High Altitude Pills: 5 Things To Look For

Altitude Sickness Pills

When visiting high altitude places such as Colorado and Utah, the air is thinner and its harder to breathe. Traveling to high altitudes can be quite the adventure. However, altitude sickness is no joke! You feel less energy, exhaustion, nausea, headache and numerous other symptoms because your body finds it difficult to adapt to that environment.

Many travelers will take high altitude pills or some kind of acclimatization supplement to prevent and avoid the altitude sickness you could experience. Here you will learn about high altitude sickness and what to look for when shopping for high altitude pills.

High Altitude Pills: What To Look For

altitude sickness pills and altitude sickness

What is High Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness (also called acute mountain sickness AMS) stems from the effects of exposure to high altitudes on human physiology. It usually occurs above 8,000 feet, but it can start at altitudes as low as 5,000 feet in places like our hometown of Denver, Colorado.

High altitude sickness is defined usually as a result of the lack of oxygen in the air and changes in barometric pressure.The higher you go in altitude, the lower the oxygen levels. The human body needs a certain level of oxygen to function properly. This means that in higher altitudes more effort is needed to perform even simple tasks.

What are Common Symptoms of High Altitude Sickness?

Symptoms tend to develop within 6 to 24 hours after arrival at altitude but may take longer in others depending on various factors of health, age, weight, and even prior high altitude exposure and experience. Mild forms of altitude sickness often occur during ascent or descent, however beware that moderate and severe forms can also occur if at longer durations in high altitude conditions.

The most common symptom of altitude sickness is headache, which can be severe.

Other mild to moderate symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea (even vomiting)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance, coordination and judgment
  • Disorientation

High Altitude Pills

Having the right supplement goes a long way in helping your body feel better while you’re at high altitude. There's natural high altitude pills that you can take to avoid altitude sickness or have an easier time.

They typically work by helping the body:

  • Rehydrate - Dehydration is a major problem at higher altitudes.
  • Replenish - The body typically losing vital nutrients at higher altitudes.
  • Recover - Certain ingredients can help the body repair and recover while exposed to less oxygen at high altitude.

There are several things to look for when trying to find the best high altitude pill, we'll cover further below.

When to Take High Altitude Pills?

No matter the brand you pick, you typically want to start taking altitude supplements 1-2 days before your trip of encountering high altitudes. This helps prepare you body beforehand, and then you will take the supplement's recommend dosage daily while at high attitudes. Sometimes taking a little extra (if an option with the supplement), can help the first few days of your trip or if you start to feel any altitude symptoms.

pills for high altitude sickness 

5 Things To Look For In High Altitude Pills: Plus Bonus

 These are key things to look for in high altitude supplements to maximize getting the best results.

1. Sugar-free

Research has shown that sugar can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. This is because when you consume sugar it causes a quick spike in your glucose levels, which can then plummet. In turn, this will make you feel fatigued, moody and even having headaches.

Sugar can also negatively impact your immune system. A study published showed that eating sugar slows the functioning of white blood cells and hinders the immune system. Even further, after the immediate consumption of a lot of sugar, it can take 5 hours for the immune system to respond.

This is why you want to seek out sugar-free products, or at minimum zero "added sugar" altitude pills.

2. Avoid diuretics like caffeine
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more frequently and can dehydrate your body. When you're high up in the air, dehydration can possibly lead to headaches or even altitude sickness.

Caffeine can actually have some benefits when at altitude, but the side-effect of dehydration could cancel that out. Especially if you're a coffee drinker already getting a dose of caffeine, you should stay away from altitude pills containing caffeine which will only make it even harder to stay hydrated.

You can still enjoy your cup of Joe, but stay cautious to not overdue it and simply don't add extra caffeinated products you won't need.

3. High in antioxidants
Antioxidants are the first line of defense against high altitude sickness. They help to reinforce and protect your immune system, which is critical when your breathing thinner air. 

Antioxidants are good for high altitude sickness because they help the body adapt physiologically to the higher altitudes by reducing the harmful effects that low oxygen levels can have on your body. Because antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, many people take antioxidant supplements when climbing at higher elevations.

A double-blind trial done at the base camp of Mt. Everest base camp showed significantly improved symptoms of altitude sickness with use of an antioxidant vitamin supplement.

Simply put, use a high altitude pill that is loaded with antioxidants!

4. Science-backed ingredients
To maximize the results from a high altitude pill, look for products that have some ingredients with research behind them. For example, here are a few ingredients with research behind them:

Glutamine supplementation was shown to minimize cognition and mood worsening produced by hypoxia (low oxygen at high altitudes).
We suggest that mood and cognition worsening induced by inflammation in hypoxia may be attenuated by glutamine supplementation. Other research has shown Glutamine to help with enhanced recovery, immune system support, and increased metabolic rate.

Glutathione, another high altitude ingredient, is shown to significantly decrease (reduced) in the body during high altitude exposure. Considered the body's master antioxidant, Glutathione also helps recycle other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which helps to additional fight off oxidative stress. With the studies done at Mt. Everest, Vitamin C and Vitamin E were shown to significantly improve altitude sickness symptoms.

These type of science-backed ingredients will assure that you get the most benefits from high altitude supplements.

5. Easy to take on-the-go
This comes down to personal preference, but you want to find a supplement delivery form in which you prefer for convenience. You may be searching for high altitude pills, but these type of altitude remedies also come in drinks, powders or even chewable tablets.

One thing to keep in mind is that during typical altitude trips, whether a ski trip or a high altitude climb, they require you to be on-the-go a lot. And sometimes needing to pack very light if actually doing a climb or hike. We recommend going with the easiest delivery forms---which would include pills, or even better chewable tables that won't require water for taking every dose.


6. Bonus: Medicine as last option
If you've taken all precautions at high altitude but are still having bad symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, dizziness and fatigue---medicine might be needed. 

OTC drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are often used for altitude sickness symptoms. Ibuprofen helps relieve swelling and inflammation, and was shown in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to significantly reduce the incidence of altitude sickness.

In severe cases where medical attention or doctors are needed, they sometime prescribe acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude sickness. Keep in mind many of these types of drugs have potential risk to damage the liver and are highly recommended to not drink alcohol when taken.


Are you looking for an easy-to-use high altitude supplement? Loaded with glutamine and glutathione, try our sugar-free Recovery Chewables!




1. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis
2. A high-sugar diet affects cellular and humoral immune responses in Drosophila
3. Doctors warn that sugar can temporarily weaken your immune system
4. Acute mountain sickness; prophylactic benefits of antioxidant vitamin supplementation at high altitude
5. Acute Mountain Sickness
6. Study Shows Taking Sustamine® L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine During Strenuous Exercise May Ward Off Exhaustion Longer
7. Effects of l-Alanyl-l-Glutamine Ingestion on One-Hour Run Performance
8. Glutathione metabolism under high-altitude stress and effect of antioxidant supplementation
9. Ibuprofen decreases likelihood of altitude sickness, researchers find
10. High Altitude Got You Down? Try Ibuprofen
11. Ibuprofen Prevents Altitude Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial for Prevention of Altitude Illness With Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatories