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Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism during Spaceflight and Recovery (Pro K)

By L. Shackelford, Scott M. Smith, M. Heer and S. R. Zwart


Bone loss is not only a well-documented effect of spaceflight on astronauts, but also a condition that affects millions of men and women on Earth each year. Many countermeasures aimed at preventing bone loss during spaceflight have been proposed, and many have been evaluated to some degree. To date, those showing potential have focused on either exercise or pharmacological interventions, but none have targeted dietary intake alone as a factor to predict or minimize bone loss during spaceflight. The "Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect against Changes in Bone Metabolism during Spaceflight and Recovery" investigation ("Pro K") is one of the first inflight evaluations of a dietary countermeasure to lessen bone loss of astronauts. This protocol will test the hypothesis that the ratio of acid precursors to base precursors (specifically animal protein to potassium) in the diet can predict directional changes in bone mineral during spaceflight and recovery. The ratio of animal protein to potassium in the diet will be controlled for multiple short (4-day) periods before and during flight. Based on multiple sets of bed rest data, we hypothesize that a higher ratio of the intake of animal protein to the intake of potassium will yield higher concentrations of markers of bone resorption and urinary calcium excretion during flight and during recovery from bone mineral loss after long-duration spaceflight

Topics: Aerospace Medicine
Year: 2009
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