Vitamin C - The Nutrient That May Help You Muscle Your Way Through Life
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
Ernestine Shepherd is truly an inspiration to me. If you are not familiar, she is an 84-year-old bodybuilder. As you can see from her photo, she has an incredible body with great muscle definition. She actually holds the Guinness world record for the oldest female competitive bodybuilder in the world.
Achieving and maintaining a body such as Shepherd’s at her age obviously takes a lot of hard work and dedication (we all naturally lose muscle mass with age), but it just goes to show you that exercise and diet is incredibly powerful.
And another powerful tool in preserving and taking care of our bodies as we age is making sure we receive adequate amounts of all the essential vitamins and minerals. Take, for example, a recent study regarding vitamin C.
The study, “...shows that older people who eat plenty of vitamin C—commonly found in citrus fruits, berries and vegetables—have the best skeletal muscle mass,” according to this Medical Xpress report that discusses the study.
Just making sure we are getting plenty of vitamin C won’t make us look like Ernestine Shepherd in our 80s, but delaying the loss of muscle mass as we age is crucial to our overall health and happiness.
Sarcopenia, which is the medical term for age-related muscle loss, happens to everyone if they are blessed enough to grow older. One of the reasons elderly people may be more prone to falls is due to the muscle loss they experience with aging. Not only does a lack of muscle make you weak, but it may also affect your balance and mobility. And we want to be up and moving about no matter how old we get.
And if you think you are too young to worry about this now, “After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes,” according to Harvard Health.
Although some muscle loss is inevitable, you can definitely delay it if you are proactive.
Along with exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet, make sure you are getting enough vitamin C.
Researchers of the study looked at data from more than 13,000 people between the ages of 42 to 82.
“They calculated their skeletal muscle mass and analysed their vitamin C intakes from a seven-day food diary. They also examined the amount of vitamin C in their blood,” according to the Medical Xpress report.Helps defend cells and tissues.
The results revealed that the people with the highest amounts of vitamin C in their diet or blood had the “greatest estimated skeletal muscle mass.”
"We know that Vitamin C consumption is linked with skeletal muscle mass. It helps 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," said one of the lead researchers.
This all does not mean that you have to go crazy with the vitamin C. It may be as simple as adding an orange to your daily diet or eating more vitamin C-rich vegetables such as red bell pepper and broccoli.
It is, however, important to note that some people, like myself, have a gene that limits the ability to absorb vitamin C. I eat a lot of foods rich in vitamin C, but I still have to take vitamin C intravenously as well as use liposomal vitamin C. The good news is that there are plenty of quality supplements out there. You just need to speak with a competent healthcare professional about which one is right for you.
In addition to delaying muscle loss, vitamin C may also help boost the immune system, help manage diabetic foot ulcers, promote faster wound healing, provide protection from free radical damage and more. To put it simply, it is one of the most important nutrients needed for our survival.
I highly advise taking routine nutrient tests in order to determine if you are deficient in vitamin C. Never assume that you dont need additional vitamin C because you eat lots of fruits and vegetables or even take a supplement. If you are deficient, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend appropriate supplements if necessary.
To learn more about vitamin C, check out these pH Labs blogs.
And remember, getting enough protein and incorporating strength training into your workout routine can greatly help delay age-related muscle loss.
Hustle for that muscle.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.