Caloric restriction decreases orthostatic tolerance independently from 6° head-down bedrest

John P. Florian, Friedhelm J. Baisch, Martina Heer, James A. Pawelczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Astronauts consume fewer calories during spaceflight and return to earth with an increased risk of orthostatic intolerance. Whether a caloric deficiency modifies orthostatic responses is not understood. Thus, we determined the effects of a hypocaloric diet (25% caloric restriction) during 6° head down bedrest (an analog of spaceflight) on autonomic neural control during lower body negative pressure (LBNP). Nine healthy young men completed a randomized crossover bedrest study, consisting of four (2 weeks each) interventions (normocaloric bedrest, normocaloric ambulatory, hypocaloric bedrest, hypocaloric ambulatory), each separated by 5 months. Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) was recorded at baseline following normocaloric and hypocaloric interventions. Heart rate (HR) and arterial pressure were recorded before, during, and after 3 consecutive stages (7 min each) of LBNP (-15, -30, -45 mmHg). Caloric and posture effects during LBNP were compared using two-way ANOVA with repeated measures. There was a strong trend toward reduced basal MSNA following caloric restriction alone (normcaloric vs. hypocaloric: 22±3 vs. 14±4 burst/min, p = 0.06). Compared to the normocaloric ambulatory, both bedrest and caloric restriction were associated with lower systolic blood pressure during LBNP (p<0.01); however, HR responses were directionally opposite (i.e., increase with bedrest, decrease with caloric restriction). Survival analysis revealed a significant reduction in orthostatic tolerance following caloric restriction (normocaloric finishers: 12/16; hypocaloric finishers: 6/16; χ2, p = 0.03). Caloric restriction modifies autonomic responses to LBNP, which may decrease orthostatic tolerance after spaceflight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0118812
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 27 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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