Earlier this year, Vitamin C was believed to mitigate COVID-19 symptoms.
Although this assumption has since been debunked, few medical professionals would argue against the essential vitamin’s value wholesale.
Vitamin C (alternatively referred to as ascorbic acid) is studied to be the most effective against immune system deficiencies, and cardiovascular disorders.
The recommended daily intake for Vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men, and it can be derived from oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
According to a new paper published in the Journal of Nutrition, Vitamin C can also dramatically improve muscle mass in older populations.
“We aimed to investigate 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 authors wrote in the new paper. “Our findings of positive associations, of both dietary and circulating vitamin C with measures of skeletal muscle mass in middle- and older-aged men and women, suggest that dietary vitamin C intake may be useful for reducing age-related muscle loss.”
The University of East Anglia researchers analyzed the 13,000 men and women involved in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Norfolk cohort study conducted back in 1992. The respondents were between the ages of 42 and 82.
The authors wanted to determine how Vitamin C affects the risk for sarcopenia-a disorder that denotes the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function.
At the end of each during the study period, vitamin C intake was calculated with the help of a food diary.
Skeletal muscle mass was measured alongside vitamin C levels in blood samples collected later.
Typically sarcopenia accompanies age but it could also be the result of dietary deficiencies. Nearly 60% of men and 50% of the women featured in the analysis ere not consuming the recommended intake for vitamin C according to the European Food Safety Agency recommendations.
“As people age, they lose skeletal muscle mass and strength. 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,” lead researcher Professor Ailsa Welch, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, explained in a release. “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.”
Consistently, participants who evidenced the highest amounts of vitamin C via blood samples dually showcased the greatest skeletal muscle mass, compared to those with consumed the lowest amounts.
According to the authors, consuming just one citrus fruit a day and having a vitamin c rich vegetable with your dinner is enough to drastically reduce muscle degeneration in old age.
“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,” Welch concluded.