What happens to our metabolism in space?

What happens to our metabolism in space?

What happens to our metabolism in space? Stay there for long periods can be harmful. This is shown by numerous studies, which have shown only the tip of the iceberg

It is not difficult to run into articles on what happens to astronauts spend some time in space. Some muscle problems, growing up a little or even the curious effect of silent snoring. But it’s hard to know what happens to your metabolism when you’re up there. Does the same? The processes by which, day by day, we digestion, breathe, renew our cells, smell, taste, feel, think … in short, live, what happens ? Is there much difference? This question is becoming leading researchers since the space race began. And many are the discoveries made so far on the metabolismo in space.

Metabolism in space is slower

In general, if we were to summarize very roughly speaking what happens to our metabolism in space would say that slows. Not in the strict sense, but practical. Being in space, the first thing that happens is a change in protein metabolism. The body is unable to provide sufficient speed proteins and muscle loses consistency, slight but significant . From this we derive some muscle problems and is essentially due to the lack of gravity. This also affects other compounds such as sodium, essential for movement and other metabolic processes. Sodium take it with salt, among many other foods, and is rapidly eliminated In the production of protein becomes significantly slower thanks to our regulatory system and because It is very soluble in water.

However, in space sodium tend to stay longer in our body. It is not so easily removed and seems independent of aldosterone, a hormone responsible for the regulation, which on earth. This, though it does not have to be dangerous, is necessary to review their quantity in the body during long stays in space, in addition to to influence various metabolic processes in space . The bones have also been one of the main objects of study.

 metabolism in space

Thomas Marshburn, Roman Romanenko and Chris Hadfield on his return from the ISS. It took several weeks of recovery. Source: O.canada

The calcification produced by bone osteocytes longer occurs so efficiently because hypothetically to lack of gravity and the slight increase of blood cortisol. Calcium accumulates in other areas and is excreted more easily while not well attached to the bone, the potential danger of causing osteoporosis . Although it has recently been discovered that can alleviate some of this problem with the appropriate selection of space candidates and adding specific exercises, the binding of calcium remains one of the major problems of metabolism in space.

Anemia, colds and accumulation of fat

What happens to the fat and energy? As we mentioned before, everything seems slowed metabolism. This time the culprit is the lack of activity, since the body is not subjected to the constant pressure of gravity. This causes generate more fat and less energy , is spent along with a feeling of numbness and more. Luckily this does not happen to our astronauts due to its careful food (and the lack of fast food stalls on the ISS). On the other hand, associated with the metabolism of sodium we mentioned before, has also seen an increase in cortisol, which may increase the catabolism, ie the metabolic consumption of sugars and fats which would offset the The lack of gravity causes greater accumulation of fat and a slight iron deficiency anemia accumulation. While, yes, it is too light to eat like pigs ask without gaining an ounce.

The cortisol, besides affecting fat and bone, causing some off our immune system , so it is relatively easier sick in space. Blood, moreover, also have certain variations in space metabolism. Astronauts often suffer from iron deficiency anemia, ie, lack of iron. The lack of gravity causes the reduction of between 10 and 15% of total blood volume (due inter alia to a slight decrease of the heart). Unfortunately, although there has been a buildup of iron in the bodies of astronauts finished yet understand what might this mean for a long stay in space. As you will, the human body is not adapted to living in space. Although you can get used quickly.

 Future Mission

Samantha Cristoforetti on the Soyuz, training. Source: ESA

We do not know what would happen to a really long time.. That is, several years or more , which now escapes us but we fear it would be quite harmful to our body. Much remains to be discovered and some of the most interesting research in this regard will be made during the Futura mission, led by Samantha Cristoforetti mission. All with the goal of one day being able to send our astronauts on much longer, in search of new mysteries and perhaps conquer new planets long journey. But first we must strive to better understand our metabolism in space


What happens to our metabolism in space?
Source: english  
February 12, 2015

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