Wine at altitude? Beware!

Here’s something to consider when traipsing up a mountain in your snow boots, luxury picnic under your arm….

At altitude your body produces more red blood cells to try and absorb more oxygen because there is a lower oxygen concentration in the air.  This means your blood is capable of absorbing more of everything.Villarica Volcano

So, when you kick back for that lunchtime glass and a sandwich on your expedition to the summit, remember that you are likely to get pickled on a smaller volume of alcohol than usual – not conducive to completing said expedition.

On top of tipsiness, there are other undesirables to consider:

Dehydration – Altitude causes dehydration and alcohol causes dehydration – a combination of the two gives me a dry mouth just thinking about it.

Cognitive ability – Your reaction time will decrease until your body has reached the required oxygen absorption levels.  Decreased ability to react is a well known side affect of drinking alcohol too.  Once again, the two combined won’t make you the sharpest tool in the box.

And now for the good news.…..  The body is fairly quick to adapt to changes in environment.   Once the body has adapted to the oxygen-starved environment the absorption rate will decrease and you can happily enjoy your glass of wine without too many concerns for the side affects.

Final comment –  Pink champagne with fresh strawberries is an absolute must‘ when your toes are buried in the snow!  In moderation, of course.


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