OpNom: Pro KExperiment Overview
The Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism during Spaceflight and Recovery (Pro K) investigation is NASAs first evaluation of a dietary countermeasure to lessen bone loss of astronauts. Pro K proposes that a flight diet with a decreased ratio of animal protein to potassium will lead to decreased loss of bone mineral. Pro K has impacts on the definition of nutritional requirements and development of food systems for future exploration missions, and could yield a method of counteracting bone loss that would have virtually no risk of side effects.Principal Investigator(s)
Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
October 2009 - September 2014Expeditions Assigned
21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38,39/40Previous ISS Missions
Pro K began operations during ISS Expeditions 21/22.
Though the mechanism of bone mineral loss associated with space flight is not completely understood, it likely involves multiple factors. The Dietary Intake Can Predict and Protect Against Changes in Bone Metabolism During Spaceflight and Recovery (Pro K) experiment studies the role of dietary intake patterns as one of these factors associated with bone mineral loss in space flight. The protocol is designed to evaluate the influence of acid and base precursors in the diet. The concept that diet can alter acid-base balance in the body is not new, and it is also well documented that a decrease in blood pH caused by acidic products of metabolism (metabolic acidosis) negatively affects bone; particularly in ground-based analogs of space flight.
This protocol tests the hypothesis that the ratio of acid precursors to base precursors (specifically animal protein and potassium, respectively) in the diet predicts changes in the loss of bone mineral during space flight and recovery. In two preflight and four inflight sessions, the ratio of animal protein to potassium in the diet is controlled during 4-day periods. In one inflight and 3 postflight sessions, the crewmember's self-selected diet is monitored over 4 days. The sessions in which diet is controlled or monitored allow researchers to evaluate the effects of diet on bone loss and on bone recovery following flight.
If successful, the study could lead to improvements in bone health during space flight, including development of a countermeasure that is virtually risk free and requires no additional stowage, crew time, power, or other constrained resources.
If successful, the study could lead to improvements in bone health during space flight, with use of a countermeasure that requires no additional stowage, crew time, power, or other constrained resources.Earth Applications
Given the growing trend in the United States toward diets high in animal protein, the proposed research has direct public health significance.
Samples are collected from 16 crewmembers. Sample sessions occur on flight days 15 (± 5 days), 30, 60, 120, and 180 (all ±14 days). If a mission is not exactly 180 days, the final session should be performed within 2 weeks of landing but greater than 3 weeks from previous session. Samples are returned to Earth for analysis within a year of the sampling date.Operational Protocols
During flight, crewmembers consume foods from a prescribed diet (with either a high or a low ratio of animal protein to potassium), during which time they draw blood and collect urine samples. This is repeated five times throughout the mission. The blood samples are processed in the refrigerated centrifuge and then stored in the MELFI. Urine is collected void by void for 24 hours and the samples are stored in the MELFI during dietary intake sessions. Urine pH is measured daily.
The protocol comprises these steps:
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