A recent article in the NZ Herald recommends protecting the skin with supplements with lycopene and lutein – both antioxidants proven to reduce the DNA damage from sun exposure. The article also cites a recent study conducted in Germany, which tested two groups, one taking tomato-derived nutrients high in lycopene and the other taking lutein. Both groups were placebo controlled. In each group, subjects took the supplement or placebo for 12 weeks, and then swapped and took the other for 12 weeks, with a two-week ‘wash-out’ period in between.
The effects of lutein and lycopene were similar. The 65 people in the test had their skin exposed to UVA and UVB at the beginning and end of each 12 week period, and both the lutein and lycopene takers had a reduced expression of certain genes associated with wrinkling and inflammation of the skin, compared to those on the placebo. For lutein, the effects were greater if taken before the radiation was received, which suggests it is most effective as a regular, ongoing preventative.
Lutein and Lycopene
According to Professor Jean Krutmann of Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Dusseldorf, supplementation with either lutein or lycopene is effective in protecting the skin from aging and cancer caused by ultraviolet rays.
Although this is the first study to investigate the skin protection properties of both lutein and lycopene, its findings are backed up by previous studies involving lycopene. In a 2012 study a group of women ate 55g of tomato paste every day for 12 weeks. The women showed a reduction in skin inflammation and DNA damage from UV radiation, compared to a second group of women who did not eat the tomato paste.
A 2008 study found that sufficient lycopene in the diet gave the same effect as wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 1.3, in other words, it can enhance your natural skin protection by a third. The best dietary source of lycopene is from cooked tomatoes, although it’s also found in papaya, rosehips and in very high concentration in Chinese gac fruit.
The most recent research indicates that lutein offers the same benefits. Foods containing lutein include kale, spinach and egg yolks.
How can I get a Lutein supplement?
You may already be aware of Lester’s Oil as a valuable source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains several powerful antioxidants that help protect your skin from sun damage. Lutein is one of the ingredients in Lester’s Oil. In addition to lutein, there are other ingredients in Lester’s Oil that help protect the skin:
Vitamin D has been shown to reduce your risk of most cancers, including skin cancer. It is also essential in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting the brain and nervous system, immune system, blood sugar balance, as well as lung, heart, prostate, breast and colon health.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant, known to repair and prevent skin damage and even skin cancer, as well as supporting heart, brain and joint health.
Zeaxanthin is another antioxidant. Lutein and zeaxanthin also work together with omega-3s to promote eye health.
In addition to these powerful skin-protecting antioxidants and omega-3s, Lester’s Oil also contains Coenzyme-Q10, a vitamin-like nutrient that occurs naturally in the body but is a common deficiency, especially in women. Co-Q10 is essential for heart, brain and eye health, energy levels and immunity. It also helps the body absorb omega-3s and has been associated with preventing migraines.
Lester’s Oil is carefully formulated to address a truly wide range of health needs and its freshness guarantee is backed up by a successful 2014 University study.
You should be aware that, although these nutrients help protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun, you shouldn’t regard them as a sunscreen substitute. Your skin is still vulnerable to ultraviolet; taking a supplement enhances your natural defences, but won’t protect you 100% – it is just one part of your sun-smart regime.
2016 study http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.15080/pdf
2012 study http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2155595/Tomatoes-help-skin-young-protect-sunburn.html
2008 study http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Study-supports-lycopene-protecting-skin-from-within