Forskningscentrum för internationella marknader (CEMAT)

NDI Policy Brief 19: Human biomonitoring is needed to improve well-being and mental health of Arctic people

Northern Dimension Institute Policy Briefs give concrete, research-based policy recommendations to address a relevant and timely societal challenge in the Northern Dimension area.
Photo of two women and reindeers in Nenets Region of Russian Arctic
Image by Yu. Varakina, NArFU


This policy brief focuses on the importance and necessity of human biomonitoring in the Arctic. An individualized monitoring system is needed to assess the risks of public health disorders (including mental health) which result from the deficiencies of essential trace elements and vitamin D. These deficiencies are caused mainly by the unbalanced local diets combined with the lack of sunlight in the North, and they affect not only a person’s physiological health but also his or her mental state and social well-being. At the moment we do not have enough data on the nutritional situation in the Arctic, but the few publications available highlight the relevance of the problem of deficiencies for Arctic residents. This Policy Brief summarizes what essential elements and vitamin D are, and how their deficits and overabundance affect the human body. It further elaborates the following policy recommendations for addressing this issue:

● Recommendation 1. To develop and implement an individualized monitoring system of essential elements and vitamin status of Arctic residents.
Recommendation 2. To inform people living in the Arctic about health risks connected with essential nutrients deficiencies, and to develop dietary recommendations for those Arctic residents who maintain the traditional way of life.
Recommendation 3. To supply remote Arctic settlements with bioactive food additives, when needed.
Recommendation 4. To strengthen international and interdisciplinary research cooperation on the topic by establishing a network of focal competence centers.

Download the Policy Brief:
Culture must be recognized as a driver of sustainable development (PDF)

For more information, please contact the author:
TATIANA SOROKINA | Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU) | [email protected] |

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