Defining optimal nutrient requirements is imperative to ensure crew health on long-duration space exploration missions. To date, nutrient requirement data have been extremely limited because of small sample sizes and difficulties associated with collecting biological samples. In this study, we examined changes in body composition, bone metabolism, hematology, general blood chemistry, and blood levels of selected vitamins and minerals after long-duration (128-195 d) space flight aboard the International Space Station. Crew members consumed an average of 80% of the recommended energy intakes, and on landing day their body weight had decreased (P=0.051). After flight, hematocrit was less, and serum femtin was greater than before flight (P〈0.01). Serum iron, ferritin saturation, and transferrin had decreased after flight. The finding that other acute-phase proteins, including ceruloplasmin, retinol binding protein, transthyretin, and albumin were not changed after flight suggests that the changes in iron metabolism may not be strictly due to an inflammatory response. Urinary 8- hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine concentration was greater and superoxide dismutase was less after flight, indicating that oxidative damage had increased (P〈0.05). Despite the reported use of vitamin D supplements during flight, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was significantly decreased after flight (P〈0.01). Bone resorption was increased after flight, as indicated by several urinary markers of bone resorption. Bone formation, assessed by serum concentration of bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, was elevated only in crew members who landed in Russia, probably because of the longer time lapse between landing and sample collection. These data provide evidence that bone loss, compromised vitamin D status, and oxidative damage remain critical concerns for long-duration space flight.