The advice from NASA scientists at the San Jose mine, near Copiapo, northern Chile is to regulate their day and night sleep patterns, boost their vitamin D intake and introduce a program of exercise as their nutrition improves.
Vitamin D is an essential fat soluble vitamin used in the absorption of calcium for our bodies, and a lack of it can have serious health consequences such as bone softening diseases, muscle weakness, and depression. One source of this vitamin is from foods that we eat, such as oily fish or fortified dairy products, but by far the biggest source of our vitamin D intake is from exposure to sunshine. When the sun's UV-B rays hit the skin, a reaction takes place that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D.
Clearly being trapped underground in the dark, and with a diet limited to what can be delivered to them via a narrow tube, the miner’s health is a huge cause for concern and requires constant monitoring. But this surely must be the easier task, when compared to the job of monitoring and evaluating their mental health and well-being – a far less tangible thing.