Vitamin C is a super nutrient. It’s long been used to boost immunity and provide beneficial antioxidant effects. Now, a new study is showing that it might help keep your muscles more robust.
First immunity, now muscle. Vitamin C might not be the first nutrient you think of when it comes to muscle, but research published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests it could play a vital role in muscle mass, particularly for women.
The study found that adults who consumed more vitamin C regularly had higher muscle mass than those who got less. This is beneficial news to aging individuals who are at risk for muscle loss.
People over 50 can lose up to one percent of their muscle mass per year, which can lead to weakness, sarcopenia, and potential disability.
Reduced muscle mass and strength can also lead people to exercise less and increase the chance of a sedentary life, which can cause further problems. All in all, muscle is very important to your health.
Vitamin C may help you retain muscle in a few ways. For one, it is essential for collagen production. Collagen plays a role in rebuilding weak or damaged muscle.
Another is that it plays a role in non-heme iron absorption. Iron helps promote healthy levels of oxygen in muscles to help keep cells alive and strong.
This valuable antioxidant is not all you need for strong muscles, but the research does suggest it can play an important role. Coupled with a high-protein diet and resistance exercise, vitamin C may be another component of healthy muscles.
It’s recommended that adult women get 75 mg per day. That is easily achieved with a nutritious diet. A couple of servings of fruit or vegetables will quickly get you there. Supplementation is also an option, with safe doses in the 1,000 mg range.
As always, food should be the first option. You can get a generous serving of muscle-healthy vitamin C from:
- Red pepper
- Leafy greens