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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 07-28-04, 02:46 PM   #1
MacMan
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Raising hematocrit levels normally?

With all the broo-haha going on about EPO, I was wondering if there any normal ways of raising one's hematocrit levels without having to resort to:
1) Illegal drugs
2) Prescription drugs
3) Using needles of any kind (I have a huge wimpy phobia of hypos)
4) Sleeping in an oxygen tent
5) Moving to high altitude

Are there certain foods one can consume? Certain forms of training? I'll be the first to admit that if it involves anything along the lines of giving up my chinese food and Becks beer, then I'm probably not going to be raising anything other than my waistline. Too old and work too hard to be giving up such pleasures!

Anyway, was just wondering ... all the 'Net does is throw up results that ultimately link to EPO or blood extraction and re-injection.
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Old 07-28-04, 02:55 PM   #2
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You can take iron supplements, but they will really only help if you are aneamic I think. If you hematocrit is within the normal range, I think the Iron might just constipate you.
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Old 07-28-04, 03:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothie104
You can take iron supplements, but they will really only help if you are aneamic I think. If you hematocrit is within the normal range, I think the Iron might just constipate you.
And believe me, constipation is something I really don't need! I had a physical a few months back. I'll have to dig it out and look at the Hct level.
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Old 07-28-04, 03:08 PM   #4
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--snip--
4) Sleeping in an oxygen tent
--snip--
.
Sleeping in an oxygen tent will do the opposite..
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Old 07-28-04, 03:12 PM   #5
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i think he meant altitude tent
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Old 07-28-04, 04:01 PM   #6
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Yes, sorry ... oxygen-deprived tent.
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Old 07-30-04, 10:18 AM   #7
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Just saw this post, and it's a very good subject, and timely too...

By "normal" ways, I guess you mean "natural", right?

One's hematocrit is pretty much genetically determined, with a few factors thrown in. The main one is altitude (oxygen tension, or partial pressure). The kidneys have "sensors" that measure O2 availability. Anything that lowers the level of oxygen in the blood, or it's ability to be used by tissues, will stimulate Epo production and the corresponding rise in hematocrit...or more accurately, red cell mass. Hematocrit can be temporarily affected by changes in plasma volume, but red cell mass cannot.

Things that lower 02 delivery, that I can think of, are: increased altitude (or lower 02 levels), and carbon monoxide exposure. Yes, smoking (a lot) will raise the hematocrit since CO renders the red cells (or more specifically hemoglobin in the red cells) unable to carry 02 correctly.

In short, the hematocrit is pretty much fixed genetically and individually, depending on a few environmental factors. This of course, is assuming the individual is not deficient in anything needed to actually make red cells, such as vitamins and iron. And: No, taking extra iron or vitamins will not raise the HCT past the set point.

I am interested in finding out how hard aerobic training affects the Hct. And when I say Hct, I mean Epo levels. I don't think it does, but I am not an expert in sports physiology so I can't say at this point. I also wonder if oxygen debt/anaerobic training will have any affect on Epo levels. I will do some research and see what I can dig up.
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Old 07-30-04, 10:37 AM   #8
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Germanium: An Oxygen Catalyst

In its organic form, each atom of germanium is bonded to three atoms of oxygen, making it an efficient carrier of oxygen. According to Dr. Stephen A. Levine, organic germanium seems to be able to partially substitute for or supplement oxygenation in living tissues. (7) Thus, Ge-132's ability to improve the efficiency of oxygen utilization at the cellular level could be of significant benefit. Dr. Otto Warburg, Nobel prize-winning cancer researcher, discovered that cancer cells cannot metabolize oxygen properly. (11) Flooding cells with oxygen may ****** the growth of cancer cells or even help to return them to normal. The "boosting" of available oxygen becomes significant when we realize that the underlying cause of many chronic diseases is free-radical damage resulting from insufficient cellular oxygenation. The Ge-132 acts as a carrier, facilitating the movement of oxygen across cellular membranes to get oxygen inside the cell! Dr. Asai attributed the effectiveness of organic germanium in combating a variety of diseases to its ability to oxygenate cells. Dr. Asai found that Ge-132 was effective in treating "cancer of the lungs, bladder, larynx and breast, neurosis, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, cardiac insufficiency, inflammation of maxillary sinus, neuralgia, leukemia, softening of the brain, myoma of the uterus and hepatic cirrhosis." (1)
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Old 07-30-04, 11:19 AM   #9
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Germanium: An Oxygen Catalyst ......(1)
Maybe I'm missing the point, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The question was about increasing hematocrit levels. This article sounds like it's in reference to a potential cancer treatment, based on free radical formation from high O2 levels. Believe me, that's not what you want to help cycling performance. You didn't include the reference.
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Old 07-30-04, 12:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holicow
Maybe I'm missing the point, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The question was about increasing hematocrit levels. This article sounds like it's in reference to a potential cancer treatment, based on free radical formation from high O2 levels. Believe me, that's not what you want to help cycling performance. You didn't include the reference.
I guess I assumed that since the original poster was interested in increasing his red blood count, and since most ways to do so are are illegal, that increasing the oxygen in your existing blood cells would/could be beneficial. I also got from his reference about not wanting to give up beer and chinese food that this was somewhat tounge-in-cheek. Here's one reference on the benefits:

http://www.oxypowder.com/oxypowder/b...germanium.html

The added benefit is that oxypowder, of which I have no connection other than being a user, will help you lose 5-10lbs of compacted feces which can slow you down.
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Old 07-30-04, 12:35 PM   #11
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Well, if you want to lose 5- 10 pounds of compacted feces, you could just have a colonic. That's much faster!

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Old 07-30-04, 02:54 PM   #12
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I've found that pressing sensitive body parts in a bench mounted vice in 10 cycles of 20 reps at 45 seconds is very helpful. Not helpful for boosting hematocrit, but helpful for showing that you might be far too concerned about modifying your body.
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Old 07-30-04, 03:13 PM   #13
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Well, if you want to lose 5- 10 pounds of compacted feces, you could just have a colonic. That's much faster!

Koffee
That would certainly get you up the hills much faster...
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Old 07-30-04, 03:50 PM   #14
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Just go and live in Denver for a month or so. That will increase your hematocrit (or your # of red blood cells) At high altitudes there is less oxygen available for the lungs(decreased Barimetric pressure lowers gas pressures) so the body compensates by producing more red blood cells. This will normalize over time when you return to sea level. Ever wonder why the Kenyans are so dominant in running? They run at high altitude and do lots of hill/mountain climbing/running.
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