Towards human exploration of space: The THESEUS review series on nutrition and metabolism research priorities

Audrey Bergouignan, T. Peter Stein, Caroline Habold, Veronique Coxam, Donal O’gorman, Stéphane Blanc

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Nutrition has multiple roles during space flight from providing sufficient nutrients to meet the metabolic needs of the body and to maintain good health, to the beneficial psychosocial aspects related to the meals. Nutrition is central to the functioning of the body; poor nutrition compromises all the physiological systems. Nutrition is therefore likely to have a key role in counteracting the negative effects of space flight (e.g., radiation, immune deficits, oxidative stress, and bone and muscle loss). As missions increase in duration, any dietary/nutritional deficiencies will become progressively more detrimental. Moreover, it has been recognized that the human diet contains, in addition to essential macronutrients, a complex array of naturally occurring bioactive micronutrients that may confer significant long-term health benefits. It is therefore critical that astronauts be adequately nourished during missions. Problems of nutritional origin are often treatable by simply providing the appropriate nutrients and adequate recommendations. This review highlights six key issues that have been identified as space research priorities in nutrition field: in-flight energy balance; altered feeding behavior; development of metabolic stress; micronutrient deficiency; alteration of gut microflora; and altered fluid and electrolytes balance. For each of these topics, relevance for space exploration, knowledge gaps and proposed investigations are described. Finally, the nutritional questions related to bioastronautics research are very relevant to multiple ground-based-related health issues. The potential spin-offs are both interesting scientifically and potentially of great clinical importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16029
Journalnpj Microgravity
StatePublished - Jan 7 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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