European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 625–635

Disturbed eating at high altitude: influence of food preferences, acute mountain sickness and satiation hormones

Authors

    • Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical NutritionUniversity Hospital Zurich
    • Human Nutrition LaboratoryETH Zurich
  • Annina Erb
    • Human Nutrition LaboratoryETH Zurich
  • Kerstin Spliethoff
    • Institute of Veterinary PhysiologyVetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
  • Daniela Meier
    • Institute of Veterinary PhysiologyVetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich
  • Oliver Götze
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
    • Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity Hospital Zurich
  • Heiko Frühauf
    • Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity Hospital Zurich
  • Mark Fox
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
    • Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity Hospital Zurich
    • NIHR Biomedical Research UnitNottingham Digestive Diseases Centre
  • Graham S. Finlayson
    • Biopsychology Group, Institute of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and HealthUniversity of Leeds
  • Max Gassmann
    • Institute of Veterinary PhysiologyVetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
    • Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH)
  • Kaspar Berneis
    • Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical NutritionUniversity Hospital Zurich
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
  • Marco Maggiorini
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
    • Pulmonary DivisionUniversity Hospital Zurich
  • Wolfgang Langhans
    • Physiology and Behavior LaboratoryETH Zurich
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
  • Thomas A. Lutz
    • Institute of Veterinary PhysiologyVetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich
    • Centre for Integrative Human Physiology
Original Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s00394-012-0366-9

Cite this article as:
Aeberli, I., Erb, A., Spliethoff, K. et al. Eur J Nutr (2013) 52: 625. doi:10.1007/s00394-012-0366-9

Abstract

Purpose

Hypoxia has been shown to reduce energy intake and lead to weight loss, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. The aim was therefore to assess changes in eating after rapid ascent to 4,559 m and to investigate to what extent hypoxia, acute mountain sickness (AMS), food preferences and satiation hormones influence eating behavior.

Methods

Participants (n = 23) were studied at near sea level (Zurich (ZH), 446 m) and on two days after rapid ascent to Capanna Margherita (MG) at 4,559 m (MG2 and MG4). Changes in appetite, food preferences and energy intake in an ad libitum meal were assessed. Plasma concentrations of cholecystokinin, peptide tyrosine–tyrosine, gastrin, glucagon and amylin were measured. Peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) was monitored, and AMS assessed using the Lake Louis score.

Results

Energy intake from the ad libitum meal was reduced on MG2 compared to ZH (643 ± 308 vs. 952 ± 458 kcal, p = 0.001), but was similar to ZH on MG4 (890 ± 298 kcal). Energy intake on all test days was correlated with hunger/satiety scores prior to the meal and AMS scores on MG2 but not with SpO2 on any of the 3 days. Liking for high-fat foods before a meal predicted subsequent energy intake on all days. None of the satiation hormones showed significant differences between the 3 days.

Conclusion

Reduced energy intake after rapid ascent to high altitude is associated with AMS severity. This effect was not directly associated with hypoxia or changes in gastrointestinal hormones. Other peripheral and central factors appear to reduce food intake at high altitude.

Keywords

HypoxiaDietary intakeFood preferencesHigh altitudeAcute mountain sickness

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012