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Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging

Authors:
  • Derma Center Wildeshausen
  • Städtisches Klinikums Dessau, Medizinische Hochschule Brandenburg Theodor Fontane

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Skin has been reported to reflect the general inner-health status and aging. Nutrition and its reflection on skin has always been an interesting topic for scientists and physicians throughout the centuries worldwide. Vitamins, carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids and a variety of plant extracts have been reported to possess potent anti-oxidant properties and have been widely used in the skin care industry either as topically applied agents or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin appearance. This review will provide an overview of the current literature "linking" nutrition with skin aging.
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Dermato-Endocrinology
ISSN: (Print) 1938-1980 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/kder20
Discovering the link between nutrition and skin
aging
Silke K. Schagen, Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki & Christos C.
Zouboulis
To cite this article: Silke K. Schagen, Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki & Christos
C. Zouboulis (2012) Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging, Dermato-
Endocrinology, 4:3, 298-307, DOI: 10.4161/derm.22876
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/derm.22876
Copyright © 2012 Landes Bioscience
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REVIEW
Dermato-Endocrinology 4:3, 298–307; July–December 2012; © 2012 Landes Bioscience
298 Dermato-Endocrinology Volume 4 Issue 3
Introduction
Beauty comes from the inside. The connection between nutri-
tion and skin condition or rather the effect of nutrition on skin
aging has been an interesting research field not only for scien-
tists but also a common field of interest for humans throughout
the years, from ancient times to nowadays. Skin aging consists
of two didactically independent, clinically and biologically, dis-
tinct processes.1 The first is intrinsic skin aging, which represents
chronological aging and affects skin in the same pattern it affects
all internal organs.2 The second is extrinsic skin aging, which we
view as aged skin and is the result of external factors and environ-
mental influence, mainly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet
(UV) irradiation but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation
and poor nutrition.
Prevention is the best and most effective way to work against
extrinsic skin aging effects. The best prevention strategy against
the harmful action of free radicals is a well regulated lifestyle
*Correspondence to: Christos C. Zouboulis;
Email: christos.zouboulis@klinikum-dessau.de
Submi tte d: 02/16/12; Revised: 10/28/12; Acce pted: 11/13/12
http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/derm.22876
Skin has been repor ted to reect the general inner-hea lth status
and aging. Nutrition and its reection on skin has always been
an interesting topic for scientists and physicians throughout
the centuries worldwide. Vitamins, carotenoids, tocopherols,
avonoids and a variety of plant extracts have been reported to
possess potent anti-oxidant properties and have been widely
used in the skin care industry either as topically applied agents
or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin
appearance. This review will provide an overview of the current
literature “linking” nutrition with skin aging.
Discovering the link between nutrition
and skin aging
Silke K. Schagen,1,† Vasiliki A. Zampeli,1, 2,† Evgenia Makrantonaki1,2 and Christos C. Zouboulis1,*
1Departm ents of Dermatology, Venere ology, Allergology a nd Immunology, Dessau Me dical Center; Dessau, G ermany; 2Laboratory for Biogerontology,
Dermato -Pharmacology and D ermato-Endocri nology; Institute of C linical Pharmacology a nd Toxicology ; Charité Universitaet smedizin Berlin; Ber lin, Germany
These autho rs contributed equall y to this work.
Keywords: nutrition, diet, ultraviolet protection, skin aging, antioxidants, fatty acids, flavonoids, vitamins
Abbreviations: 1,25(OH)2D3, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3; CoQ10, coenzyme Q10; CR, caloric restriction; EFAs, essential fatty
acids; EGCG, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate; FoxO transcription factors, forkhead box class O transcription factor; GH, growth
hormone; GTPs, green tea polyphenols; DHEAS, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate; HRT, hormone replacement therapy;
IGF-I, Insulin-like growth factor-I; IU, international unit; JNK, jun N-terminus kinase; mTORC1, mammalian target of
rapamycin complex 1; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; MST1, STE-like 20 protein kinase 1; ROS, reactive oxygen species;
UL, upper intake levels; UV, ultraviolet
(caloric restriction, body care and physical exercise for body),
with low stress conditions and a balanced nutritional diet, includ-
ing anti-oxidative rich food.
Frequently researched antioxidants such as carotenoids,
tocophenols and flavonoids, as well as vitamins (A, C, D and
E), essential omega-3-fatty acids, some proteins and lactobacilli
have been referred as agents capable of promoting skin health
and beauty.3,4 To find a proper balance, this review considers the
beneficial “anti-aging” effects of increased reactive oxygen species
(ROS) signaling recently.
The appropriate generation of ROS (for instance after physi-
cal exercise) has beneficial cell-protective and anti-aging effects.
ROS activate via stimulation of STE-like 20 protein kinase 1
(MST1) and Jun N-terminus kinase ( JNK) specific phosphor-
ylations of forkhead box class O transcription factor (FoxO
transcription factors), which thereafter translocate from the cyto-
plasm into the nucleus and thereby induce the expression of anti-
oxidative enzymes like superoxide dismutase, catalase and others.
The expression and upregulation of the cell’s own intrinsic anti-
oxidative enzyme systems finally do the “job” and protect the
cell against accumulating and harmful cellular levels of ROS.5
Remarkably, upregulation of nuclear FoxO levels suppresses cell
proliferation and induces apoptosis.
The aim of this work is to review the existing literature and
eventually to give an insight to the question whether diet actually
influences the way our skin ages.
Vitamins
L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Vitamin C, also named L-ascorbic
acid, is water soluble, photosensitive and is the most important
antioxidant in the hydrophilic phase. Vitamin C is not naturally
synthesized by the human body and therefore adequate dietary
intake of vitamin C is required and essential for a healthy human
diet.
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REVIEW
REVIEW
Vitamin C and vitamin E act synergistically. When
UV-activated molecules oxidize cellular components, a chain
reaction of lipid peroxidation in membranes rich in polyunsatu-
rated fatty acids is induced. The antioxidant D-α-tocopherol is
oxidized to the tocopheroxyl radical in this process and it is regen-
erated by ascorbic acid to D-α-tocopherol.17,18 Beside ascorbic
acid, glutathione and coenzyme Q10 can also recycle tocopherol.
