Altitude Training and Recombinant Human Erythropoietin: Considerations for Doping Detection

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


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 at moderate 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 - 2019 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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