Effects of 10 days of separate heat and hypoxic exposure on heat acclimation and temperate exercise performance.Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2017; 313(3):R191-R201AJ
Adaptations to heat and hypoxia are typically studied in isolation but are often encountered in combination. Whether the adaptive response to multiple stressors affords the same response as when examined in isolation is unclear. We examined 1) the influence of overnight moderate normobaric hypoxia on the time course and magnitude of adaptation to daily heat exposure and 2) whether heat acclimation (HA) was ergogenic and whether this was influenced by an additional hypoxic stimulus. Eight males [V̇o2max = 58.5 (8.3) ml·kg-1·min-1] undertook two 11-day HA programs (balanced-crossover design), once with overnight normobaric hypoxia (HAHyp): 8 (1) h per night for 10 nights [[Formula: see text] = 0.156; SpO2 = 91 (2)%] and once without (HACon). Days 1, 6, and 11 were exercise-heat stress tests [HST (40°C, 50% relative humidity, RH)]; days 2-5 and 7-10 were isothermal strain [target rectal temperature (Tre) ~38.5°C], exercise-heat sessions. A graded exercise test and 30-min cycle trial were undertaken pre-, post-, and 14 days after HA in temperate normoxia (22°C, 55% RH; FIO2 = 0.209). HA was evident on day 6 (e.g., reduced Tre, mean skin temperature (T̄sk), heart rate, and sweat [Na+], P < 0.05) with additional adaptations on day 11 (further reduced T̄sk and heart rate). HA increased plasma volume [+5.9 (7.3)%] and erythropoietin concentration [+1.8 (2.4) mIU/ml]; total hemoglobin mass was unchanged. Peak power output [+12 (20) W], lactate threshold [+15 (18) W] and work done [+12 (20) kJ] increased following HA. The additional hypoxic stressor did not affect these adaptations. In conclusion, a separate moderate overnight normobaric hypoxic stimulus does not affect the time course or magnitude of HA. Performance may be improved in temperate normoxia following HA, but this is unaffected by an additional hypoxic stressor.