Can Vitamin C Help Maintain Muscle Mass?

Loss of muscle mass, especially in older individuals, is a major health problem Scientists have estimated that after the age of 50 we lose up to one percent of our total muscle mass per year.  Obviously, we can take steps to minimize this loss, exercise and nutrition being two of the most important. A recent study suggests a third measure...Vitamin C.

Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, plays an important physiological role in neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are implicated in aging, inflammatory conditions and diseases such as cancer and even loss of muscle mass. Until now, the relationship between Vitamin C and muscle mass loss has not been tested. In a recently published study involving over 13,000 subjects, 42-82 years of age, researchers measured muscle mass, dietary consumption of Vitamin C and Vitamin C blood levels. They found subjects with the highest amounts of Vitamin C in their diet also had the highest skeletal muscle mass. They also noted that over 50% of men and women did not consume sufficient levels of Vitamin C each day.

The good news is normal levels of Vitamin C consumption is all that is necessary. Two servings of foods high in Vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruit, leafy vegetables or tomatoes, provides muscle maintenance benefits.