Encyclopedia of Bioastronautics

Living Edition
| Editors: Laurence R. Young, Jeffrey P. Sutton

Nutrition and Metabolism

  • Sara R ZwartEmail author
  • Scott M Smith
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-10152-1_53-2


As it pertains to space travelers, the term “nutrition” encompasses many things, including the body’s basic need for nutrients. The amounts of nutrients required for optimal health can be affected by aspects of the environment, including gravity, radiation, temperature, and humidity. Nutritional requirements can be further altered by effects of microgravity on the body’s absorption, processing (metabolism), and excretion of nutrients. “Nutrition and metabolism” also encompasses the interaction of nutrients with the biochemical pathways (metabolism) by which physiological systems, such as bone, muscle, and cardiovascular systems, and even behavior and performance, accomplish their functions.


For exploration, having enough food is important, but having the right nutrition is critical. History provides many examples of how insufficient knowledge of or planning for nutrition led to disastrous results. Scurvy among sailors is a common example, and while many people...

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Human Health and Performance DirectorateNASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Michael W. Bungo
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas Health Science CenterHoustonUSA