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Nutrition in Space: What we Can Learn from Astronauts | Scott Smith PhD

Episode 58, duration 1 hr 00 mins
Episode 58

Nutrition in Space: What we Can Learn from Astronauts | Scott Smith PhD

Scott M. Smith leads the Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory at NASA Johnson Space Center. This group is charged with keeping crews healthy with respect to nutrition, including using nutrition to optimize astronaut health and safety. This work includes ground-based and spaceflight research to understand how nutrition can mitigate the risks of spaceflight.
Smith has ongoing research projects on the International Space Station. His past projects have been flown on the space station, space shuttle, and the Russian space station Mir. Smith has also led several ground-based research projects to better understand astronaut health in space, including studies of vitamin D in crews in Antarctica, studies of crews living on the bottom of the ocean, and studies of test subjects spending weeks to months in bed.
Smith is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, the American Physiological Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics. He holds a B.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Nutrition, both from the Pennsylvania State University.

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In this episode we discuss:
• What can we apply from astronauts’ unique nutritional needs down here on earth?
• How to combat extreme oxidative stress
• Which biomarkers are the most important to monitor.
• What space flight can teach us about bone & muscle health.

00:00:00 Introduction

00:03:00 NASA and Nutrition

00:12:18 What Causes Problems in Spaceflight

00:16:02 Homocysteine and MTHFR

00:19:42 Astronauts’ Diets & Radiation Damage

00:22:51 Vitamin D for Astronauts

00:31:07 Surprising Changes for Astronauts

00:35:21 The Gut Microbiome

00:38:00 Do Astronauts Age Faster?

00:40:11 Are Osteoporosis Medications Helpful?

00:42:44 NASA Astronauts’ Exercise

00:44:29 Maintaining Muscle in Space

00:47:42 New NASA Experiments

00:51:45 Working at NASA’s Nutrition Lab

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