Lower dietary and circulating vitamin C in middle and older aged men and women are associated with lower estimated skeletal muscle mass

Lucy Lewis, Richard Hayhoe, Angela Mulligan, Robert Luben, K. T. Khaw, Ailsa Welch (Lead Author)

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass contributes to poor outcomes including sarcopenia, physical disability, frailty, type 2 diabetes, and mortality. Vitamin C has physiological relevance to skeletal muscle and may protect it during aging, but few studies have investigated its importance in older populations. Objectives: We aimed to investigate cross-sectional associations of dietary and plasma vitamin C with proxy measures of skeletal muscle mass in a large cohort of middle- and older-aged individuals. Methods: We analyzed data from >13,000 men and women in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Norfolk cohort, aged 42–82 y. Fat-free mass (FFM), as a proxy for skeletal muscle mass, was estimated using bioelectrical impedance analysis and expressed as a percentage of total mass (FFM%) or standardized by BMI (FFM BMI). Dietary vitamin C intakes were calculated from 7-d food diary data, and plasma vitamin C was measured in peripheral blood. Multivariable regression models, including relevant lifestyle, dietary, and biological covariates, were used to determine associations between FFM measures and quintiles of dietary vitamin C or insufficient compared with sufficient plasma vitamin C (<50 μmol/L and ≥50 μmol/L). Results: Positive trends were found across quintiles of dietary vitamin C and FFM measures for both sexes, with interquintile differences in FFM% and FFM BMI of 1.0% and 2.3% for men and 1.9% and 2.9% for women, respectively (all P < 0.001). Similarly, FFM% and FFM BMI measures were higher in participants with sufficient than with insufficient plasma vitamin C: by 1.6% and 2.0% in men, and 3.4% and 3.9% in women, respectively (all P < 0.001). Associations were also evident in analyses stratified into <65-y and ≥65-y age groups. Conclusions: Our findings of positive associations, of both dietary and circulating vitamin C with measures of skeletal muscle mass in middle- and older-aged men and women, suggest that dietary vitamin C intake may be useful for reducing age-related muscle loss. J Nutr 2020;150:2789–2798.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2789–2798
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume150
Issue number10
Early online date27 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • ascorbic acid
  • frailty
  • sarcopenia
  • skeletal muscle
  • vitamin C

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