Potential for Synbiotics in Space Travel

Source: International Probiotics Association

Rocketing to outer space may be one escape from earthly pandemics. But as any astronaut can attest, entering microgravity poses its own unique health challenges. For example, gut function and numerous bodily systems are impacted.

Scientists now believe that the microbiota of the gut may be a novel target for combatting some of these observed changes.

Since the early 1970s, the gut microbiome of space travelers has been scrutinized. Newer sequencing technologies developed in the last 20 years have enabled more in-depth analyses of the compositional and functional structure of the gut microbiome and its dynamics during space missions.

Travel in space starts with the launch; preparations for this and experiencing this create a stress. Further, being an astronaut requires quite a change in lifestyle ‘on the job.’ Space travel presents a number of stressors including microgravity, fluid shifts, cosmic radiation, sleep alterations, and confinement. Several of these pre- and post-launch stressors promote gut microbiota dysbiosis, as seen in both animal and human studies.

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