Diet rich in vitamin C may help muscles stay strong in later life.

Age-related loss of muscle strength is a common occurrence in elderly people. Low skeletal muscle mass can lead to many health issues like sarcopenia, physical disability, frailty, type 2 diabetes, poor quality of life and mortality. People who turn 50 should take extra care of their diet to avoid losing muscle strength in later life. If the findings of a recent study are to be believed, vitamin C-rich diet can play a huge role in retaining muscle strength in people over 50. 

Vitamin C has physiological relevance to skeletal muscle and may protect it during aging. Researchers at University of East Anglia (UEA) claimed after doing a thorough research to determine cross-sectional associations of dietary and plasma vitamin C with proxy measures of skeletal muscle mass in a large cohort of middle- and older-aged individuals. The findings of the study were published in ‘The Journal Of Nutrition’. 

Lead researcher Prof Ailsa Welch, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School said, “We investigated the cross-sectional associations between indexes of FFM and dietary intake, as well as circulating concentrations, of vitamin C, in a population of 13,000 free-living men and women in the United Kingdom in middle and older age. We also sought to determine the associations in those older and younger than 65 y of age.”

Dietary intake of each participant was assessed using a 7-d food diary. The participants recorded all food and drink consumed within a 7-d period, including details of portion sizes. The mechanistic roles for vitamin C in skeletal muscle physiology include the synthesis of carnitine and collagen. Collagen is a key structural component of skeletal muscle cells and tendons, and carnitine is essential for metabolism of long-chain fatty acids during physical activity.

Analysis of dietary data for our cohort showed that for both men and women the greatest contributors to vitamin C intake were fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and fruit juices. Although such foods are typically readily available and easy to prepare and small increases in daily consumption should be achievable, limitations in income, access, and availability exist in at-risk populations,” added Prof Welch. 

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By Papa