Does Diet Influence Muscle Strength in Older Adults?

Pavankumar Kamat

June 09, 2020

Certain kinds of foods and nutrients have an association with muscle strength in older adults, a new study published in the journal  Mechanisms of Ageing and Development  suggests.

Researchers assessed dietary and nutritional data along with handgrip strength of 68,002 participants aged ≥60 years from UK Biobank.

The findings showed a negative association between carbohydrate intake (P<.0001) and handgrip strength in men and women. There were positive associations between intake of retinol and magnesium and handgrip strength in both sexes.

Women demonstrated positive associations between intake of oily fish (P<.0001), red meat (P<.0001), fruits and vegetables (P<.0001), vitamin C (P=.0001), folate (P=.001), vitamin B12 (P<.0001), iron (P<.0001) and vitamin E (P<.0001) and handgrip strength. There were no associations for the intake of cereal, bread, processed meat, non-oily fish, cheese and poultry. Among men, poultry (P<.0001) and oily fish (P<.0001) were positively associated, whereas bread (P<.0001) and processed meat (P<.0001) were negatively associated with handgrip strength.

"It appears, therefore, that importance of some nutrients and food items for muscle strength differs between men and women." the authors suggest. They call for further research using well-designed randomised controlled trials to determine whether these foods and nutrients could be beneficial for maintaining muscle during ageing.

Gedmantaite A, Celis-Morales CA, Ho F, Pell JP, Ratkevicius A, Gray SR. Associations between diet and handgrip strength: a cross-sectional study from UK Biobank. Mech. Ageing Dev.2020 May 29 [Epub ahead of print]:111269. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2020.111269. PMID: 32479757 View abstract.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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