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Recommended increasing vitamin D for space flight – NASA Sept 2013

The Role of Nutritional Research in the Success of Human Space Flight - 2013

Adv Nutr September 2013 vol. 4: 521-523, 2013
Helen W. Lane 3, helen.w.lane at nasa.gov.
Charles Bourland 4, Ann Barrett 5, Martina Heer 6, and Scott M. Smith 3
3 Human Health and Performance Directorate, NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
4 Retired from NASA
5 Combat Feeding Directorate, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, MA
6 Profil, Neuss, Germany; and Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

The United States has had human space flight programs for >50 y and has had a continued presence in space since 2000. Providing nutritious and safe food is imperative for astronauts because space travelers are totally dependent on launched food. Space flight research topics have included energy, protein, nutritional aspects of bone and muscle health, and vision issues related to 1-carbon metabolism. Research has shown that energy needs during flight are similar to energy needs on Earth. Low energy intakes affect protein turnover. The type of dietary protein is also important for bone health, plant-based protein being more efficacious than animal protein. Bone loss is greatly ameliorated with adequate intakes of energy and vitamin D, along with routine resistive exercise. Astronauts with lower plasma folate concentrations may be more susceptible to vision changes. Foods for space flight were developed initially by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in conjunction with the U.S. Army Natick Laboratories and NASA. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point safety standards were specifically developed for space feeding. Prepackaged foods for the International Space Station were originally high in sodium (5300 mg/d), but NASA has recently reformulated >90 foods to reduce sodium intake to 3000 mg/d. Food development has improved nutritional quality as well as safety and acceptability.

Presented at the symposium “The Role of Nutritional Research in the Success of Human Space Flight” held at the ASN Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2013, April 23, 2013 in Boston, MA. The symposium was sponsored by the American Society for Nutrition and the ASN History of Nutrition Committee.

See also VitaminDWiki

Other than NASA

NASA 400 IU ==> 800 IU 2006

Astronaut test of vitamin D supplementation 1000 or 2000 IU was enough to get 32 ng – 2008

The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:458.3.)
Efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in an Antarctic ground analog of space flight
Scott M. Smith1, Keri Gardner2, James Locke1 and Sara R. Zwart3
Vitamin D is critical for persons with limited exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, including space travelers. Recent studies indicate that optimal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH vit D) should be ≥ 80 nM. This study was designed to define the dose of vitamin D needed to maintain 25-OH vit D at > 80 nM in persons with limited UV-B exposure. It was conducted during winter in Antarctica at McMurdo Station, when UV-B radiation levels are essentially zero. The 66 subjects recruited for this blinded study were randomly divided into 3 groups for vitamin D supplementation: 2000 IU/d (n = 18), 1000 IU/d (n = 18), and 400 IU/d (n = 19). Some subjects (n = 7) did not take supplements or took ones of their own choosing. Blood samples were collected about every 2 mo during the winter. About 5 mo after supplementation started, analysis of samples from subjects (n=9, 5, 11, and 3 for the 2000 IU/d, 1000 IU/d, 400 IU/d, and no pill groups) who completed 4 blood draws showed that 25-OH vit D increased 63% in the 2000 IU/d group (to 82 ± 28 nM), 61% in the 1000 IU/d group (to 85 ± 36 nM), and 51% in the 400 IU/d group (to 64 ± 13 nM). It decreased 13% (to 35 ± 16 nM) in the group not taking supplements. These data will enable us to provide space crews with evidence-based recommendations for vitamin D supplementation. The findings also have implications for other persons with limited UV light exposure, including polar workers and the elderly.
This study was supported by the NASA Human Research Program.

VitaminDWiki comment: Very strange that the result of 2,000 IU was LESS than that of 1,000 IU

Do space station crews take vitamin pills? March 2014

  • NASA Spokes person: “We do provide vitamin D supplements for the crews because the food system doesn’t have many sources of vitamin D, and because spacecraft are shielded to block ultraviolet light (one of the ways the body makes vitamin D),” he writes in an email. And the crews are required to take those supplements, he adds.
  • "“Some crews opt to take other vitamins or supplements (in consultation with their flight surgeons), but we maintain there is no known benefit of these,” Byerly adds.