Higher amounts of tocopherol are available in vegetables, veg-
etable oils like wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and
seeds, corn, soy and some sorts of meat. The intake of natural
vitamin E products helps against collagen cross linking and lipid
peroxidation, which are both linked to aging of the skin.
With the process described above, D-α-tocopherol is involved
in stabilizing the cell membrane by inhibiting oxidation of poly-
unsaturated fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid of membrane
phospholipids. Topical applied vitamin E is described to reduce
erythema, sunburned cells, chronic UVB-induced skin damage
and photocarcinogenesis in the majority of the published stud-
ies.13,19 Vitamin E deficiency has been associated with a syndrome
of edema with papular erythema or seborrhoiec changes, dryness
and depigmentation in premature infants.20
There are many clinical studies, which have tested the effects
of tocopherol. The data seem to be controversial, but high doses
of oral vitamin E may affect the response to UVB in humans.21
Data of Ekanayake-Mudiyanselage and Thiele suggest that vita-
min E levels are dependent on the density of sebaceous glands in
the skin. In a 3-week study with daily oral supplementation of
moderate doses of α-tocopherol significantly increased vitamin E
levels measured in skin sites rich in sebaceous glands, such as the
face. This should be considered when designing clinical vitamin
E studies.22
Oral combination treatments of vitamins C and E, partly with
other photoprotective compounds, did increase the photoprotec-
tive effects dramatically compared with monotherapies. Experts
recommend that this synergetic interplay of several antioxidants
should be taken into consideration in future research on cutane-
ous photoprotection.23
Carotenoids (vitamin A, β-carotene, astaxanthin, retinol).
Carotenoids are vitamin A derivates like β-carotene, astaxanthin,
lycopene and retinol, which are all highly effective antioxidants
and have been documented to possess photoprotective properties.
Findings of Scarmo et al. suggest that human skin, is relatively
enriched in lycopene and β-carotene, compared with lutein and
zeaxanthin, possibly reflecting a specific function of hydrocarbon
carotenoids in human skin photoprotection.24
β-carotene is the most prominent member of the group of
carotenoids, natural colorants that can be found in the human
diet.25 Compared with other carotenoids, the primary role of
β-carotene is its provitamin-A activity. β-carotene can be cleaved
by BCMO1 enzyme into 2 molecules of all-trans-retinal. There
is no difference between naturally occurring and chemically
synthesized β-carotene. Furthermore, β-carotene can also act
as a lipid radical scavenger and as a singlet oxygen quencher, as
demonstrated in vitro.26 Based on the distribution of BCMO1 in
human tissues it seems that β-carotene metabolism takes place in
a wide variety of organs, including the skin.27
The richest natural sources are fresh fruits and vegetables such
as citrus fruits, blackcurrant, rose hip, guava, chili pepper or
parsley. Stability of the vitamin C molecule depends on aggregate
condition and formulation.
L-ascorbic acid can be used orally and topically for skin
benefits. Vitamin C is a cofactor for lysyl and prolyl hydroxy-
lase, which stabilize the triple helical structure of collagen.6 It
also plays a role in cholesterol synthesis, iron absorption and
increases the bioavailability of selenium. The most commonly
described cutaneous manifestations accompanying vitamin C
deficiency are attributed to the impaired collagen synthesis.
Enlargement and keratosis of hair follicles mainly of the upper
arms and curled hairs, the so-called ‘corkscrew hairs’, are usu-
ally described. The follicles become hemorrhagic with time and
they sometimes mimic the palpable purpura of leucocytoclastic
vasculitis.7
Additionally, vitamin C deficiency is known for causing
scurvy, a disease with some manifestations such as fragility, skin
lesions in form of petechiae, gum bleeding, ease of developing
bruises or slow wound healing.8
Topically ascorbic acid is used in various cosmetic products,
for example in lightening of skin dyspigmentation, anti-aging and
sun protection formulations. The idea of sun protecting products
is to have a combination product between a “passive” protection
with a UV filter and an “active” protection with the antioxidant.
UVB protection by vitamin C is frequently mentioned in the
literature.6,9-11 However, the study by Wang et al. indicates that
more work in formulation of cremes is needed, since there seem
to be many products in which the desired effects are not measur-
able.12 The use of vitamin C in cosmetic products is difficult as its
reducing capacity occurs very fast and its degradation may occur
under the presence of oxygen even before the topical application
to the skin.13
Nutricosmetic products with L-ascorbic acid work as free radi-
cal scavengers and repair the membrane bound oxidized vitamin
E.14 A long-term study observed the effects of a combination
of ascorbic acid and D-α-tocopherol (vitamin E) administered
orally to human volunteers on UVB-induced epidermal damage.
The treatment was well-tolerated and could be used prophylacti-
cally against the hazardous effects of solar UV irradiation and
skin cancer, according to the authors.9 Another paper describes
an 8-week study, which compared topical and systemic antioxi-
dant treatment. Topical and systemic treatment both seemed to
be good photoprotectants.15
There are many preparations of vitamin C- based products
available on the market, but these are predominantly based on
more stable esters and other derivatives of vitamin C which more
readily penetrate the skin but are not necessarily converted to the
only active vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid.16 These topical or oral
products do not have the effects provided by L-ascorbic acid.
Tocopherols (vitamin E). The vitamin E complex is a group
of 8 compounds called tocopherols. Tocopherol is a fat-soluble
membrane bound antioxidant and consequently a free-radical
scavenger especially of highly reactive singlet oxygen. Tocopherol
is like vitamin C a naturally occurring endogenous non-enzy-
matic antioxidant.
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300 Dermato-Endocrinology Volume 4 Issue 3
skin properties when ingested as supplements or as dietary prod-
ucts. While they cannot be compared with sunscreen, there is
evidence that they protect the skin against sunburn (solar ery-
thema) by increasing the basal defense against UV light-mediated
damage.45
A study confirmed that the amounts of lycopene in plasma and
skin are comparable to or even greater than those of β-carotene.
