Last Published:  03/26/21 03:33:57 PM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Health Countermeasures (HHC)
Status: Open

Initial State of Gap:
N7 was created in 2007.  New evidence shows that other physiological systems besides the cardiovascular system and bone need to be addressed. Ground and flight studies have been (or are being) conducted to better understand the impact of nutrition on bone and muscle health.  For bone, many nutrients have been found to have effects, both positive and negative.  For muscle, the primary focus has been on provision of extra protein or amino acids, studies which have either not been successful (i.e., no benefit), or in some cases while they may have protected muscle, they also have had detrimental effects on bone. Other nutrients (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids) have been proposed to mitigate muscle loss, but have yet to be tested in flight or in an appropriate spaceflight analogue, despite clinical and epidemiological data supporting this potential countermeasure.           

Interim steps:

      1. Track detailed dietary intake and nutritional status data and relate to measures of musculoskeletal health. 
      2. Identify any significant elements of diet or nutritional status, above and beyond macro and micro requirements from N3.1 and 3.2 that impact measures of musculoskeletal health for follow up in existing or new gaps.
      3. Steps 1 and 2 will be repeated yearly.  This gap will progress to completion in 2020 at the end of ISS.  The degree of gap closure will increase by 14% each year until 2020 [100% completion in 2020].

Retrospective Nutrition SMO data analysis will continue to provide insight, along with review of scientific literature.  MedB8.1/Clinical Nutritional Status Assessment  also provides valuable pre and post-flight information, and inflight dietary intake assessment.  The Integrated Nutrition Countermeasure study is also planned to provide more detailed dietary intake data, which will be critical for this gap.  Other studies that will provide data to address the interim steps include the Integrated Nutrition Countermeasure Study, which will provide a detailed evaluation of dietary intake in relation to bone and muscle loss after long-duration spaceflight.  Similarly, Pro K data evaluation will provide insight into the role of animal protein and potassium (and related factors) on bone loss during spaceflight.  Evaluation of SOLO (ESA sponsored) data will provide insight into the role of sodium in bone loss during spaceflight.  Finally, calcium isotope studies will help develop analytical tools to quantitate net calcium balance changes during and after flight.  This has the potential for in situ analysis and may provide assessment on exploration class missions.

Target for Closure
Determine which aspects of dietary intake, if any, significantly impact musculoskeletal health during long-duration space flight.
Risk Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to Inadequate Food and Nutrition
You are here! Gap N7.1: We need to identify the most important nutritional factors for musculoskeletal health.

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