Altitude Training and Recombinant Human Erythropoietin: Considerations for Doping Detection

Shaun Sutehall, Borja Muniz-Pardos, Giscard Oliveira Lima, Guan Wang, Fernanda Rossell Malinsky, Andrew Bosch, Irina Irina, Kumpei Tanisawa, Fabio Pigozzi, Paolo Borrione, Yannis Pitsiladis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The benefit of training at altitude to enhance exercise performance remains
equivocal although the most widely accepted approach is one where the
athletes live and perform lower-intensity running at approximately 2300 m
with high-intensity training at approximately 1250 m. The idea is that this
method maintains maximal augmentations in total hemoglobin mass while
reducing the performance impairment of high-intensity sessions performed at
moderate altitude and thus preventing any detraining that can occur when
athletes live and train atmoderate altitude. This training regimen, however, is
not universally accepted and some argue that the performance enhancement
is due to placebo and training camp effects. Altitude training may affect an
athlete’s hematological parameters in ways similar to those observed following
blood doping. Current methods of detection appear insufficient to differentiate
between altitude training and blood doping making the interpretation of an
athlete’s biological passport difficult. Further research is required to determine
the optimal method for altitude training and to enhance current detection
methods to be able to differentiate better blood doping and altitude exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Sports Medicine Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


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