Space travel kills red blood cells

During a long stay in weightlessness, the number of red blood cells and bone marrow in the human body decreases. Scientists are trying to discover the mechanism of this phenomenon, from which astronauts suffer after returning to Earth.

Astronaut on the ISS. Source:

Red blood cells and bone marrow

When astronauts are on the space station for a long time, the number of red blood cells and bone marrow in their bodies becomes less than on Earth. This has been known for a long time. However, in a recently published article, scientists were able to provide new data.

They examined fourteen astronauts a month after the space trip. It turns out that their bone marrow contains significantly less fat than usual. According to researchers, this fact is closely related to the destruction of red blood cells.

Scientists have calculated that in orbit, the body destroys them 54 percent faster than on Earth. There is a special form of anemia that astronauts simply do not notice due to the lack of gravity. But when they return to Earth, the problem makes itself felt, and the body tries to correct the situation by actively producing blood cells from fat.

How it happens

The new study focused on understanding exactly how astronauts’ bodies responded to a lack of red blood cells. To do this, their bone marrow was subjected to magnetic resonance studies, and it was found that immediately after landing, the fat level in it was 4.2 percent below normal.

According to studies, both the level of red blood cells and the level of fat in the bone marrow is restored fairly quickly. However, during the entire time it is reduced, it is difficult for them to exercise and do anything actively at all.

It is also interesting that the younger a person is, the more effectively he has a mechanism for restoring blood cells. Women also demonstrate an increased ability to do this.

According to

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