When skin is exposed to UV light stress, more skin lycopene is
destroyed compared with β-carotene, suggesting a role of lyco-
pene in mitigating oxidative damage in tissues.46 Lycopene and
tomato products are also mentioned for preventing cancer.47, 48
Retinol is important for the human body; however the body
itself cannot synthesize it. Retinol, a fat-soluble unsaturated iso-
prenoid like its two important metabolites retinaldehyde and reti-
noic acid, is essential for growth, differentiation and maintenance
of epithelial tissues and influences reproduction. In human skin
two retinoid receptors are expressed, which can be activated by
retinol and its metabolites.49
Retinaldehyde, additionally being important for vision, is cre-
ated by in vivo oxidation of retinol in a reversible process. The
normal plasma concentration of vitamin A in humans is 0.35–
0.75 μg/ml.50, 51
Retinol must derive from diet. Natural retinol and retinol ester
are contained in liver, milk, egg yolk, cheese and fatty fish etc.
Naturally occurring and synthetic vitamin A (retinol) show simi-
lar biological activities. Different retinol products, both for cos-
metic (topical) and pharmaceutical (topical, systemic) use can be
found on the market.
In a review of topical methods to counteract skin wrinkling
and irregular pigmentation of aging skin, Bayerl evaluates the
effects of vitamin A acid derivatives, chemical peeling and bleach-
ing agents. Also, the effects of UV protection by using sunscreens
and topical antioxidants are reviewed.52 The topical retinoid treat-
ments inhibit the UV-induced, MMP-mediated breakdown of
collagen and protect against UV-induced decreases in procollagen
expression.53-55
Endogenous retinoids cannot be linked to the pathogenesis of
common skin diseases like acne and psoriasis. Oral treatment with
retinol or retinal derivatives has not been proposed as a possible
anti-aging treatment. Humans require 0.8–1 mg or 2400–3000
IU vitamin A per day (1 IU = 0.3 μg).51
Unfortunately the large CARET trial mentioned lung cancer-
promoting effects of 25,000 IU retinyl palmitate combined with
30 mg β-carotene intake in smokers.56 Thus, the belief that chem-
ical quenching of free radicals by natural compounds like reti-
nyl palmitate and β-carotene exerts always beneficial effects has
been challenged. Omenns data showed that an artificial systemic
increase of antioxidants by dietary supplementation intended to
modify UV erythema thresholds may have severe internal adverse
effects which even may not only increase risk of cell aging but
of tumor promotion. However experts still recommend dietary
intake of fruits and vegetable.
Vitamin D. In humans vitamin D serves two functions, it
acts as a prohormone and the human body can synthesize it itself
through sun exposure. Skin is the major site for UV-B mediated
vitamin D3, and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 synthesis. Smaller
Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya are
some examples of β-carotene containing fruits and vegetables.
Upon dietary supplementation, β-carotene can be further
enriched in skin, in which it is already a major carotenoid.28
β-carotene is an endogenous photoprotector, and its efficacy
to prevent UV-induced erythema formation has been demon-
strated in various studies.29, 30 In healthy volunteers, a 12-week
oral administration of β-carotene may result in a reduction of
UV-in duced er y t hema.31 Similar effects have been described in
volunteers receiving a lycopene-rich diet.32
The systemic photoprotecting effect of β-carotene depends
both on dose and duration of treatment. In studies document-
ing protection against UV-induced erythema, supplementation
with carotenoids lasted for at least 7 weeks, with doses > 12 mg/d
of carotenoids.31,3 3-3 5 With treatment periods of only 34 weeks,
studies reported no protective effects.36 Furthermore, β-carotene
supplementation can significantly reduce the rate of mitochondrial
mutation in human dermal fibroblasts after UV irradiation.37
Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout,
krill, shrimp, crayfish and crustacea. Astaxanthin is biosynthe-
sized by microalgae or phytoplankton, which are consumed by
zooplankton or crustacea. They accumulate astaxanthin and, in
turn are ingested by fish which then accrue astaxanthin in the
food chain.38 Therefore, astaxanthin has considerable potential
and promising applications in human health and nutrition39 and
has been attributed an extraordinary potential for protecting the
organism against a wide range of diseases (reviewed in refs. 40
and 41).
The UV protective effects of algal extract containing 14% of
astaxanthin compaired to synthetic astaxanthin have also been
tested. The authors of this study reported that preincubation with
synthetic astaxanthin or an algal extract could prevent UVA-
induced alterations in cellular superoxide dismutase activity and
decrease in cellular glutathione content.42
In a study of Camera et al. the modulation of UVA-related
injury by astaxanthin, canthaxanthin, and β-carotene for sys-
temic photoprotection in human dermal fibroblasts has been com-
pared.43 Astaxanthin showed a significant photoprotective effect
and counteracted UVA-induced alterations to a great extent. The
uptake of astaxanthin by fibroblasts was higher than that of can-
thaxanthin and β-carotene, which lead to the assumption that the
effect of astaxanthin toward photooxidative changes was stronger
than that of the other substances. A recent study of Suganuma
et al. showed that astaxanthin could interfere with UVA-induced
matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase/neutral
endopeptidase expression.44 Both studies suggest that effects of
UVA radiation, such as skin sagging or wrinkling can be pre-
vented or at least minimized by topical or oral administration of
astaxanthin.36,42,44
Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and
phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegeta-
bles, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not straw-
berries or cherries). Although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it
has no vitamin A activity.
β-carotene and lycopene are usually the dominating carot-
enoids in human blood and tissues and are known to modulate
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www.landesbioscience.com Dermato-Endocrinology 301
Chang et al. also suggest an association between skin aging
and levels of 25(OH)D3, another precursor of vitamin D. It may
be possible that low 25(OH)D3 levels in women, who show less
skin aging may reflect underlying genetic differences in vitamin
D synthesis.62
Many other studies that tested oral vitamin D treatment
showed skin cancer prevention, which is linked to anti-aging
effects.63,64
In 2009, the American Academy of Dermatology and the
Canadian Cancer Society recommended a 200 IU/day dosis
for children (0–14 y), 200 IU for the age population between
14–50 y, 400 IU for the 50–70 y and 600 IU for people over
their 71st year of age.65
A higher dose of vitamin D 1000 IU/day (adults) and 400
IU/day (children 0–14 y) intake has been recommended for
individuals with known risk factors for vitamin D insufficiency
like dark skin individuals, elderly persons, photosensitive indi-
viduals, people with limited sun exposure, obese individuals or
those with fat malabsorption.65
The Food and Nutrition Board published a new recommenda-
tion for dietary allowance levels and tolerable upper intake levels
(ULs) for vitamin D intake in 2010. The recommended dietary
allowance (Table 1) represents a daily intake that is sufficient to
maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism in healthy
people.66
Long-term intakes of vitamin D above the upper intake levels
increase the risk of adverse health effects. Most reports suggest a
toxicity threshold for vitamin D of 10,000 to 40,000 IU/day and
serum 25(OH)D levels of 500 600 nmol/L (200–240 ng/mL).
