HRP Nutrition In Space: An Orange a Day Keeps Scurvy Away

HRP Nutrition In Space: An Orange a Day Keeps Scurvy Away

March 5, 2020 0 By Ewald Bahringer


[ Music ]>>The Nutritional Biochemistry Lab works
on essentially two different aspects in spaceflight; one is trying to keep crews healthy while
on long duration missions, and the other is doing research to understand how the body
changes during spaceflight, how nutrition needs can change during spaceflight, and then
how we can use nutrition to help counteract some of the negative effects of spaceflight
on the human body. There are a number of challenges with food and nutrition during spaceflight.
The most basic one is making sure crews eat enough. Getting enough calories is very important.
We’ve seen a number of crew memories that didn’t eat enough; lost a lot of weight. Along
with weight loss which always sounds exciting there are downsides to that in spaceflight
because we find that people will lose more muscle than they need too. They’ll lose more
bone than they would otherwise. Their cardiovascular system doesn’t adapt as well without proper
calorie and energy intake. So literally the first and key thing is just eating enough.
The biggest concern of sending crews off on exploration missions is that the longer you’re
on what we call a closed food system, the greater the risks are. So that when you pack
a pantry full of food and you’re going to eat from that pantry for the next 3 years,
the risks that there are nutrients that you are not getting becomes very high. The research
we’re doing now both in space and ground-based research are helping us better understand
how nutrition can play a role in crew health and this will help us better understand what
countermeasures we need for future exploration missions. What NASA does is fly very healthy
people in a unique environment that has challenges on their body which many of those challenges
resemble diseases on earth. There’s like bone loss and muscle loss and vision changes all
occur in individuals on earth and by understanding how those changes occur in healthy individuals
during spaceflight can help us better understand those diseases on earth [background music]
and ultimately help everybody get to ways to solve these problems quicker. [ Music ]