Nutritional considerations during prolonged exposure to a confined, hyperbaric, hyperoxic environment: recommendations for saturation divers.
Deb, Sanjoy K.
Swinton, Paul Alan
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DEB, S.K., SWINTON, P.A. and DOLAN, E. 2016. Nutritional considerations during prolonged exposure to a confined, hyperbaric, hyperoxic environment: recommendations for saturation divers. Extreme physiology and medicine [online], 5, article number 1. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13728-015-0042-9
Saturation diving is an occupation that involves prolonged exposure to a confined, hyperoxic, hyperbaric environment. The unique and extreme environment is thought to result in disruption to physiological and metabolic homeostasis, which may impact human health and performance. Appropriate nutritional intake has the potential to alleviate and/or support many of these physiological and metabolic concerns, whilst enhancing health and performance in saturation divers. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to identify the physiological and practical challenges of saturation diving and consequently provide evidence-based nutritional recommendations for saturation divers to promote health and performance within this challenging environment. Saturation diving has a high-energy demand, with an energy intake of between 44 and 52 kcal/kg body mass per day recommended, dependent on intensity and duration of underwater activity. The macronutrient composition of dietary intake is in accordance with the current Institute of Medicine guidelines at 45-65 % and 20-35 % of total energy intake for carbohydrate and fat intake, respectively. A minimum daily protein intake of 1.3 g/kg body mass is recommended to facilitate body composition maintenance. Macronutrient intake between individuals should, however, be dictated by personal preference to support the attainment of an energy balance. A varied diet high in fruit and vegetables is highly recommended for the provision of sufficient micronutrients to support physiological processes, such as vitamin B12 and folate intake to facilitate red blood cell production. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, are also recommended to reduce oxidised molecules, e.g. free radicals, whilst selenium and zinc intake may be beneficial to reinforce endogenous antioxidant reserves. In addition, tailored hydration and carbohydrate fueling strategies for underwater work are also advised.