With daily intakes below 10,000 IU/day, toxicity symptoms
are very unlikely. However, recent results from observational
studies, national survey data and clinical trials have shown
adverse health effects over time at much lower levels of vitamin
D intakes and serum 25(OH)D. Since serum levels of approxi-
mately 75–120 nmol/L or 3048 ng/mL have been associated
with increased all-cause mortality, greater risk of cancer at some
sites like the pancreas, greater risk of cardiovascular events as
well as more falls and fractures with elderly subjects, the Food
and Nutrition Board advises that serum 25(OH)D levels above
125–150 nmol/L (50–60 ng/mL) should be avoided and cites
research results that link vitamin D intakes of 5,000 IU/day
with a serum concentration at a maximum of 100–150 nmol/L
(40–60 ng/mL).66
Polyphenols
Polyphenols have drawn the attention of the anti-aging research
community over the last decade, mainly because of their antiox-
idant properties, their great intake amount in our diet and the
increasing studies showing their probable role in the prevention
of various diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as cancer
and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.67 Their total
dietary intake could be as high as 1 g/d, which is much higher
than that of all other classes of phytochemicals and known dietary
antioxidants.68,69 They are mostly found in fruits and plant-
derived beverages such as fruit juices, tea, coffee and red wine.
amounts of vitamin D2 and D3 come from the dietary intake of
animal-based foods such as fatty fish or egg yolk. Some products
like milk, cereals and margarine can be enriched with vitamin D.
Excess of vitamin D is stored in fat of the body and can result
in toxic effects. This toxicity presents with nausea, vomiting, poor
appetite, weakness, weight loss and constipation. Food-intake of
vitamin D high enough to cause toxicity is very unlikely.
The skin is one of the key tissues of the human body vitamin
D endocrine system. It is important for a broad variety of inde-
pendent physiological functions, which are reviewed in Reichrath
et al.51 Besides its role in calcium homeostasis and bone integrity
1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] is also essential for
numerous physiologic functions including immune response,
release of inflammatory cytokines and regulation of growth and
differentiation in normal and malignant tissues such as breast,
lung and colon.51 1,25(OH)2D3 protects human skin cells from
UV-induced cell death and apoptosis,57 inhibits the activation of
stress-activated protein kinases,58 such as the c-Jun NH2-terminal
kinase and p38, and suppresses IL-6 production. Several in vitro
and in vivo studies have documented the protective effect of
1,25(OH)2D3 against UVB-induced skin damage and carcino-
genesis.58,59 Furthermore, 1,25(OH)2D3 induces the expression
of antimicrobial peptide genes in human skin60 and plays a sig-
nificant role in preventing opportunistic infections. With increas-
ing age the capacity of the skin to produce vitamin D3 declines
and consequently the protective effects of the vitamin. There are
several factors contributing to this deficiency state among them
behavioral factors, for example limited sun exposure or malnu-
trition, which can be partially altered by behavior modification
and various intrinsic factors like reduced synthetic capacity. In
skin, the concentration of 7-dehydrocholesterol—a vitamin D3
precursor—showed an approximately 50% decline from age 20 y
to age 80 y61 and the total amount of pre-vitamin D3 in the skin
of young subjects was at least two times greater than when com-
pared with that of the elderly subjects. Vitamin D and calcium
supplementation is therefore of great importance in the elderly
population.13
Tab le 1. Recommended dietary allowances for vitamin D
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0–12 months* 400 IU
(10 mc g)
400 IU
(10 mc g)
1–13 ye ars 600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
14–18 yea rs 600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
19– 50 year s 600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
51–70 years 600 IU
(15 m cg)
600 IU
(15 m cg)
>70 year s 800 IU
(20 mcg)
800 IU
(20 mcg)
*AI, adequate intake; IU, international unit; mcg, microgram; 40 IU = 1
mcg.
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302 Dermato-Endocrinology Volume 4 Issue 3
protein and lipid synthesis, cell growth and cell proliferation and
the process of autophagy and is thus intimately involved in cen-
tral regulatory events associated with cell survival and cell aging.
Intriguingly, all natural plant-derived polyphenols like EGCG,
resveratrol, curcumin, genestin and others are natural inhibi-
tors of mTORC1, recently described in this journal.80 Natural
polyphenols exert their major metabolic activity as mTORC1
inhibitors, a fundament aspect relating calorie restriction and/or
nutrient-derived mTORC1 attenuation to deceleration of aging.
In fact, it has recently been demonstrated that mTORC1 inhibi-
tion by rapamycin extended life span in mice.81 This antioxidants
from naturals souce exhibit more crucial functions as “Botanical
mTORC1 inhibitors” and attenuate mTORC1 signaling, a ben-
eficial property which decelerates cell metabolism, energy expen-
diture, mitochondrial activity and thus total ROS generation and
oxidative stress load of the cells.
Resveratrol (Stilbenes). Resveratrol is an antioxidant, natural
polyphenol, abundant in the skin of grapes (but not in the flesh).
