Poster Topical Area: Vitamins and Minerals

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 518

P26-057 - B-Vitamin Status on International Space Station (ISS) Missions

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objectives: As documented throughout history, reliance on a closed or limited food system increases risk of nutrient deficiencies. Space exploration imparts further constraints on food and nutrition. We sought to evaluate vitamin status of International Space Station (ISS) astronauts.

We report data from multiple protocols, including pre- and postflight nutritional assessments (n=74), and experiments involving inflight sample collections (n=51). Samples were analyzed using standard techniques (e.g., LC-MSMS, HPLC-EC, RIA). Dietary intake data were available for a subset of astronauts (n=18, 12M/6F) who used an iPad App to record inflight intake.

Of 74 ISS crewmembers, RBC folate concentration declined in 73% after flight. Dietary intake revealed that the folate requirement (400 µg/d) was not met on 35% of flight days. Mean dietary folate equivalents (+/- SD), including dietary sources and supplements was 561 ± 341 µg/d. Of those 18 crewmembers, serum folate was available from 13, and 100% had lower serum folate inflight compared to preflight. Astronauts with ophthalmic changes also had lower serum folate during flight. Methylmalonic acid (MMA, vitamin B12 status) was available on 48 crewmembers, and 19% had MMA concentrations above normal limits at one point during their mission. Dietary intake data identified that 13% of days had B12 intakes below the DRI. Astronauts with ophthalmic changes had higher MMA concentrations, reflecting lower vitamin B12 status. Mean intake for dietary choline was 368 ± 138 mg/d, and 86% of the days were below the DRI.

Nutrition is critical for crew health on ISS and exploration class missions. Ensuring adequate dietary intake, along with understanding individual responses to space flight and nutrient requirements to optimize health are all keys to mission success.

Funding Source: This work was funded by NASA, with additional support provided by DLR space program grant 50WB1231.

CoAuthors: Martina Heer – University of Bonn; Sara Zwart – UTMB

Scott M. Smith

Nutritionist, Manager for Nutritional Biochemistry
Houston, Texas