Research Papers

Higher Consumption of Antioxidant Rich Foods Associated with Better Muscle Strength, Bone Density and Grip Strength


As the human population ages, we undergo biological changes that impact the health of our muscles, such as muscle strength, bone density and grip strength. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate existing literature on whether there is a relationship between antioxidant rich foods and sarcopenia (muscle mass, strength, and function), as well as to assess whether antioxidant rich food or supplements result in better clinical outcomes for sarcopenia. The review included thirty-two observational studies and randomized-controlled trials in total, concluding that higher consumption of antioxidant rich foods was associated with better sarcopenia outcomes. The results also indicated that higher fruit and vegetable consumption and supplementation with nutrients with antioxidant characteristics such as magnesium and vitamin E significantly improved measurements of muscle strength such as getting up from a chair without armrests. Additionally, supplementation rich in antioxidants substantially increased handgrip strength.

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Background & aims: Sarcopenia is a disabling muscular multifactorial disease involving the oxidation process in old-young adults. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between antioxidant-rich foods (A-RF) and sarcopenia (muscle mass, strength, and function) based on observational studies (OS), and to assess the effectiveness of antioxidant interventions in ≥55-year-old adults via randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Moreover, to confirm if the OS results were in accordance with the RCTs results. Methods: We searched in the MEDLINE®/PubMed, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases from 2000 to 2020 about sarcopenia and specific nutrients/foods. The risk of bias was assessed and meta-analyses were performed using the Review Manager program. Results: The systematic review included 28 studies (19 OS, 9 RCTs), whereas the meta-analysis included 4 RCTs. Results of the systematic review of OS revealed that higher A-RF consumption was associated with better sarcopenia outcomes. Results of the RCTs meta-analysis indicated that higher fruit/vegetable consumption, supplementation with magnesium, and vitamin E plus vitamin D and protein significantly reduced the time to complete 5 stands (mean difference; 95% CI; −1.11 s; 1.70, −0.51; p < 0.01). Additionally, including tea catechin supplementation significantly increased handgrip strength (1.02 kg; 0.60, 1.44; p < 0.01). Conclusions: In sum, A-RF or antioxidant supplementation could be effective tools for sarcopenia, especially improving muscle strength and function. The best interventions according to the meta-analysis of the RCTs were supplementation of vitamin E in combination with vitamin D and protein, magnesium, tea catechins, and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Article Publication Date: 16/08/2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2022.07.035

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