It has been the subject of intense interest in recent years due to
a range of unique anti-aging properties. High concentrations
of natural resveratrol and resveratrol oligomeres are found in
grape shoots from Vitis Vinifera. Resveratrol and its oligomeres,
trans-piceatannol, the dimers epsilon-viniferin, ampelopsin, iso-
epsilon-viniferin, the trimers miyabenol C and the tetramers
hopeaphenol, R-viniferin and R2-viniferin belong to the sub-
group of stilbenes. Resveratrol works both as a chelating agent
and as a radical scavenger and in addition it takes part in inflam-
mation by inhibiting the production of IL-8 by LPS-induced
MAPK phosphorylation and a block of NFkB activation.82 In
2002 Bhat et al. reported that resveratrol possesses cancer chemo-
preventive activities.83 Cardiovascular benefits via increased nitric
oxide production, downregulation of vasoactive peptides, lowered
levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein, and cyclooxygenase
inhibition; possible benefits on Alzheimer disease by breakdown
of β-amyloid and direct effects on neural tissues; phytohormonal
actions; antimicrobial effects; and sirtuin activation, which is
believed to be involved in the caloric restriction-longevity effect
have also been reported.84 As far as skin is concerned, resveratrol
has been recently shown to possess a protective action in vitro
against cell death after exposure of HaCaT cells to the nitric
oxide free radical donor sodium nitroprusside.85 Furthermore,
Giardina et al. reported in 2010 that in experiments in vitro with
skin fibroblasts treated with resveratrol there was a dose-related
increase in the rate of cell proliferation and in inhibition of col-
lagenase activity.86 Steinberg showed that resveratrol oligomers
hopeaphenol, epsilon-viniferin, R2-viniferin, ampelopsin inhibit
the growth number of human tumor cell lines significantly stron-
ger than resveratrol itself.87, 8 8
Curcumin. Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the pop-
ular Indian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family
(Zingiberaceae) and is frequently found in rice dishes to add yel-
low color to the otherwise white rice. Curcumin has been shown to
protect against the deleterious effects of injury by attenuating oxi-
dative stress and suppressing inflammation (reviewed in ref. 89).
In human fibroblasts curcumin induced cellular stress responses
through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway and redox
Vegetables, cereals, chocolate and dry legumes are also sources for
the total polyphenol intake.69 Several thousand molecules having
a polyphenol structure have been identified in plants being gen-
erally involved in defense against UV radiation or aggression by
pathogens. Depending on the number of phenol rings and the way
that these rings bind to one another, polyphenols can be divided
into many different functional groups such as the phenolic acids,
flavonoids, stilbenes, and lignans.67 Flavonoids are also further
divided into flavones, flavonols, isoflavones, and flavanones, each
with a slightly different chemical structure.6
It has been reported that the polyphenolic content of foods
can be easily affected or seriously reduced by methods of meal
preparation and culinary traditions. For example, onions, which
are a major source of phenolic acids and flavonoids, and tomatoes
lose between 75% and 80% of their initial content when boiled
over 15 min, 65% when cooked in a microwave oven and 30%
when fried.70 In French fries or freeze-dried mashed potatoes no
remaining phenolic acids were to be found.71
Laboratory studies of different polyphenols such as, green tea
polyphenols, grape seed proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, silyma-
rin and genistein, conducted in animal models on UV-induced
skin inflammation, oxidative stress and DNA damage, suggested
that these polyphenols, combined with sunscreen protection,
have the ability to protect the skin from the adverse effects of UV
radiation, including the risk of skin cancers.72 The underlying
mechanism of polyphenols actions has been a major discussion
over the last decades. One of the most abundant theories is that
the cells respond to polyphenols mainly through direct interac-
tions with receptors or enzymes involved in signal transduction,
which may result in modification of the redox status of the cell
and may trigger a series of redox-dependent reactions.73,74 As
antioxidants, polyphenols may improve cell survival; as prooxi-
dants, they may induce apoptosis and prevent tumor growth.69,75
However, the biological effects of polyphenols may extend well
beyond the modulation of oxidative stress.69
Some interesting polyphenols, flavonoids and botanical anti-
oxidants and their properties, which have drawn attention for
their unique anti-aging effects are discussed next.
Flavonoids. Phlorizin. Phlorizin belongs to the group of dihy-
drochalcones, a type of flavonoids and it is naturally occurring
in some plants. It could be found in the bark of pear (Pyrus com-
munis), apple, cherry and other fruit trees. It has been used as a
pharmaceutical and tool for physiology research for over 150 y.
However, its anti-aging effects have only been reported in the last
years. Investigations of the effects of phlorizin on lifespan of the
yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed an improvement of the
viability of the yeast, which was dose-dependent under oxidative
stress.76 Further investigations on humans are needed.
Many other botanical extracts, which are not discussed in
this review, have been described to have potent anti-oxidant
properties. Among them silymarin,77 apigenin78 and genistein79
have been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on skin aging
parameters.
Botanical anti-oxidants. The nutrient-sensitive kinase mam-
malian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) integrates
nutrient signaling. This mTORC1 is the central hub regulating
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www.landesbioscience.com Dermato-Endocrinology 303
elevates CoQ homologs in tissues and their mitochondria, thus
causing a selective decrease in protein oxidative damage, and an
increase in antioxidative potential.101 Furthermore, in a human
study where 50 mg each of vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and sele-
nium were administered combined with the use of topical bio-
cosmetics, an increase in stratum corneum CoQ10 was noted
after 15 and 30 d of ingestion.102 In cases of primary CoQ10
deficiency in vitro experiments have shown that they should be
treated with CoQ10 supplementation and that complementary
administration of antioxidants with high bioavailability should
be considered if oxidative stress is present.103 On the other hand,
in experiments contacted on mice the supplemental intake of
CoQ10 had no effect on the main antioxidant defense or pro-
oxidant generation in most tissues, and had no impact on the life
span of mice.104
Pre- and Probiotics
The term probiotic is defined as “living microorganisms, which,
when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health effect on
the host.”105,106
The most commonly used probiotics in humans and animals
are enterococci, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are natural
residents of the intestinal tract.
A prebiotic is a non-viable food component that confers a
health benefit on the host associated with modulation of the
microbiota.107 Oligofructose and other oligosaccharides are prebi-
otic which have a significant effect on the population of luminal
flora, in particular, stimulating bifidobacterial populations.
Currently, finding alternatives to antibiotics for skin treat-
ment is receiving a lot of interest in research. It has been found
that, similarly to the gut microflora, the skin’s microbiota plays a
beneficial role. Thus, the possibility to modulate the microbiota
more selectively is highly interesting.
