Over the years we tend to lose muscle mass. And this is a problem as it can lead to sarcopenia, namely the loss of muscle mass, strength and function, but it can also cause weakness and frailty, type 2 diabetes and a reduced quality of life. However, it seems that a diet capable of ensuring adequate amounts of vitamin C helps to preserve muscle mass in over 50. This is the result of a very recent scientific research that appeared a few days ago in The Journal of Nutrition (Lewis et al, The Journal of Nutrition, Aug 2020).
The researchers drew on data from more than 13,000 people aged 42 to 82, who are taking part in the EPIC, European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, Norfolk Study, a large study aimed at understanding the connection between diet, lifestyle and cancer. Muscle mass and the amount of vitamin C consumed in the diet were calculated for each person thanks to a weekly diary in which the study participants noted their diet. Not only that, the amount of vitamin C in the blood was also analyzed. What emerged was that those who had the highest levels of vitamin C, both in their diet and in their blood, had more muscle mass than those who had the lowest amount of vitamin C. The explanation of the authors of the study is that vitamin C protects cells and tissues from free radical damage that, otherwise, would be free to attack and destroy muscles, accelerating the age-related decline.
As indicated by the scientists themselves, the study is noteworthy as it suggests that vitamin C may help prevent age-related muscle loss. And we're not talking about huge amounts of vitamin C, but dietary vitamin C. So, eating a citrus or berry fruit and a vegetable side dish that includes lettuce, or spinach, broccoli and radicchio every day can ensure an adequate amount of vitamin C.