Lycopene and lutein, when taken orally, can be utilized to prevent solar damage according to new research published in the British Journal of Dermatology.The study sought to explore the two carotenoid antioxidants’ roles in the progression of skin damage.
Researchers looked at several UVA1- and UVA/B-inducible genes known to progress damage. TNC (a lycopene-rich tomato nutrient complex) was found to inhibit certain genes* during any point in the treatment, while lutein (derived from marigold flowers) in comparison was most effective when taken during the first phase.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial randomly assigned 65 healthy subjects into four groups and irradiated the skin before and after each 12-week treatment phase of the study in order to use the biopsies and blood samples for later analysis.
Participants were started on either the active treatment or the placebo, then switched between treatment phases. Researchers assessed blood and skin samples for carotenoids and subsequent reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis of gene expression.
“Assuming the role of these genes as indicators of oxidative stress, photodermatoses and photoaging, these results might indicate that TNC and lutein could protect against solar radiation-induced health damage,” concluded the study.
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*Heme-oxydenase (HO1), intercellular adhesion module 1 (ICAM1) and matrix metallopeptidase 1 (MMP1)