UV exposure is known to negatively affect immune sys-
tem functions.108 Clinical studies that used probiotic bacteria
(Lactobacillus johnsonii NCC 533) to modulate the cutaneous
immune homeostasis altered by solar-simulated UV exposure in
humans suggest that certain probiotics can help preserve the skin
homeostasis by modulating the skin immune system.109,110
According to Schouten et al., a prebiotic diet caused reduced
acute allergic skin response in recipient mice.111
Essential Fatty Acids (Vitamin F)
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty
acids derived from linolenic, linoleic and oleic acids. They can-
not be produced in the human body and they have to be con-
sumed through our daily dietary intake. EFAs have also been
known as vitamin F. Arachidonic acid is a semi-EFA, as it can
be synthesized in the body from linoleic acid. The two families
of EFAs are ω-3, derived from linolenic acid, and ω-6, derived
from linoleic acid, with the number indicating the position of
the first double bond continuing from the terminal methyl group
on the molecule.6 ,112 They are present in multiple food sources
such as fish and shellfish, flaxseed, hemp oil, soya oil, canola oil,
signaling, thus providing evidence that curcumin-induced hor-
metic stimulation of cellular antioxidant defenses can be a use-
ful approach toward anti-aging intervention.90 Oral ingestion in
rodents has produced correction of cystic fibrosis defects and inhi-
bition of tumor proliferation, but human trials are lacking.6,91,92
Green tea polyphenols. Green tea polyphenols (GTPs) derivat-
ing from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis have been postulated
to protect human skin from the cutaneous signs of photoageing.
In animal models, UV-induced cutaneous edema and cyclooxy-
genase activity could be significantly inhibited by feeding the
animals with GTPs.93 However, in a study in 2005, although
participants treated with a combination regimen of topical and
oral green tea showed histologic improvement in elastic tissue
content, clinically significant changes could not be detected.94
Many laboratories have reported that topical treatment or oral
consumption of green tea polyphenols inhibits chemical carcino-
gen- or UV radiation-induced skin tumorigenesis in different
animal models. Studies have shown that green tea extract also
possesses anti-inflammatory activity. These anti-inflammatory
and anti-carcinogenic properties of green tea are due to their
polyphenolic constituents present therein. The major and most
chemopreventive constituent in green tea responsible for these
biochemical or pharmacological effects is (-)-epigallocatechin-
3-gallate (EGCG).95 EGCG can directly inhibit the expression of
metalloproteinases such as MMP-2, MMP-9 and MMP-12,96 and
is a potent inhibitor of leucocyte elastase,97 which is instrumental
in tumor invasion and metastasis.
Topical application of green tea extract containing GTPs on
C3H mice reduced UVB- induced inflammation.98 The research-
ers also found protection against UV-induced edema, erythema,
and antioxidant depletion in the epidermis. This work further
investigated the effects of GTPs after application to the back of
humans 30 min before UV irradiation. A decrease of myeloper-
oxidase activity and infiltration of leukocytes compared with the
untreated skin was documented.99
Ubiquinol (Coenzyme Q10)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble, endogenous (synthe-
sized by the body), vitamin-like substance that is mainly stored
in the fat tissues of our body. It is present in most eukaryotic
cells, primarily in the mitochondria and plays an important role
as a component of the electron transport chain in the aerobic
cellular respiration, generating energy. Ubiquinol is also a well-
known powerful antioxidant compound. In the skin, CoQ10 is
mainly to be found in the epidermis where it acts in combination
with other enzymic and non-enzymic substances as the initial
barrier to oxidant assault.100 Primary dietary sources of CoQ10
include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats (such
as liver), and whole grains. The amount of CoQ10 needed in
human organism can be gained through a balanced diet, how-
ever in the market CoQ10 is available in several forms as a supple-
ment, including soft gel capsules, oral spray, hard shell capsules,
and tablets. As a fat-soluble substance it is better absorbed when
taken with fat rich meals. CoQ10 is also added to various cos-
metics. It has been shown on rats that a CoQ supplementation
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©2012 Landes Bioscience. Do not distribute.
304 Dermato-Endocrinology Volume 4 Issue 3
diverse animal models including yeast, worms, flies, and labo-
ratory rodents.117 Although the underlying mechanisms remain
still unknown, some explanations such as alterations of hor-
mone metabolism, hormone-related cellular signaling, oxidation
status, DNA repair, apoptosis, and oncogene expression, have
been postulated.118, 119 In a histological study on Fischer 344
rats undergoing dietary CR, the histomorphological changes
resulting from intrinsic aging were delayed or prevented by CR.
Namely, a trend toward increased values for collagen and elastic
fibers, fibroblasts, and capillaries and a prevention of age-related
increase in the depth of the epidermis, dermis, and fat layer was
observed in skin samples from CR rats.120 Furthermore, in skin
tissues of mice with CR weight control a palette of genes showed
a differential expression when compared with mice receiving
normal diet. The authors concluded that dietary CR showed
profound inhibitory impact on the expression of genes relevant
to cancer risks.121 Studies evaluating CR in nonhuman primates
and its effects on human health, and on the metabolic param-
eters are ongoing.
Conclusions
To conclude, nutrition and skin aging still remains a controver-
sial and conflicting subject. A promising strategy for enhancing
skin protection from oxidative stress is to support the endoge-
nous antioxidant system, with antioxidants containing products
that are normally present in the skin.11 However, this should be
not confused with a permanent intake of non-physiological high
dosages of isolated antioxidants. Fruit and vegetables consump-
tion may represent the most healthy and safe method in order to
maintain a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin.
Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest
No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.
chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, wal-
nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, salmon and albacore tuna. EFAs
are essential for the synthesis of tissue lipids, play an important
role in the regulation of cholesterol levels and are precursors of
prostaglandins.113
The association between nutrient intakes and skin aging has
been examined in 2008 in 4025 women (40–74 y), using data
from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey. Skin-aging appearance was defined as having a wrinkled
appearance, senile dryness, and skin atrophy. Higher linoleic acid
intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of senile dryness
and skin atrophy.114 In a study where the effect of fish oil on UV
(UV) B-induced prostaglandin metabolism was examined, 13
patients with polymorphic light eruption received dietary supple-
ments of fish oil rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for
3 mo. The authors managed to show a reduction in UV-induced
inflammation, possibly due to lowered prostaglandin-E2 lev-
els.115 Furthermore, oral administration of an antioxidant mix-
ture containing vitamin C, vitamin E, pycnogenol and evening
primrose oil significantly inhibited wrinkle formation caused by
chronic UVB irradiation through significant inhibition of UVB-
induced matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity accompanied
by enhancement of collagen synthesis on hairless mouse skin.116
EFAs can also be found as artificial supplements in the mar-
ket. Fish oil supplements are usually made from mackerel, her-
ring, tuna, halibut, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, or seal
blubber, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and often contain small
amounts of vitamin E. They might be also combined with cal-
cium, iron, or vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C or D.
Caloric Restriction
It is widely accepted that caloric restriction (CR), without
malnutrition, delays the onset of aging and extends lifespan in
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... To create this MIS, we combined previously utilized ingredients known to facilitate improvements in mitochondrial function, namely α-LA, CoQ10, and vitamin E [12,14], with other compounds independently shown to exhibit skin health benefits within the scientific literature. These additional ingredients, with several key pieces of literature highlighting their beneficial attributes to skin health referenced for interest, include vitamin C [18][19][20][21][22], resveratrol [22][23][24][25][26], curcumin [25,[27][28][29][30], biotin [31], zinc [32][33][34][35], lutein [22,[36][37][38], astaxanthin [39][40][41][42][43], vitamin D [25,[44][45][46][47], and copper [48,49]. ...
... To create this MIS, we combined previously utilized ingredients known to facilitate improvements in mitochondrial function, namely α-LA, CoQ10, and vitamin E [12,14], with other compounds independently shown to exhibit skin health benefits within the scientific literature. These additional ingredients, with several key pieces of literature highlighting their beneficial attributes to skin health referenced for interest, include vitamin C [18][19][20][21][22], resveratrol [22][23][24][25][26], curcumin [25,[27][28][29][30], biotin [31], zinc [32][33][34][35], lutein [22,[36][37][38], astaxanthin [39][40][41][42][43], vitamin D [25,[44][45][46][47], and copper [48,49]. ...
... To create this MIS, we combined previously utilized ingredients known to facilitate improvements in mitochondrial function, namely α-LA, CoQ10, and vitamin E [12,14], with other compounds independently shown to exhibit skin health benefits within the scientific literature. These additional ingredients, with several key pieces of literature highlighting their beneficial attributes to skin health referenced for interest, include vitamin C [18][19][20][21][22], resveratrol [22][23][24][25][26], curcumin [25,[27][28][29][30], biotin [31], zinc [32][33][34][35], lutein [22,[36][37][38], astaxanthin [39][40][41][42][43], vitamin D [25,[44][45][46][47], and copper [48,49]. ...
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The macroscopic and microscopic deterioration of human skin with age is, in part, attributed to a functional decline in mitochondrial health. We previously demonstrated that exercise attenuated age-associated changes within the skin through enhanced mitochondrial health via IL-15 signaling, an exercise-induced cytokine whose presence increases in circulation following physical activity. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if these mitochondrial-enhancing effects could be mimicked with the provision of a novel multi-ingredient supplement (MIS). Cultured human fibroblasts isolated from older, sedentary women were treated with control media (CON) or CON supplemented with the following active ingredients to create the MIS: coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, curcumin, zinc, lutein, astaxanthin, copper, biotin, and vitamins C, D, and E. Outcomes were determined following 24 or 72 h of treatment. MIS provision to dermal fibroblasts significantly increased the mRNA abundance of mitochondrial biogenesis activators and downstream IL-15 signaling pathways, and proteins for oxidative phosphorylation subunits and antioxidant defenses. These findings were co-temporal with lower cellular senescence and cytotoxicity following MIS treatment. In summary, MIS supplementation led to exercise-mimetic effects on human dermal fibroblasts and their mitochondria by reproducing the molecular and biochemical effects downstream of IL-15 activation.
... The Skin Texture Gradually Deteriorates During the Aging Occurrence Period (Aged [31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42] Women in the aging occurrence period have fewer wrinkles. After entering the aging occurrence period, the skin texture gradually deteriorates, the skin roughness is significantly higher, the number of acne marks grows, and the pores are still few. ...
... The number and diameter of collagen fiber bundles also decrease with age, and the ratio of type III collagen to type I collagen increases (32). Extrinsic aging is caused by living conditions such as diet and nutritional status (33), smoking (34), sleep (35), stress (36), and environmental factors such as air pollution (37) and solar radiation (38,39). Among them, oxidative stress caused by ultraviolet radiation is considered to be the main cause of extrinsic skin aging, also known as photoaging (5). ...
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Background Facial skin is exposed to the environment, which marks it with obvious signs of aging. Based on multi-dimensional non-invasive evaluation data, female facial skin can be characterized in detail. However, there are few studies on the general aging rules of facial skin. Most skin aging studies divide the ages into 5–10-year intervals, so they have lacked dynamic matching with facial skin aging. Aim To explore facial skin aging rules, discuss the main parameters of facial skin aging, propose an unequal-distance aging division method based on the main skin parameters, and study the skin characteristics of Chinese women of different aging stages. Methods We comprehensively described the skin status as 24 non-invasive skin parameters belonging to five dimensions: skin wrinkles, texture, stain, color and barrier function. We performed polynomial fitting on the 21 skin parameters that were significantly correlated with age and derived the rules of aging in the different dimensions. Based on the wrinkle dimension, the facial skin aging process was divided into four stages, and the skin characteristics of the different stages were compared. Results Skin wrinkles increased, texture deteriorated, acne decreased, pigment spots increased, skin tone darkened, and sebum secretion decreased with age, according to the polynomial fitting. The aging stage was divided into an incubation period (18–30 years old), an aging occurrence period (31–42 years old), a rapid aging period (43–47 years old), and a stable aging period (48–60 years old), according to the wrinkles. Different aging stages had different skin characteristics. Conclusion The incubation period is the critical period for the appearance of skin stains; the skin texture gradually deteriorates during the aging occurrence period; the rapid aging period is a critical period for the aging of skin parameters; skin status during the stable aging period is the worst.
