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Post-metabolic response to passive normobaric hypoxic exposure in sedendary overweight males: a pilot study

Chad Workman and Fabien A Basset*

Author Affiliations

School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5S7, Canada

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:103  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-103

Published: 16 November 2012



The present pilot study was designed to test the impact of passive acute normobaric hypoxic exposure (PAH) and passive short-term normobaric hypoxic exposure (PSH) conditions on energy expenditure (EE) and substrates utilisation (glucose and lipid oxidation).


Eleven participants have completed the PAH session while the control group (CG) underwent a simulated experimental condition in normobaric normoxic condition. A subset of 6 participants underwent an additional six 3-hour sessions on consecutive days. Metabolic rates were obtained pre- and post-treatments on the morning following an overnight (12 hours) fast in PAH, PSH, and CG groups.


The statistical outcomes showed a significant increase in EE for PAH, control, and PSH while a shift in substrate utilization towards lipid sources was only detected for PAH and PSH, respectively.


This pilot study showed that passive acute normobaric hypoxic exposure did affect EE and fuel utilization in sedentary overweight males and that further passive normobaric hypoxic exposures (PSH) magnified these metabolic adjustments. These outcomes provide valuable information for further research in the area of hypoxia as a new therapeutic strategy to improve the management of weight loss.

Metabolic rate; Indirect calorimetry; Substrate partitioning; Hypoxia