Vitamin C May Help Improve Muscle Mass Later in Life

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Vitamin C can help improve muscle mass later in life, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Individuals tend to lose skeletal mass as they age, which in turn can lead to sarcopenia, frailty, and a reduced quality of life. People over 50 years of age lose up to 1% of muscle mass per year, which can lead to frailty, physical disabilities, and type 2 diabetes, according to the study. 

The study authors examined data from more than 13,000 people between the ages of 42 and 82 years. The data were sourced from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Norfolk Study. Participants filled out a 7-day food diary to calculate vitamin C intake and researchers then calculated their skeletal mass. 

The study showed that 60% of men and 50% of women do not intake as much vitamin C as suggested by the European Food Safety Agency. Participants with the highest levels of vitamin C in their diet or blood had the greatest estimated muscle mass compared to those with the lowest amount. 

“We are very excited by our findings as they suggest that dietary vitamin C is important for muscle health in older men and women and may be useful for preventing age-related muscle loss…This is particularly significant as vitamin C is readily available in fruits and vegetables, or supplements, so improving intake of this vitamin is relatively straightforward,” Richard Hayhoe, PhD, senior research associate at the University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School, said in the press release. 

Vitamin C is most commonly found in citrus fruits, berries, and vegetables. Mega-dosing isn’t necessary, however, as having a citrus fruit and a vegetable side with your meals will be sufficient for the majority of people, according to the study. 

Reference:

How vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass (Press Release) East Anglia, UK, August 26, 2020, EurekAlert! Accessed August 26, 2020

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