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Dietary Management of Marine Induced Stress

What is motion sickness/ sea sickness?

Seasickness is motion sickness or nausea that happens only when you are on the water. The inner ear becomes unbalanced due to the rocking motion of a boat or ship. The key to effective prevention for the problems associated with marine environment is to recognize and react to earliest symptoms. The common dietary tips to circumvent the sea environment induced stress are eat moderately, force to eat and drink (broth, saltines and candy, for instance) frequently in small amounts. It won’t all stay down, but net loss of fluid, glucose and electrolyte due to vomiting will be much reduced.

Obesity is an increasingly prevalent and important health problem associated with sailors. Functional foods for obesity may include bioactive fatty acids, phenolic compounds, soybean, plant sterols, dietary calcium and dietary fiber. Fatigue is another disorder that is frequently encountered along with sea sickness and obesity among sailors. Chronic fatigue lasts longer and is more profound. Fatigue isn't the same thing as sleepiness, although it's often accompanied by a desire to sleep — and a lack of motivation to do anything else. Our studies have shown the anti-fatigue properties of the rhizome of asparagus, arils of pomegranate and peel and bark of arjuna.

The problems associated with marine environment are caused by the rocking motion of the craft. Most people tend to concentrate on the inner surroundings or close the eyes and try to sleep. This will cease the worst effect of the disturbance. The real cause is in the brain, which receives conflicting signals: while the eyes show a world that is still, our body, and in particular the equilibrium sensors located in our ears, send signals of a moving environment. This discordance causes the mind to send to the whole body a general alarm signal, in order to stop all activities, in particular the most complex of all: the digestion process. The general term for the marine environment induced stress is sea sickness.

The part of the brain that controls balance becomes confused because it sees objects that are normally stationary, such as pictures and furniture, suddenly become mobile. Seasickness begins with a cold sweat, followed by an upset stomach with fatigue and ends in nausea and vomiting.

One of the most widely recommended remedies is Transderm Scop, a scopolamine patch applied behind the ear at least eight hours before exposure, with effectiveness for up to three days. The Scop is preventive, not a treatment, and can cause possible side effects such as dry mouth, blurry vision, drowsiness and dizziness. Stronger, more effective prescription drugs include Promethazine and ephedrine, which when taken together produce quick results as well as potential side effects such as sleepiness. Another option is suppositories, administered by the ship's physician only, which work magic for some people. 

The key to effective prevention for the problems associated with marine environment is to recognize and react to earliest symptoms. As symptoms advance, stomach awareness turns to nausea, the face becomes pale, particularly around the nose and mouth, and hands and face become cold and clammy. Belching, salivating and flatulence are common. Concentration on mental tasks becomes difficult. Eventually nausea comes in waves, and increases almost inevitably to vomiting. Subsequent attacks of vomiting typically develop with less warning than the first.

What are the symptoms of motion sickness?

Motion sickness can strike and make you break out in a cold sweat and feel like you need to throw up. Other common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness

  • Increase in saliva production

  • Loss of apetite

  • Pale skin

In addition, some people get headaches, feel very tired, or have shallow breathing.

What are the factors can make it worse?

You can't catch seasickness. It is not a virus, although sometimes if people around you are sick, it makes you feel that way too.There are three main seasickness triggers that should be avoided during your first few hours on the cruise ship.

  • Do not go below deck for extended time periods. Try to find a window or porthole and keep your eyes gazing (but not fixed) on the horizon.

  • Do not look through binoculars for long periods of time.

  • Do not stare at objects your brain will interpret as stable. Anything that involves staring at one point such as reading a book, doing detailed needlework, or even staring at a compass might bring on a bout of seasickness.

Medications for motion sickness:

Scopolamine patches, worn behind the ear like a tiny band-aid, are the most common prescription drugs for seasickness. Scopolamine also comes in pill form. The patches last up to three days, provide time-release doses of the drug, and are usually very effective for preventing nausea.

