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Altigen - science or scam?

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Altigen - science or scam?

Postby MikeTheClimber » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:30 am

Recently I was informed of a product on the market called "Altigen." Supposedly this is a "natural" herbal substance concocted to assist the body in adapting to high altitude. Have any of you discerning fellow climbers tried this product? Is it just bunk or is it the bomb? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby MountainHiker » Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:04 am

I have not tried it. Here is a link to their website:
http://www.getaltigen.com/
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby jimlup » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:12 am

It doesn't list the ingredients. It might just be ginko-biloba or an herbal diuretic repackaged under the name Altigen. Both would help with altitude. You would need to know the ingredients to pass judgment on the effectiveness. It is probably cheaper just to buy ginko directly.
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby sunny1 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:42 am

Ingredients
RHODIOLA CRENULATA
AMERICAN GINSENG
ANGELICA SINENSIS
PANAX NOTO-GINSENG
POTENTILLA ANSERINA L.
BROWN’S LILY BULB

I don't know that any of these herbs have been studied enough to be labeled "science" or "evidence-based" for prevention of altitude sickness - most reported benefits are anecdotal.
Have personally not used any herbal prep when climbing.
Maybe some of the pharm D's that frequent this site might have something to add?
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby MikeTheClimber » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:56 pm

Thanks for the input!
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby hikingteacher » Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:20 am

I tried it while hiking Crestone Needle, Castle/Conundrum, and maybe another one...and I don't think it did anything. I gave some to my friends, too, and they didn't notice a difference. But, before several of those hikes, I took some the night before and I think it helped me sleep through the night at altitude (I think it claims to help with that).
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby catbus-x » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:36 am

I always drink green tea, perfect for any climb activities. I saw many documentaries on discovery channel on Everest climbs, they drink a lot of green tea. That helps for high altitudes.
It refreshes the body particularly the central nervous system, skeletal muscles, heart and liver.

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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby Matt » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:54 pm

shaun wrote: taking Altigen probably won't hurt, but is no substitute for proper acclimitization and hydration. If acending to really high altitudes like 19k+, I would hedge bets on starting a Diamox plan early on.


Good call. Diamox is the best thing that your physician might know about. In my study (n=1, as in me), Diamox helped me quickly recover my mountain lungs after a month of sea level life and a bout of pneumonia. Just don't take it if you're allergic to sulfonamides, or drink a lot (that is, unless hepatic encephalopathy is something you'd like to experience). One list of cautions, warnings, contraindications etc is found here:
http://www.rxlist.com/diamox-sequels-drug.htm Caveat emptor.

In my experience, gingko has proven worthless, but that's me. People believe what they want to, and every person has a unique physiology and psyche.
There are much better options to increase cerebral circulation, maintain proper blood flow, and maintain alertness at altitude. Like gingko, most are OTC in America (but not in the EU, where they've been in use for up to 30 years), and there are scads of data found on pubmed regarding these drugs.
In particular, there are two that I take when warranted. One simply does what gingko is supposed to do, but better, and the other has plenty of data supporting its use for maintaining alertness and memory in oxygen-deprived environs.

One drug that's in common use in the US that has data on its side is salmeterol (Serevent), with a published paper in the New England Journal.
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/346/21/1631 (no subscription required)
I've extrapolated those findings and used albuterol to help me get acclimated quickly when necessary.
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby dpage » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:53 pm

sunny1 wrote:Ingredients
RHODIOLA CRENULATA
AMERICAN GINSENG
ANGELICA SINENSIS
PANAX NOTO-GINSENG
POTENTILLA ANSERINA L.
BROWN’S LILY BULB

I don't know that any of these herbs have been studied enough to be labeled "science" or "evidence-based" for prevention of altitude sickness - most reported benefits are anecdotal.
Have personally not used any herbal prep when climbing.
Maybe some of the pharm D's that frequent this site might have something to add?


http://running.competitor.com/2013/09/nutrition/super-7-supplements-that-improve-endurance_3692

Just came across this on Competitor.com. But I always hate when articles say "this has been researched/have proven benefits/etc but don't provide links to the study or a reference list. Rhodiola is the first herb they "review"
Last edited by dpage on Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby ThuChad » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:40 pm

Matt wrote: Just don't take it if you're allergic to sulfonamides, or drink a lot (that is, unless hepatic encephalopathy is something you'd like to experience).


I've only been able to drink about half a beer when taking diamox. Makes it taste awful. Cheap wine tastes decent.
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby Scott P » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:13 pm

I don't know about the other ingredients, but Ginseng really is supposed to help with altitude (it is also used to treat asthma). I haven't used it myself.

Due to some bad experiences, I stay clear of Diamox.
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Re: Altigen - science or scam?

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:27 pm

Matt wrote:I've extrapolated those findings and used albuterol to help me get acclimated quickly when necessary.

I had an albuterol inhaler two years ago when I was experiencing shortness of breath. It did help for a bit after each dose, although my problem wasn't in my lungs.
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