Understanding the role of vitamin E in age-related disorders of skeletal muscles

An international study looked at the role that vitamin E plays in skeletal muscle disorders, including sarcopenia. The findings were published in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • Sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle strength and mass, comes from impaired neuromuscular innervation, transitioning of skeletal muscle fiber type and reduced muscle regenerative capacity.
  • In this study, scientists from Taiwan and the U.S. attributed the problems above to chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. They examined current scientific literature discussing sarcopenia, particularly those suggesting that vitamin E may be able to reduce the effects of that disorder.
  • The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin E may lessen skeletal dysfunction due to age, while at the same time enhancing muscle regeneration.
  • Previous preclinical and human experimental studies have shown that vitamin E benefits myoblast survival, differentiation, and proliferation; membrane repair; mitochondrial efficiency; muscle mass; muscle contractile properties; and exercise capacity.
  • A few human cross-sectional observational studies reveal positive links between serum tocopherol level and muscle strength.
  • Randomized clinical trials of vitamin E in people with sarcopenia are not yet possible due to several factors, such as difficulties in validating vitamin E intake and deficiency, variations in muscle-protective activity and metabolism of diverse forms of vitamin E, and the lack of understanding of the mechanisms of action.

Future studies could explore underlying mechanisms for this biological activity and assess clinical parameters such as muscle strength, physical performance and muscle mass.

Journal Reference:

Chung E, Mo H, Wang S, Zu Y, Elfakhani M, Rios SR, Chyu MC, Yang RS, Shen CL. POTENTIAL ROLES OF VITAMIN E IN AGE-RELATED CHANGES IN SKELETAL MUSCLE HEALTH. Nutrition Research. 21 September 2017;49:23–36. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.09.005

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By Jose Lopez
(Source: science.news; March 13, 2019; https://tinyurl.com/y6nee74d)
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