Kiwifruit helps maintain muscles at optimal levels

Study finds high-value vitamin C foods, such as kiwifruit, are ideal to maintain healthy levels.

Researchers at the University of Otago, Christchurch, have found a daily vitamin C intake equivalent to eating two kiwifruit a day is required to ensure muscles maintain optimal levels.

Professor Margreet Vissers and her team at the Centre for Free Radical Research gave 54 males aged 18-35 either half a kiwifruit or two kiwifruit a day over a six-week period.

They then measured the vitamin C content in muscle and elsewhere in the body.

The study found skeletal muscle is highly sensitive to changes in vitamin C intake and that the vitamin C content in muscle will fall if intake drops below optimal levels.

This is likely to affect muscle function. Muscle is the largest store of vitamin C in the human body.

The researchers also found general energy levels were increased with the “two per day” kiwifruit dose and this was likely to reflect the optimal muscle function under these conditions.

Professor Visser says eating high-value vitamin C foods, such as kiwifruit, is the ideal way to maintain healthy levels.

“Many people think that all fruit and vegetables are equally able to supply vitamin C but this is not the case. The levels in food vary hugely across the spectrum.

"We should eat a good range daily but because many fruit contain only one tenth of a healthy daily vitamin C requirement, we would recommend at least one serve per day of a high-value food such as kiwifruit.’’

The study was funded by Zespri International and the University of Otago.