Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is so essential to protect and boost immune function that it is often referred to as “the muscle of the immune system”. However, new research published in The Journal of Nutrition shows that it can also help people over 50 to maintain muscle mass.
For the gray population of the United States, this could be very good news indeed. Experts say people over the age of 50 lose up to one percent of their skeletal muscle each year, potentially leading to age-related muscle wasting and muscle atrophy. While natural healers have long praised vitamin C for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties, the study is among the first to investigate the importance of dietary vitamin C intake for older people. So let’s take a look.
A large study highlights the ability of vitamin C to protect muscle mass
The study, which involved more than 13,000 middle-aged and 42- to 82-year-old participants, looked at whether people who ate more vitamin C had more muscle mass than other people. Maintaining muscle mass is increasingly important as we age, as age-related muscle atrophy (known as sarcopenia) is associated with physical disability, frailty, an increased likelihood of falling, type 2 diabetes, and increased mortality.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia analyzed data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, using information from a seven-day food diary to analyze dietary intake, along with analysis of dietary intake. bioelectrical impedance to analyze muscle mass. Incidentally, the team classified blood levels below 50 umol / L (micromoles per liter) of vitamin C as “insufficient”, with levels of 50 or above classified as “sufficient”.
Scientists found that people with the highest amount of vitamin C in their diet or blood had the largest estimated skeletal muscle mass (compared to those with the lowest amounts), leading the team to conclude that vitamin C can be “helpful in reducing age – related muscle loss”.
Researchers credit the antioxidant effects of vitamin C
Scientists know that harmful free radicals can contribute to the destruction of muscles and the speed of age-related decline. But this is where Vitamin C can come to the rescue. Study leader Professor Alisa Welch, a researcher at Norwich Medical School in the United Arab Emirates, noted, “As people age, they lose skeletal muscle mass and strength. Vitamin C helps defend cells and tissues…. from potentially harmful free radical substances “.
Since the body does not produce vitamin C, it must be obtained through the diet. (Hence, its designation as an essential vitamin.) Although severe deficiencies are rare in developed nations, it is not uncommon for people to have low or “insufficient” levels of vitamin C. For example, researchers have found that nearly 60% of the men and 50% of the women in the study did not consume the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, recommended by medical authorities 75 to 90 mg per day for adults. (Smokers are advised to consume an extra 35 mg per day).
The team pointed out that vitamin C is readily available in fruits and vegetables, as well as in supplemental form, and called the improvement in intake “relatively simple”.
Vitamin C makes an important “to do” list of life-sustaining functions
When it comes to maintaining health, Vitamin C juggles many tasks. For example, this important micronutrient is necessary for the production of collagen, which promotes skin health and keeps the arteries flexible and elastic, thus helping to prevent narrowing of the arteries and the development of atherosclerosis. And Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant in its own right, it helps regenerate other essential antioxidants in the body, including Vitamin E and the “master antioxidant” glutathione.
Additionally, vitamin C also improves iron absorption and boosts immune function while promoting the production of the beneficial nitric oxide.
Research shows that vitamin C helps limit the formation of carcinogens, such as nitrosamines, in the body. And, as the study shows, it helps prevent oxidative damage that can trigger the development of cancer and heart disease.
Increasing your vitamin C intake can pay a lot of health dividends
It pays to stay “refilled” with vitamin C. Epidemiological studies have suggested that a high intake of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of many well-known (unwanted) health conditions. And a review posted on Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism has shown that having healthy levels of vitamin C can reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory problems.
You can increase your vitamin C intake with your diet by eating healthy amounts of citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, and broccoli. (Sweet red peppers – at 120 mg of vitamin C per cup – are the official “highringers”.) Other good sources are raspberries, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, and even baked potatoes. For the maximum benefit, look for the organic rate whenever possible.
Many natural health experts reject the National Institutes of Health’s recommendation (75 to 90 mg per day for adults) as too low. Natural healers and integrative doctors typically recommend vitamin C supplementation at levels up to 1,000-3,000 mg per day. And, in some cases, it could be even more, depending on your health status.
However, check with your doctor first before adding vitamin C to your health routine.
Experts often recommend a liposomal formulation of vitamin C, which is better for cellular absorption and can help avoid the unpleasant digestive side effects associated with larger amounts in powder or tablet form. Another important point: always look for a high quality formulation free of fillers, additives, added sugars and gluten.
As they say, “Getting old is not for the weak”. But it is good to know that vitamin C appears to be an effective, convenient and safe substance for preserving all-important muscle mass as we age.
Republished by NaturalHealth365
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