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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Apr 2, 2001
Does anyone have any research based information on diets that increase red blood cells? Is this even possible? It would seem like a good thing to do as the amount of red blood cells is one of the main factors limiting our maximum oxygen load capacity. I am not interested in opinions or beliefs on this subject but on actual research that has quantitative measures. Thanks, Angus
Well, many top caliber athletes have been known to do blood doping. Basically this amount to training at higher altitudes to cause the body to generate more blood cells to compensate for the thinner air at altitude. They then have blood drawn at certain intervals and stored for eventual infusion before major competition. IT is considered illegal if I am not mistaken - you can read more about it at http://whyfiles.org/090doping_sport/3.html

You can also do a search via the major search engines under the phrase "Blood Doping"

Hope this helps.
Interesting Idea hmmmm

Well seeing as how most of my diving is about 4000ft I have met some of the demands. As far as illegalities go I don't think that matters outside of competition and I am not interested in competing. But Ugh, I am not sure I am that motivated to have blood drawn and then transfused back.... Although if it dramatically increased my apnea times. Interesting idea I'll do some research and get back to you. Angus
re:blood doping, residing at altitude is a 'natural' way to improve the blood's oxygen carrying capacity as red blood cells increase after time spent at altitude. Dropping to lower altitude and voila, 'breathing is easier.' You can 'blood dope' at lower altitudes---the blood is removed from your body and after certain period of time, your body replenishes the missing quantity of red blood cells to bring it back to normal range. Thus, when you add the red cells previously removed, the quantity of red blood cells is elevated above normal. Of course, beside illegal aspects, health aspects are present---who is giving you the 'transfusion'? And your body is under new stresses from dealing with a volume of blood higher than 'normally' present. All to stay under water longer? Steroids also increase muscle size and mass, too,for body builders...until they kill you. Some "training edges" will come back and "cut you."
sounds real yucky to me too

Thanks, The whole thing sounded pretty yucky to me too. Angus
Yes, altitude will increase red blood cells and all aspects of breathing effieciency. (Take from a guy who lived a few years in Peru). You can also simulate this effect the way mountain climbers do, by use of a device that makes it harder to breathe. Worn like a backpack with a tube to a mouth regulator, it's sort of an "anti-scuba". Check mountain maniac supply sources.
Blood doping would only really work for something quick, like a single day event.
How about Geritol? You could shoot it up. Call it "pumpin' iron" if you feel like it.
Pumping iron, huh? Ill just have to try that one someday.
Meanwhile, has anybody tried those atltitude tents? Lots of climbers and Olympic athletes sleep in tents that are inflated with hypo-oxygenated air, thus mimicking altitude. Thus creating more bed blood cells, just as high altitude training does. (Interesting that you can train for depth by simulating altitude, huh?)
The thing is training in such an environment is not as productive, since you get oo tired to hit your peaks. So people sleep "at altitude", then train at sea level or wherever they are, getting benedfits effortlessly while sleeping. (No reports about what sex and other sleeping-related activities are like under such circumstances)
The tents can be set for alltitudes up to 15,000 feet. I understand most athletes sleep at around 9.000. I've heard some pretty impressive performance gains using this technique, everybody from hurdlers to swimmers.
I don't know if this is what Michael Jackson was doing, but I don;'t think you have to worry.
Another way to increase red blood cells count is to use erythropoetin-EPO.
Erythropoetin is a natural hormone secreted by the kidneys that acts on the bone marrow to stimulate production of red blood cells. Recombinant EPO is a synthetic version of this hormone. EPO is used for treatment of anemia in HIV+ people, and people with chronic kidney failure. Athletes also use it (mainly professional cyclist) as blood doping.

I do not know much about freediving, but I think, that increasing your red blood cells count above physiological levels is not good idea. It helps if you have access to fresh air in your lungs, it can enhance oxygen transport from lungs to tissue – important mainly for endurance sports like cycling. But in freediving you have limited amount of oxygen in your lungs, so increasing red blood cells can’t be much helpful. (I’m not sure now how important can be extra oxygen stored directly in red blood cells). More blood cells means also higher density of your blood and it can be really dangerous – higher risk of embolism and stroke. And I can imagine that high water pressure during deep dive can make it even worse.
Sounds like a wise warning. Frankly a lot of "fitness" and "life extension" tips sound really scary to me.
One advantage to high altitude training/simulation and blood doping are that I have a hard time seeing how they could be harmful.
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