More alpha-carotene, more muscle strength
Carrots, oranges and mandarins contain ample amounts of the carotenoid alpha-carotene. The more of this phytochemical people over fifty have in their blood, the greater their muscle strength.
Brazilian researchers at the Federal University of Uberlandia published an epidemiological study in Antioxidants based on data collected in 2001-2002 in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES].
The data covered 1,127 older Americans aged 50-85. The NHANES researchers had determined the concentration of a series of plant antioxidants in the blood of the study participants.
In addition, they had determined the muscle strength of the study participants by having them squeeze a dynamometer.
The more alpha-carotene the study participants had in their blood, the greater the muscle strength of the study participants.
Click on the table below for a larger version.
The association was statistically significant – but again not earth-shattering. The researchers take into account that the concentration of alpha-carotene in the blood may be a marker for the intake of fruit and vegetables - and that it's the total intake of fruit and vegetables which increases muscle strength in this group.
The Brazilians found associations between other vegetable antioxidants and muscle strength.
"Future randomized clinical trials should evaluate the effect of the increased intake of alpha-carotene food sources on muscle strength in older adults", write the Brazilians.
Antioxidants 2022, 11, 2386.
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