New Harvard Research Shows Nutrient Lutein Protects Skin Against Sun Damage
What's Good for Your Eyes Is Also Good for Your Skin
DES MOINES, Iowa, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Harvard Medical School research presented in May indicates that consumption of the antioxidant lutein -- found in such dark green, leafy vegetables as spinach and kale -- protects the skin against some of the damaging effects of the sun. "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," said Salvador Gonzalez, M.D., Ph.D., leader of the research team. "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."
The team of researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University Medical School fed mice lutein-enriched diets for a period of two weeks. A control group of mice was fed a standard, non-supplemented diet. Both groups of mice were exposed to UVB light, five days a week, for a period of 22 weeks.
The study showed that the mice fed lutein-rich diets could be exposed to UVB light for a significantly longer period of time before developing tumors as compared with the mice fed a standard diet. In addition, the mice fed lutein-rich diets developed significantly fewer and smaller tumors. The mice fed lutein-rich diets also showed reduced inflammation of the skin and signs of reduced skin cell damage.
This research was made possible by a grant from Kemin Foods, the exclusive manufacturer of FloraGLO(R) Lutein. For more details about the research, visit the Society for Investigative Dermatology Web site at www.sidnet.org and click on the "meetings" tab. Select "click here to view abstracts." Then, click on the "search" button. When prompted for "Final ID," input poster number 767 or 769.
"This Harvard research is an exciting and significant addition to the growing body of scientific studies supporting the key role lutein plays in overall skin health," says Karen Nelson, senior vice president, Kemin Personal Care. "What we now know based on this body of evidence is that when lutein is consumed, it deposits in various places in the body -- the eyes, the lungs, the skin, and so on -- on a preferential basis depending upon where the body needs it most. That means there's no guarantee that lutein consumed in foods will deposit in the skin first, where it serves to protect the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun. So, we believe that a good way to ensure that the body reaps the skin health benefits of lutein, is to apply the lutein topically."
Lutein (LOO-teen) is a nutrient with potent antioxidant properties. Lutein is present in the eyes, lungs and skin of the human body. And, it is found in women in the breasts and cervix. The body obtains lutein through diet, predominantly through consumption of dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Over time, as lutein performs its antioxidant function, it depletes and must be replenished in the body.