With the increasing obsession for a perfectly toned and chiseled body, many youngsters are hitting the gym like never before. However, a perfect balance of physical activity and nutritious intake is very important to achieve satisfactory results. When working towards better muscle tone, it's very important to get the right nutrients into your diet. Even if you are not among those who would like to hit the gym, strong muscles are important to lead a healthy life, enhance flexibility, keep your body fit and agile.
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Health and fitness instructors as well as nutritionists have long hailed protein as one of the most essential nutrients for maintaining healthy muscles. Along with protein, vitamin C and vitamin D are also known to aid in building stronger muscles. A new research conducted by a team at the Medical College of Georgia, US and published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, adds one more nutrient that has quite an integral role to play when it comes to maintaining healthy and stronger muscles.
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Why is Vitamin E important?
The one big problem for many cells, such as muscle cells is that the plasma membrane tears from time to time. Its role is to essentially keep a cell from spilling its contents and controls what moves in and out. Vitamin E helps repair these membranes and thus contributes to keeping the muscles healthy.
"Every cell in your body has a plasma membrane, and every membrane can be torn," said corresponding author of the study Paul McNeil, cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in the US.
"Part of how we build muscle is a more natural tearing and repair process - that is the no pain, no gain portion - but if that repair does not occur, what you get is muscle cell death. If that occurs over a long period of time, what you get is muscle-wasting disease," McNeil explained.
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For the new study, rats were fed with either normal rodent chow where vitamin E had been removed, or vitamin E-deficient chow where the vitamin was supplemented. It was found that vitamin E-deficient rats were generally deficient in their running ability compared with their counterparts.
The scientists also administered a dye that could not permeate an intact plasma membrane and found it easily penetrated the muscle cells of vitamin E-deficient rats.
Foods rich in Vitamin E
Good sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds such as sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices and margarine.
Other benefits of Vitamin E
Other than facilitating healthy muscles, regular intake of Vitamin E helps in maintaining healthy skin, hair, better eyesight and strong immunity. Scientists have also found the nutrient beneficial in slowing Alzheimer's progression, maintaining healthy heart as well as treating conditions like cataract, asthma, skin issues, ageing, respiratory infections and so on.
Inputs from IANS