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   May 17

Lycopene and Lutein Supplements May Protect Skin against Solar Damage

A study recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology shows that both oral supplementation with a lycopene-rich tomato nutrient complex (TNC) and lutein may protect skin against UVA/B and UVA1 radiation at a molecular level.

The placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized crossover-design study funded by Lycored (Secaucus, NJ), maker of the TNC complex, and conducted at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (Düsseldorf, Germany) aimed to assess the ability of the two carotenoid antioxidants to decrease the expression of several UVA1- and UVA/B-inducible genes known to participate in the progression of skin damage.

Sixty-five healthy subjects were assigned to four treatment groups and began the trial with either active treatment followed by placebo or vice versa. Each treatment phase lasted 12 weeks and was followed by a two-week washout period. Subjects’ skin was irradiated before and after each phase of the study, and biopsies of untreated and irradiated skin, as well as blood samples, were taken for use in subsequent analysis.

Results showed that supplementation with TNC completely inhibited upregulation of the genes heme-oxygenase 1 (HO1), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1), and matrix metallopeptidase 1 (MMP1), regardless of its place in the treatment sequence. Meanwhile, lutein provided complete protection only if taken in the first period; its effects diminished significantly when it came in the second sequence relative to TNC. Writing in the study, the authors conclude, “Assuming the role of these genes as indicators of oxidative stress, photodermatoses, and photoageing, these results might indicate that TNC and lutein could protect against solar radiation-induced health damage.”

The study, a finalist in the university research category at the third annual NutraIngredients Awards, demonstrates “the vital skin co-protection benefits of natural lycopene from lycopene-rich tomatoes and lutein from marigold flowers,” notes Golan Raz, Lycored’s vice president of health and nutrition, in a press release. “As a leader in the research and development of carotenoid-based products, we are elated to have our most recent study on skin health in the running for best university research.”


Grether-Beck S et al. “Molecular evidence that oral supplementation with lycopene or lutein protects human skin against ultraviolet radiation: results from a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over study.” British Journal of Dermatology. Published online March 15, 2017.

Source: Nutritional Outlook

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