Sherpas are one of the ethnic tribes of people who inhabited the Himalaya for several generations. Their primary source of income is to guide the Mountaineers from other countries, as they know Himalaya like the back of their hands. The bone-chilling environment and air pressure of the highest peaks challenge a person even in a peak of his/her physical fitness, but the Sherpas have dealt the challenge with ease. Here, we are going to find the secret of their superpower.
The high altitude atmospheric problems
When you go up to the high altitude of 3500 meters and up, your body faces a challenge with the altitude sickness. It happens because of the oxygen level is too low at that height. The oxygen level of the Everest summit is one-third of the sea level. And only 6% of humans can do the climb and survive.
But the biological wiring of the Sherpas is different. Their body is adapted to the low oxygen level as they live at the high altitude for generations. Because of that, they remain completely unharmed by the low oxygen atmosphere of the mountain.
They make use of oxygen
Mitochondria, are known as the powerhouses of the cell, are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. A report suggested that the Sherpas’ mitochondria are more efficient than ours. Because of that Sherpas get more energy using very less amount of oxygen.
The genetic adaptation
Research has revealed a secret which is the key of their regular blood circulation in high altitudes. The Sherpas have a modified gene which keeps their circulatory system normal. This gene is called ACE gene which produces an enzyme – Angiotensin, converting enzyme which has an important role in adapting to the high altitude atmosphere.
How the physical modifications of the Sherpas are going to help the ailing
The research was conducted to study the physical modifications of Sherpas, and the scientists are planning to help people to survive at some conditions where the amount of oxygen is too low. This study can be a breakthrough as it may open a new horizon in medical science as this will help people prevent the brain swelling at high altitude as well as it will help surviving brain injuries.
Sherpas are the real superheroes who have survived in the beautiful but dangerous mountains for ages without any modern equipment. Even today they carry the entire luggage and guide the mountaineers to a safer way. They put their lives on risk for us just to earn a petite amount of money for them and their family.
And as we know Edmund Hillary couldn’t be able to conquer the Everest without a certain Sherpa – Tenzing Norgay.