Objective.—Antarctic expeditioners face extremes of environmental conditions along with isolation which affect normal human activity at a polar station. Diets of polar expeditioners consist of products that have been kept in storage for more than a year. Processing and preservation adversely affect the nutritive value of the food products, especially water-soluble vitamins. This study was conducted to determine water-soluble vitamin status of Antarctic expeditioners consuming processed canned food.
Methods.—Twenty-two healthy male volunteers age 26 to 56 years (39.5 ± 8.5, mean ± SD) participated in the study. The study was conducted in 3 phases: at Goa, India (phase I), 48 hours after arriving in Antarctica (phase II) and after 1 month in Antarctica (phase III). Water-soluble vitamin status in erythrocytes was assessed at each phase with evaluation of riboflavin, thiamine, and pyridoxine status. Urinary N-methyl nicotinamide and methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels were measured to assess niacin and vitamin B12 status. Blood plasma assays were used to assess ascorbic acid status.
Results.—No significant changes in riboflavin, thiamine, and pyridoxine status in erythrocytes and urinary excretion levels were observed after 1 month in Antarctica. Vitamin C levels decreased significantly (P < .001) after 1 month in Antarctica compared with basal values (1.31 ± 0.076 mg/dL during phase I to 0.81 ± 0.063 mg/dL during phase III). However, these levels were still within the normal reference range.
Conclusion.—This study found no water-soluble vitamin deficiencies in participants consuming processed and canned food after 1 month in Antarctica.