Sarcopenia is characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function during aging and affects more than 50 million people worldwide over the age of 50 years old. Skeletal muscle is involved in voluntary movement and structural support and so a reduction in amount and strength can lead to frailty, reduced quality of life, and death. It may also cause metabolic disturbances, affecting conversion of food to energy in the body, with implications for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin C is a nutrient found in fruits and vegetables and can help 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.
This study examined the relationship between dietary and blood vitamin C and the estimated mass of muscle in individuals within a large group of older men and women. We found people with the highest amounts of vitamin C in their diet or blood had greater estimated muscle mass, compared to those with the lowest amounts. This study suggests that dietary vitamin C is relevant for muscle health in older people and may be useful for preventing age 40 related muscle loss.
- Lucy N Lewis, Richard P G Hayhoe, Angela A Mulligan, Robert N Luben, Kay-Tee Khaw, Ailsa A Welch. Lower Dietary and Circulating Vitamin C in Middle- and Older-Aged Men and Women Are Associated with Lower Estimated Skeletal Muscle Mass The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 150, Issue 10, October 2020 DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa221