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STUDY: Eat thoses red colored fruits
JOURNAL: Sixty-third annual meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology
AUTHORS: Salvador Gonzalez, MD, PhD,
ABSTRACT: Lutein, an antioxidant nutrient found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, can help protect the skin from sun damage, thereby additionally helping to prevent skin cancer.
The Harvard Medical School researchers along with investigators from Boston University Medical School fed one group of mice a diet enriched with lutein for two weeks, while another group was fed a standard diet. The mice were exposed to ultraviolet-B light for five days per week during a twenty-two week period.
COMMENTARY: The mice who received lutein were protected from the development of tumors for a longer period of time, and developed fewer and smaller tumors than the control group.
The lutein-fed group also had less skin cell damage and reduced inflammation. Lead researcher Salvador Gonzalez, MD, PhD, commented, "Lutein has been widely recognized for its eye health benefits for several years. But, our data is the first of its kind to suggest that lutein may have the potential to act as a preventative agent against UVB-induced skin cancer. In addition, these data suggest that lutein protects the skin against damage caused by exposure to UVB light, further validating our position that lutein is a critical component to overall skin health."
Lutein has been shown to be vital to the health of the eye and is taken by many to help prevent macular degeneration. In a study published year ago in the journal Circulation, higher levels of lutein were shown to be protective against atherosclerosis. This new finding shows that the antioxidant is important in yet another area: the skin. To ensure that optimal levels of lutein reach the skin, the addition of the nutrient to sun protection formulas may prove to be of benefit.