Retain Muscle Mass with Vitamin C
“Bulking up” evokes images of bodybuilders and possible steroid use, but new research shows that older people that simply eat lots of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables have greater skeletal muscle mass than those that don’t eat these foods. Researchers from the UK’s University of East Anglia collected data from more than 13,000 people between 42 and 82 years old and reported in The Journal of Nutrition that the highest amounts of vitamin C correlated with the greatest estimated skeletal muscle mass—an important finding, as people older than 50 typically lose half a percent of muscle fat each year, leading to frailty and a lower quality of life. Sixty percent of men in the study and 50 percent of women were not getting enough vitamin C from food or supplements. “We’re not talking about people needing megadoses. Eating a citrus fruit such as an orange each day and having a vegetable side to a meal will be sufficient for most people,” says study co-author Richard Hayhoe.