The common dietary tips to circumvent the marine environment induced stress are as follows:

Eat Moderately

There isn’t much strong scientific evidence indicating that susceptibility to seasickness is influenced by eating or avoiding certain foods, even though this idea is mentioned frequently in older textbooks. It is advised to feel free to eat moderate amount of whatever foods you find appealing. Diet becomes important only if vomiting occurs.

Replace Nutrients

Sometime a case of seasickness is limited to a single episode of vomiting. However, particularly in heavy weather, repeated attacks of vomiting and retching ("dry heaves") are common. Vomiting brings temporary relief from nausea, but after several episodes, weaknesses, drowsiness and apathy typically result. Sufferers usually are able to respond physically to real emergencies for a day or so. However, if you vomit repeatedly and don’t eat because you feel nauseous, eventually you will "hit the wall" and become weak, confused and eventually incapacitated. Your breath will smell like acetone. To prevent this, force yourself to eat and drink (broth, saltines and candy, for instance) frequently in small amounts. It won’t all stay down, but your net loss of fluid, glucose and electrolyte due to vomiting will be much reduced.

The food on a cruise ship might be tempting, but it's better to stick to bland foods like crackers and bread. Following the B.R.A.T. diet, which stands for bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast, helps. Stay away from alcoholic drinks and substitute water or tea. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea. The ginger in the capsules and cookies must be real ginger, rather than artificial ginger flavoring. If you can find ginger ale containing real ginger, taking small and frequent sips can alleviate nausea. The root can be taken in various forms, including powder, tea, pill and candy. Some swear that eating green apples helps with nausea, and some ships offer plates of green apples and crackers on their room service menus.

Health issues associated with sailors:

Obesity

Obesity is an increasingly prevalent and important health problem associated with sailors.  Strategies for weight control management affect gut hormones as potential targets for the appetite metabolic regulation, stimulation of energy expenditure (thermogenesis), and modifications in the metabolic activity of the gut microbiota. Functional foods for obesity may also include bioactive fatty acids, phenolic compounds, soybean, plant sterols, dietary calcium and dietary fiber. Anti-obesity effects of dietary supplemented amino acid have been reported. Among amino acids, lysine is the most potent amino acid to reduce adiposity, since it decreases diet induced obesity as well as hyperlipidemia. Studies have shown that the addition of raspberry ketones help reverse the weight gain induced by the high-fat diet. The study's authors also found that raspberry ketones appeared to protect against the buildup of fat in the liver. Raspberry ketones are the compounds that give red raspberries (Rubus idaeus) their sweet aroma, and are extracted from the fruit and sold in dietary supplement form.

Anti-obesity effect of fucoxanthin is well reported because it reduces the fat accumulation in abdominal white adipose tissue (WAT) through the UCP1 induction in the WAT. Interestingly, fucoxanthin is effective in subjects with obesity and with metabolic disorders, but not in normal ones. Therefore, fucoxanthin will be a desirable nutraceuticals fighting against obesity and related metabolic disorders.

Fatigue

Fatigue is another disorder that is frequently encountered along with sea sickness and obesity among sailors. Chronic fatigue lasts longer and is more profound. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and diminishes your energy and mental capacity. Fatigue at this level impacts your emotional and psychological well-being, too. Fatigue isn't the same thing as sleepiness, although it's often accompanied by a desire to sleep — and a lack of motivation to do anything else. In some cases, fatigue is a symptom of an underlying medical problem that requires medical treatment. Most of the time, however, fatigue can be traced to one or more of our habits or routines like movement in sea. Our studies have shown the anti-fatigue properties of the rhizome of asparagus, arils of pomegranate and peel and bark of arjuna. They can be a part of the food that could be developed for the anti-fatigue properties.

Prof. Deshmukh S.H., Prof.Thakur P.P.

Assistant Professor,

Queens College of Food technology and Research Foundation, Aurangabad.

Saedeshmukh93@gmail.com, 9763333574


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