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Protein absorption and energy digestibility at high altitude.
Journal of Applied Physiology
Date de publication
To test the hypothesis that malabsorption of dietary protein is partly responsible for the weight loss observed during prolonged altitude exposure, six healthy male subjects [31.8 +/- 4.5 (SD) yr] received 15N-labeled soya protein by mouth and [15N]glycine intravenously at 122 and 5,000 m. From the subsequent 4-day total urine and fecal pools, the different fractions of the administered 15N were determined by mass spectrometry. Weight and skinfold thickness were measured at the beginning and end of the altitude exposure. In addition, the overall digestible energy of the diet at altitude was assessed by a 3-day diet control and adiabatic bomb calorimetric assessment of the energy content of the corresponding fecal pool. The average decrease of the subjects' weight during altitude exposure was 3%. Loss of fat mass at altitude estimated from the skinfold measurements was 9%. Protein absorption, calculated as 100--[fecal excretion of 15N after ingestion of 15N soya protein (% of dose given)--fecal excretion of 15N after injection of 15N glycine (% of dose given)], was not significantly impaired at altitude compared with sea level (96 vs. 97%, respectively), and overall digestible energy at altitude, calculated as 100--percent undigested gross energy in the feces, amounted to 96%. It is concluded that, at least up to an altitude of 5,000 m, malabsorption does not play a role in altitude-related weight loss.
Adult, Altitude, Body Composition/physiology, Body Weight/physiology, Calorimetry, Dietary Proteins/pharmacokinetics, Energy Metabolism/physiology, Feces/chemistry, Glycine/metabolism, Humans, Intestinal Absorption, Male, Nitrogen/metabolism, Nitrogen/urine, Nitrogen Radioisotopes/diagnostic use
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