Optimization of mental status
Mental status changes will affect both riders and crew alike. The riders will most likely be affected when they are racing at high altitude and the crew members will most likely be affected at night while preparing the machines. A good example of the importance of mental focus at altitude is when Quinn Cody crashed at a relatively simply section of a special, but he was racing at high altitude. Also decision-making at altitude will be affected and is even compounded by the fact that you are on a motorcycle or car trying to drive at a higher rate of speed. The mechanics will experience mental status changes which will affect their performance on making essential repairs to the cars and motorcycles. And these mental status changes will also affect how they deliver their needs to other people. The potential for mistakes are huge. And as many crew members are not in the best state of health, this is going to be a much bigger deal than people think. Things like brain nootropics and strategic use of caffeine are important.
Seizures – If you are going to have a seizure, then it will more likely happen at high altitude. Everyone’s medical kit should probably contain something to treat seizures this year. Or at least the ASO medical tent needs to be very well prepared. Seizures are always more likely to occur at higher altitudes where the environment has less oxygen available. And while the racers may be in excellent health, it is possible that some of the crew members may have ailments that they do not know about. I remember during my first Dakar in Clermont Ferand, France, a car driver spontaneously had a seizure while watching the initial presentation.
Optimization of iron
Iron deficiency will be greatly exacerbated and will render you useless if left untreated. The amount of iron in your blood will make a very big difference in how well you adapt to altitude. And as many people are iron deficient, this poses a potential problem. People who are iron deficient will not farewell at the highest elevations. They will also take more time to adapt and somebody who has proper iron stores. If you are going to Dakar it is probably wise to have your iron levels checked from a blood analysis and treat accordingly. Work with someone who knows about iron physiology and optimize your iron stores in the body.
Nitric oxide – Viagra!
Viagra can be used for others things besides the bedroom. Medications like Viagra are called nitric oxide enhancers and can be used to ease some of the effects of high altitude. Endurance athletes competing at high altitude have been nitric oxide enhancers for years. Recently the medical system caught on and is now recommending nitric oxide medications like Viagra for prevention of AMS. If you are going to use Viagra type medications, you will need to consult a doctor and get a prescription. Don’t forget about natural ways to increase your nitric oxide capacity such as eating nitrite rich vegetables and beet root shots.
Arginine is converted to nitric oxide in the body via a couple of mechanisms. L-Arginine is an essential amino acid found in the diet. L-arginine is a popular supplement for athletes as it is touted to increase nitric oxide activity in the body. It is a dietary supplement used mostly by athletic people because it is the amino acid that directly produces nitric oxide via the nitric oxide synthase enzymes. It’s particularly important during periods of stress like the Dakar Rally. To have an effect, the dose needs to be about 3 to 6 grams in order t have an effect as there is reason to believe that there is poor absorption of L-arginine from the intestines. The standard pre-workout dose for L-arginine is 3-6g.
Nitrosamonas and Mother Dirt
Another less known method of increasing your nitric oxide is by using a product called Mother Dirt. Basically, Mother Dirt is natural bacteria, much like a probiotic, that you spray on your skin. Our most complex system may well be the microbiome; it consists of hundreds of trillions of microorganisms. A natural bacteria on the skin called Nitrosamonas is a beneficial ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). AOB are naturally occurring bacteria that metabolize the ammonia found in sweat, creating both nitrite and nitric oxide, two critical building blocks of good health. Much like our gut, the skin biome relies on good bacteria to help the skin stay healthy. The constant use of soaps, antibacterials, and lack of interaction with nature make it difficult for us to maintain the beneficial bacteria that should exist naturally on our skin. So actively re-populating these AOB can help us in many ways. When you do this, the natural population of bacteria are more capable of metabolizing the nitrogen containing molecules such as urea, and this helps to increase nitric oxide. This helps your skin breath better and heat adaptation is improved. Heat adaptation will be very important in the high deserts and mountains. You can get Mother Dirt from a company called AO Biome.