Adaptive Changes in Basal Metabolic Rate in Humans in Different Eco-Geographical Areas
Our aim was to establish whether the human basal metabolic rate (BMR) shifts towards the reduction of vital functions as an adaptation response to extreme environmental conditions. Data was collected in arid and Extreme North zones. The arid zone samples included Bedouins living in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, Turkmen students, the Pedagogical University of Chardzhou, Turkmenistan born Russians and Russian soldiers. Soldiers were divided into 3 groups according to the length of their tour of duty in the area: 1st group: up to six months, 2nd group: up to 2 years and the 3rd group: 3-5 years. The Extreme North samples comprised Chukchi natives, 1st generation Russian immigrants born in the area and 3 groups of soldiers comparable to the soldiers from Turkmenistan. BMR values of the new recruits had the highest values of total and relative BMR (1769±16 and 28.3±0.6, correspondingly). The total and relative BMR tended to decrease within a longer adaptation period. The BMR values of officers who served >3 years in Turkmenistan were very similar to the Turkmenistan born Russians (1730±14 vs. 1726±18 and 26.5±0.6 vs. 27.3±0.7, correspondingly). Similarly, in Chukotka, the highest relative BMR was found in the new recruits, serving up to 6 months (28.1±0.7) and was significantly (p<0.05) lower in the Russians serving in Chukotka over 1.5 years (27.1±0.3). The BMR was virtually similar in Russian officers serving >3 years, compared to the middle-aged Chukchi or Chukotka-born Russians (25.8±0.5 vs. 25.6±0.5 and 25.5±0.6, correspondingly). The BMR parameters demonstrated a stronger association with body weight than with age. In extreme environmental conditions, migrant populations showed a decrease in BMR, thus reducing its vital functions. The BMR reduction effect with the adequate adaptive transformation is likely to be the key strategy for developing programs to facilitate human and animal adaptation to extreme factors. This process is aimed at preserving the optimum energy balance and homeostasis while minimizing stress on the body’s vital functions.