The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Antioxidants don’t prevent acute mountain sickness

     Acute mountain sickness may be caused by oxidative damage that results in leaking cerebrovascular fluid.

    Oral antioxidants, didn’t make a difference in this study by researchers in the UK.

    First, the details.

    • 83 healthy lowland volunteers ascended to 5200 meters on the Apex 2 high altitude research expedition.
    • Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatments.
      • 1-gram l-ascorbic acid, 400 IU of alpha-tocopherol acetate, and 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid (Cultech Ltd., Wales, UK) daily in 4 divided doses
      • Placebo
    • Prevalence of acute mountain sickness was measured using the Lake Louise Consensus score sheet (LLS).
    • Neither the researchers nor participants knew the treatment given — double-blind.

    And, the results.

    • There was no difference in the incidence or severity of acute mountain sickness between groups at any time at high altitude.
    • At Day 2 at 5200 meters, 69% of the antioxidant group and 66% of the placebo group had acute mountain sickness — not significant.
    • There were no differences in pulmonary artery systolic pressure, oxygen saturation, presence of a pericardial effusion, or acute mountain sickness as assessed by a visual analogue scale.

    The bottom line?
    The authors “found no evidence of benefit from antioxidant supplementation at high altitude.”

    About a year ago, researchers from Birmingham, UK reviewed pharmacotherapy options to prevent and treat of acute altitude- related problems. They concluded that more research was required to establish the role of antioxidants.

    3/11/09 22:3 JR

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