Background: Intermittent normobaric hypoxia training, an alternative to altitude training for athletes, may be beneficial to treat overweight and obesity. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether normobaric hypoxia training combined with low-caloric diet has the additive effect on weight loss compared with normoxia training in obese young adults.
Methods: Twenty-two subjects (age 17-25 years, body mass index >27.5 kg/m(2)) were recruited for a 4-week residential camp of weight loss with low caloric intake, and trained at 60-70% maximal heart rate of aerobics and 40-50% of maximal strength of training. They were randomly assigned to either a normobaric hypoxia (HT, FiO2 = 16.4-14.5 %) or normoxia training group (NT, FiO2 = 21%), and subjects in HT and NT groups experienced weekly 16-h normoxia and 6-h hypoxia or 22-h normoxia training, respectively. Body composition, resting blood pressure (BP) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) were determined before and after the intervention.
Results: Weight loss was found in HT (-6.9 kg or -7.0%, p < 0.01) and NT groups (-4.3 kg or -4.2%, p < 0.01) significantly, and the former lost more weight than the latter (p < 0.01). Hypoxia training improved systolic BP (-7.6%) and mean BP (-7.1%) significantly (p < 0.05) despite having no effect on baPWV.
Conclusion: Four weeks of normobaric hypoxia residential training with low caloric diet has an additive improvement on weight loss. It seems that normobaric hypoxia training might be a promising method to treat obesity.