Vitamin C could be the solution to gaining strong muscles in middle-aged and older men and women, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia (UEA), in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the Strangeways Research Laboratory.
Loss of skeletal muscle mass due to age is associated with adverse health effects such as sarcopenia, motor disability, weakness, type 2 diabetes and the possibility of mortality. Specifically, sarcopenia is a pathological condition that affects over 50 million people over the age of 50 and is a progressive loss of muscle mass and endurance.
The study’s lead researcher, Professor Ailsa Welch, of the UEA Norwich Medical School, said: “We know that vitamin C intake is linked to skeletal muscle mass. Helps protect cells and tissues of the body from potentially harmful free radicals. Free radicals are likely to be responsible for muscle damage. To date, few studies have investigated the importance of vitamin C intake in older populations. We wanted to know if people who get more vitamin C maintain their muscle mass.
Samples were analyzed from more than 13,000 people aged 42-82, participants in the Norfolk study of the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation on Cancer and Nutrition). The EPIC study includes approximately 500,000 participants in studies in 10 European countries, originally designed to investigate the relationship between diet and cancer.
More specifically, dietary intake was assessed using a 7-day food diary, in which participants recorded all foods and beverages consumed over a 7-day period. This method has been shown to be the most accurate in estimating nutrient intake. In addition, non-nutritional data were collected through health and lifestyle questionnaires, which had to be answered at each health check.
Subsequently, vitamin C in the blood plasma was tested. Dr. Richard Hayhoe, a member of the research team from the Norwich Medical School of the UEA, said that the results of the study showed that older people with higher levels of vitamin C had increased muscle mass compared to people with lower levels of the vitamin.
According to research data, vitamin C can be consumed as a precaution in cases of loss of muscle mass due to age. The study found that about 60% of men and 50% of women did not consume adequate amounts of vitamin C, following the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may cover the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Dr. Richard Hayhoe added: “Eating citrus fruits, such as an orange every day and eating vegetables at a meal, will be enough for most people.”
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