A new study reveals that older people who eat plenty of vitamin C –commonly found in citrus fruits, berries and vegetables- have the best skeletal muscle mass. This is important because people tend to lose skeletal muscle mass as they get older.
According to researcher Prof Ailsa Welch, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, people lose skeletal muscle mass and strength as they age. “People over 50 lose up to one per cent of their skeletal muscle mass each year, and this loss is thought to affect more than 50 million people worldwide. It’s a big problem, because it can lead to frailty and other poor outcomes such as sarcopenia, physical disability, type-2 diabetes, reduced quality of life and death.”
She continues: “We know that Vitamin C consumption is linked with skeletal muscle mass. It helps defend the cells and tissues that make up the body from potentially harmful free radical substances. Unopposed these free radicals can contribute to the destruction of muscle, thus speeding up age-related decline.”
“But until now, few studies have investigated the importance of Vitamin C intake for older people. We wanted to find out whether people eating more Vitamin C had more muscle mass than other people.”
The research team studied data from more than 13,000 people aged between 42-82 years, who are taking part in the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) Norfolk Study.
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