... Vitamins are immunity builder and works through various pathways for bone health. Vitamin D is itself used and reported for improved strength, skin elasticity [15,16], improve arterial stiffness, neuronal plasticity, and many more [17][18][19]. The effect of Biofield Energy Treatment on media (DMEM) and a novel test formulation was evaluated for its VDR expression using MG-63 (Human Osteosarcoma like cells), SH-SY5Y (Human Neuroblastoma cells), HaCaT (Human Keratinocytes), HEK-293 (Human Embryonic Kidney Cells), and MDA-MB-231 (Human Breast adenocarcinoma) cell lines through the values of relative quantification (RQ) in RT-PCR. ...
... As a complex and continuous biological process, skin aging is affected by both internal and external factors. Among exogenous factors, ultraviolet radiation is the most important factor [1]. Skin aging caused by ultraviolet radiation is called photoaging. ...
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Objective: To investigate the effects and corresponding mechanisms of total flavonoids (TFL) from Lycium barbarum leaves on photoaged human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). Methods: Crude TFL was extracted with 70% ethanol, and a Rutin standard curve was drawn using the sodium nitrite-aluminum nitrate-sodium hydroxide colorimetry method to calculate its yield and mass concentration. After that, the photoaging HDFs model was established by UVA combined with 8-MOP. CCK-8 was performed to assess the influence of TFL on the proliferation of HDFs and photoaging HDFs. β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) staining and activity assays were performed to evaluate the activity of SA-β-gal and the rate of SA-β-gal-positive cells in HDFs cells. The level of skin ECM proteins and oxidative stress-related substances in HDFs cells of each group was determined by ELISA and biochemical detection, respectively. Apoptosis of HDFs in each group was assessed by flow cytometry. The expressions of MAPK signaling pathway-related proteins in HDFs were detected by western blot. Results: The yield rate of TFL extracted by 70% ethanol was 41.9%, and its purity rate was 34.6%. TFL at 25, 50, and 100 μg/mL was able to greatly promote the proliferation of HDFs. A photoaged HDFs model was successfully constructed by combining UVA irradiation at 9 J/cm2 and 8-MOP at 50 mg/L. TFL treatment could significantly inhibit apoptosis, SA-β-gal-positive cell staining rate, SA-β-gal activity, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage, and malondialdehyde (MDA) content in photoaged HDFs. Further, TFL increased the proliferative activity, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, catalase (CAT) activity, type I collagen (Col I), hydroxyproline (HYP), and hyaluronic acid (HA) level of photoaged HDFs in a dose-dependent manner. Additional experiments suggested that TFL played a protective role by downregulating MAPK signaling pathway activity in photoaged HDFs cells. Conclusion: TFL could inhibit oxidative stress and apoptosis, promote cell proliferation and the level of ECM-related component proteins, and participate in antiphotoaging in a concentration-dependent manner. The protective role of TFL in photoaged HDFs might be related to its inhibition of MAPK signaling pathways.
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Upon exposure to UV light photooxidative reactions are initiated which are damaging to biomolecules and affect the integrity of cells and tissues. Photooxidative damage plays a role in pathological processes and is involved in the development of disorders affecting the skin. When skin is exposed to UV light, erythema is observed as an initial reaction. Carotenoids like β-carotene or lycopene are efficient antioxidants scavenging singlet molecular oxygen and peroxyl radicals generated in during photooxidation. When β-carotene was applied as such or in combination with α-tocopherol for 12 weeks, erythema formation induced with a solar light simulator was diminished from week 8 on. Similar effects were also achieved with a diet rich in lycopene. Ingestion of tomato paste corresponding to a dose of 16 mg lycopene/ day over 10 weeks led to increases in serum levels of lycopene and total carotenoids in skin. At week 10, erythema formation was significantly lower in the group that ingested the tomato paste as compared to the control group. No significant difference was found at week 4 of treatment. Thus, protection against UV light-induced erythema can be achieved by ingestion of a commonly consumed dietary source of lycopene. Such protective effects of carotenoids were also demonstrated in cell culture. The in-vitro data indicate that there is an optimal level of protection for each carotenoid.
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This paper summarises the occurrence in foods and beverages of the cinnamic acids, their associated conjugates and transformation products. Quantitative data are lacking for some commodities known to contain them, but it is clear that for many people coffee will be the major source. The daily dietary intake of total cinnamates may vary substantially from almost zero to perhaps close to 1 g. The data relating to their absorption and metabolism are presented along with a consideration of their possible in vivo effects. Data for true bioavailability are incomplete: in particular it is not clear whether availability differs markedly with the form of the conjugate, and whether as a consequence some dietary sources may be superior to others.© 2000 Society of Chemical Industry
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We measured enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants in human epidermis and dermis from six healthy volunteers undergoing surgical procedures. Epidermis was separated from dermis by currettage and antioxidants were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) or standard spectrophotometric methods. The concentration of every antioxidant (referenced to skin wet weight) was higher in the epidermis than in the dermis. Among the enzymic antioxidants, the activities of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase were higher in the epidermis compared to the dermis by 126, 61 and 215%, respectively. Catalase activity in particular was much higher (720%) in the epidermis. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and isocitrate dehydrogenase, which provide reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), also showed higher activity in the epidermis than the dermis by 111% and 313%, respectively. Among the lipophilic antioxidants, the concentration of α-tocopherol was higher in the epidermis than the dermis by 90%. The concentration of ubiquinol 10 was especially higher in the epidermis, by 900%. Among the hydrophilic antioxidants, concentrations of ascorbic acid and uric acid were also higher in the epidermis than in the dermis by 425 and 488%, respectively. Reduced glutathione and total glutathione were higher in the epidermis than in the dermis by 513 and 471%. Thus the antioxidant capacity of the human epidermis is far greater than that of dermis. As the epidermis composes the outermost 10% of the skin and acts as the initial barrier to oxidant assault, it is perhaps not surprising that it has higher levels of antioxidants.