, getting 100% of our clients to the summit.

On our Inca Trail Treks we always have 2 nights in Cusco at 11,152 feet. We do this for your safety going onto any Inca trail trek in Peru. Extra acclimatization without a doubt,  is critical for a safe and successful experience going to high altitude.  Originally I tried to cut corners on acclimatization and failed miserably. When I climbed Everest to the top I added additional acclimatization.  As a result, I had no issues above 26,000 feet.  In summary, it is important to pick the right itinerary with more acclimatization.  If you would like further information  CONTACT US today.

2). Take Ibuprofen When Going to Altitude

Ibuprofen without a doubt, is tried and tested for high altitude trips. It is great for inflammation, headaches, pain, muscle pain at high altitude. Recent research suggests that Ibuprofen is proven to be very useful in low oxygen environments. The usual dose of ibuprofen is one to two 200 mg tablets. You can take Ibrprofen every four to six hours as needed. Do not take more than 1,000 mg of ibuprofen daily. Take ibuprofen with food or after meals if it seems to bother your stomach. Ibuprofen does get absorbed by the blood stream much faster than Diamox making it a quick acting drug.

3). Take Garlic Tablets

For 15 years I have always taken garlic supplements when I go on high altitude treks and climbs. Garlic does have natural properties that help you when suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Your blood is getting thicker at high altitude. Garlic thins out your blood so you can take one capsule per day while you are trekking. Consider having garlic soup regularly while on your trek or expedition.

4). Chew Coca Leaves

The Incan people and culture have many recipes for curing illness importantly, these recipes all come from plants. For centuries the Inca’s and Quechua people have been using coco leaves undoubtedly,  to aid them in low oxygen environments.  Our staff in Peru love chewing coco leaves and the research suggests it actually works.  I usually drink hot water with coco leaves every morning.  Getting in much needed hydration in addition, the homeopathic rewards offer you a more comfortable journey. You can buy coca leaves in the US and around the world. I have personal made over 10 treks on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and use coco leaves on all my Inca Trail Treks.

5). Drinking Beet Juice is a Good Idea

Research from an Norwegian University suggests. “It may be the extra boost your body needs to deliver enough oxygen to your tired muscles. Beet juice will keep you healthy when you are climbing a high mountain.” You should consider drinking beet juice before climbing a high-altitude mountain. Also consider beet juice right before a regular workout, this can improve your blood vessel function. This can deliver oxygen more quickly to your muscles. High altitudes have a powerful effect on the human body, due to thinner air and lower oxygen.  Above 11,500 feet you will experience  some altitude sickness, feeling fatigued, short of breath, and sometimes even nauseous.

Over time, our bodies will acclimate to high altitudes, but it can take days, weeks, or even months. If you want to climb a mountain and limit altitude sickness clearly, you need more time.  In addition to acclimatization, researchers are now suggesting to bring some beet juice with you.

They found it to provide health benefits in low oxygen environments.  At high altitudes, our bodies are less likely to produce enough Nitrate Oxide thus,  our bodies need plenty of oxygen. That’s where beet juice comes in; it’s packed with nitrate, a compound that the body can use in low oxygen environments.  No harm in trying it out.

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