Product Review: Altitude Adapt

now also know as Neo40 by NeoGenis

(a.k.a. my new go-to supplement for conquering Acute Mountain Sickness!)

by Michelle M Pearson

As reported in a previous blog, last September, our team met in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to attempt our first high altitude training hike on America’s favorite mountain… Pikes Peak. At 14,114 feet, it is one of Colorado’s famous 14er’s. Since we live at less than 1,000 feet above sea level, this was going to be quite a test of our endurance!

In that first attempt, we made it to the top, ending at Devil’s Playground at 13,080′, but we had hoped to summit at the Visitor’s Center at 14,114′. Shortly after beginning our ascent, I began to experience shortness of breath, then headache, fatigue, and, eventually, dizziness. It was altitude sickness.

For those who are not familiar with its characteristics, acute mountain sickness, AMS, also known commonly as altitude sickness, produces symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening, and can affect the nervous system, lungs, muscles, and heart. It is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, or even casual travelers who are exposed to reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes, typically above 8,000 feet.

I was hydrating like crazy, both the day of and the day before, but neither the hydration nor my months of training proved to be enough to compensate for the altitude’s effects on my oxygen availability. In fact, even after descending, the symptoms remained for three days, including fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. Something was still missing in my training, nutrition, or strategy, or in all three.
Enter blogger (and hero), Brian Green, at Brian’s Backpacking Blog! 

I have gotten lots of great tips in the past from Brian’s blog, so, I looked him up to see what his tips might be for dealing with AMS. I was so pleased to find two great blogs on his excursions to California’s Mt Whitney. His first trip at Mt Whitney was derailed by AMS. His second trip, however, was successful!

In addition to finding his insight on the higher altitude hiking, my visit to Brian’s Backpacking Blog was perfectly timed to discover that he was having a contest in partnership with Altitude Adapt. Together, they were introducing his readers to a product specifically targeted at helping eliminate symptoms of AMS!  So, I entered and was selected to test drive the product on our next high altitude hike.

We had already planned to return to Pikes Peak and needed to schedule that before the window of good weather closed and heavy snows set in, especially because I would be climbing alone this time.  Don’t get me wrong, as shown in the picture, there is already plenty of snow on the trail, just not several feet of it yet!  We spotted a week of great weather forecasts for Pikes Peak early in the week of Thanksgiving.  On short notice, Altitude Adapt sent my samples by express shipping and enabled us to time our ascent for one of the most gorgeous weather days expected this winter.

The day we arrived in Colorado Springs, I took two Altitude Adapt lozenges about 6 hours apart and hydrated well. I ate a vegan dinner, no caffeine for two days prior, and no alcohol (which is my custom, but worth mentioning for those taking notes.)  I do not exclusively eat vegan, although about 80% of my meals are veggies. This meal was a strategic part of my plan to increase the nitric oxide in my blood and to be sure I digested that meal well, all in preparation for the next day. We got to bed early (with gear already packed) and enjoyed a full 9 hours of sleep!

We woke before dawn and I took my first Altitude Adapt lozenge of the day about 5:30am. We drove out to Divide, CO and the Crags trailhead. I started up the mountain at dawn, temperature was about 29 degrees, and the altitude was 9,165′.  I had 100 ounces of water in my hydration pack.

Thirty minutes into the hike, I was stripping away layers of down and thermals, stuffing all the excess into my pack. But, I observed that except for overdressing and a heavy pack, as the trail started to steepen, I felt great, was pacing well, with NO AMS symptoms!

About half way up the mountain, two local mountain guides, who I affectionately named Barbie and Skipper, passed me in shorts at a near run. OK, so that was lousy. I am out there, after all, in the freezing temps, in the snow, by myself, dressed for an arctic ice storm, conquering my mountain, uh, mountain sickness, and they just whiz by in shorts. But… I still have no symptoms! So, undeterred, I smile and wave…  smile and wave…

After a bit, another local hiker passed by me and then proceeded to get off the trail down below me. She hollered for some help and not thinking for a minute that she is the local and I am not, I went to help find her trail, got myself way off course and hiked a considerable way down the mountain with no sign of the trail. Then, thinking up is the way we should go, I found my way back up the incline, back to the trail, realizing I was on the trail to begin with and should never have left it! That was a DUH! moment.

Interestingly, even after all that extra exertion of the descent and the climb back up, I still had no signs of AMS at all! However, it had been several hours since my first lozenge, so I did decide at that time to use my second lozenge of the day. The Altitude Adapt was working so well for me that I certainly wanted it continue for the rest of my climb!

Just after taking my second lozenge, the unexpected happened.

Somehow in the scrambling around, I had pulled my right groin muscle. As I endeavored to hike on, every step increased in pain and it became apparent that I was injured worse than I first thought and was heading for trouble.

I had left instructions with my husband to expect me by 2:00pm. If I hadn’t arrived by then, he was to call the Rangers. That would have been 3+ hours past my expected arrival. I could see the top; I was above the trees; but I could no longer lift my right leg and pain was about 11 on a scale of 1-10.

Decision time. Quit, sit, and wait for the $500 Ranger rescue team to arrive OR dig in to inner strength, motivated by the reason I am out here in the first place, and start walking. Poles in hand, leading with the left, dragging the right, over the rocks, tears freezing on my cheeks, I started walking forward.

Three hours later than anticipated, but one hour earlier than my cutoff time, I popped up over the ridge line and finished! Cheering and hollering, I headed over to the warm, waiting van and the care of my husband, both my physician and my trainer, I fell across the seat crying… this time, not from the pain, but in the joy of the personal victory!

Here’s the deal on my product review: Through it all, through the snow, the 7 degree temperatures in the wind chill the last two hours, in the reduced oxygen of 13,080′ altitude, with the injury and excruciating extra exertion of the final two hours, I had NO altitude sickness, NO AMS at all. No headache, no nausea, no dizziness, no GI distress, none. 

As I savored the moment, a cup of hot cocoa and some dark chocolate (also great for increasing nitric oxide), and one of those famous (but not-so-great) Pikes Peak summit donuts, I added Altitude Adapt to my “always carry” list.

Well done, Altitude Adapt. Well done. You are definitely in the bag for our climb on Mt Kilimanjaro in March 2013!

Update 02/29/2016 I have since completed Kilimanjaro to beyond high camp, and hiked Pikes Peak multiple times since, every time with Altitude Adapt, now also know as Neo40 by NeoGenis

See you on the mountain tops! (Or from them if you snooze.)

Real Help. Real Hope. Real Answers.

Ordinary People Partnering Together

To Make an Extraordinary Difference

Michelle Pearson
Catalyst for Change, Speaker, Author, Social Media Maven, Minister, Mountain Taker; Ambassador for Him, healing, high heels, & hiking boots. Preferably in pink.

Michelle's mission is to educate, activate, challenge and equip others to live a full, satisfying life, ever growing in the Kingdom of God.

Michelle is a mountain-taker in all expressions of her calling. Sometimes it is on literal mountains leading ladies on spiritual adventures in faith. Other days, it is consulting with Kingdom-minded businesses and ministries to develop professional website platforms and social media strategies. Still other times, you will find her training mountain-takers to possess their physical land - their health, spirit, soul, and body - teaching classes and doing wellness evaluations for churches and corporations large and small, as well as providing "secret service" concierge wellness services for other speakers and ministers.

Wherever the call of God takes her, she firmly believes it is time for Christian businesses, entrepreneurs, and ministry leaders to be diligent to ‘write the vision and post it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may be able to read it easily and quickly as they hasten by.’ And then ACT on the vision.

Read more About and Experience here: http://thepictureofhealth.com/michelle
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