Alaska backcountry expeditionary hunting promotes rapid improvements in metabolic biomarkers in healthy males and females

Melynda S. Coker, Kaylee Ladd, Carl J. Murphy, Brent C. Ruby, Timothy C. Shriver, Dale A. Schoeller, Bradley R. Newcomer, Terry Bateman, Larry Bartlett, Robert H. Coker

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4 Scopus citations


We have previously reported negative energy balance and health benefits during an Alaska backcountry expeditionary hunting (ABEH) immersion in two males. The purpose of our present study was to increase the number of participants, include females, and evaluate macronutrient intake and serum lipids. Four men (age: 46 ± 6 year, BMI: 26 ± 1 kg/m2) and three women (age: 46 ± 11 year, BMI: 25 ± 3 kg/m2) were recruited. Doubly labeled water methodology and dietary recall were utilized to assess energy expenditure and energy intake, respectively. Data were collected during pre- and post-ABEH visits. Body composition was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and the cross-sectional area of skeletal muscle in the upper leg (XT), and intrahepatic lipid (IHL) was determined using magnetic resonance imaging and/or spectroscopy (MRI/MRS). Blood parameters were measured by LabCorp. Paired T-tests were used for statistical analysis. Data are reported as mean ± SD and considered significant at p < 0.05. Total energy intake was 7.7 ± 3.4 MJ/day and total energy expenditure was 17.4 ± 2.6 MJ/day, resulting in a negative energy balance of −9.7 ± 3.4 MJ/day. Protein intake(grams)/body weight(kilograms)/day was 1.0 ± 0.4. There were reductions in body weight (Δ-1.5 ± 0.7 kg), BMI (Δ-0.3 ± 0.2 kg/m2), fat mass (Δ-1.7 ± 0.9 kg), and IHL (Δ-0.3 ± 0.3% water peak). There were no changes in lean tissue mass (Δ0.6 ± 1.4 kg) or XT (Δ-1.3 ± 3.3 cm2). There were significant reductions in total cholesterol (Δ-44 ± 35 mg/dl), LDL-cholesterol (Δ-25 ± 14 mg/dl), VLDL-cholesterol (Δ-7 ± 7 mg/dl), and triglycerides (Δ-35 ± 33 mg/dl). The ABEH immersion resulted in considerable negative energy balance and provided comprehensive benefits in metabolic health without any reduction in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14682
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • adipose tissue
  • energy expenditure
  • intrahepatic lipid
  • serum lipid
  • skeletal muscle


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