A new study has found supplementing lutein or lycopene, a rich tomato nutrient, may protect against the damage of UV skin exposure. The findings of the study show oral supplementation with either of these carotenoids may change the expression of genes that are indicators of photo-aging, pho-dermatoses and oxidative stress.
65 participants between the ages of 18 and 60 volunteered for this double blinded, randomized cross-over study. The participants were randomly assigned to supplement 20 mg of lutein, 20 mg of a tomato nutrient complex or a placebo. The study lasted 24 weeks with a 2 week wash out period separating the placebo and an active intervention period. The skin was irradiated at the beginning and at the end of each phase of the study. The Lutein only group showed that gene expression was completely inhibited if the Lutein was taken during the first 12 weeks (ie prior to the placebo) and a significantly smaller effect was seen if the Lutein was taken during the second 12 week phase (ie after the placebo). The tomato nutrient complex group saw the up regulation of HO-1, ICAM-1 and MMP1 mRNA by both UVA1 and UVA/B were totally inhibited.
Although the exact way that lutein and lycopene inhibit UVA1 radiation induced gene expression is not actually known, researchers believe it involves the anti-oxidative role that these carotenoids play.
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