Strawberries Can Help Protect Skin From UVA Rays
Main Category: Dermatology
Also Included In: Melanoma / Skin Cancer Treatment
Article Date: 07 Aug 2012 – 8:00 PDT
A team of Spanish and Italian researchers has discovered that skin cell cultures added with an extract from strawberries protects against ultraviolet radiation, increasing its viability and reducing DNA damage. The findings, featured in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry pave the way for the development of new photopretective creams made from strawberries.
Leading researcher Maurizio Battino, from Italy’s Universita Politecnica delle Marche explains: “We have verified the protecting effect of strawberry extract against damage to skins cells caused by UVA rays.”
The team prepared fibroblasts (human skin cell) cultures, and added strawberry extract concentrations of 0.05, 0.25 and 0.5 mg/ml to all but the control extract culture, before exposing them to ultraviolet light, which, according to Battino was, “equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun in the French Riviera.”
The results showed that compared with the control cells, the UVA exposed fibroblasts with added strawberry extract have photoprotective properties and increase cell survival as well as viability, whilst reducing DNA damage. The highest property levels were observed in strawberry concentrations of 0.5 mg/ml.
Battino comments: “These aspects are of great importance as they provide protection for cell lines subject to conditions that can provoke cancer and other skin-related inflammatory and degenerative illnesses.”
According to Battino, this is the “first step in determining the beneficial effects of strawberries in our diet or as a possible compound source for ‘food integrators’ or cosmetics for instance.”
Redness In Anthocyanins
Scientists hypothesize that anthocyanins, i.e. pigments that give leaves, flowers and fruits their red color are responsible for strawberries’ photoprotective properties, since analyses have confirmed that extracts are rich in such substances.
Sara Tulipani from Barcelona University explains:
“These compounds have important anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties and are capable of modulating enzymatic processes,” adding that “we have not yet found a direct relationship between their presence and photoprotective properties. At the moment the results act as the basis for future studies evaluating the ‘bioavailability’ and ‘bioactivity’ of anthocyanins in the dermis and epidermis layers of the human skin, whether by adding them to formulations for external use or by ingesting the fruit itself.”
In a previous study, Tulipani and her team of researchers from Salamanca and Granada Universities demonstrated that strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) strengthen the red bloods cells and protect the stomach from the effects of alcohol.