Healthy living

Antioxidant found in berries may reduce wrinkles

fruity! Ellagic acid may prevent UV skin damage that leads to wrinkles

We all know we should be eating our five fruit and veg a day, and that berries are packed with vitamins. However, recent research suggests that an antioxidant found in various fruits, vegetables and nuts may protect your skin from damaging UV rays and slow down the formation of wrinkles.

Scientists from Hallym University in Korea applied the antioxidant ellagic acid to human skin cells and the skin of hairless mice, chosen because their skin is similar in many respects to humans.

For eight weeks, 12 hairless mice were exposed three times a week to increasing doses of UV radiation, such as that found in sunlight. The UV radiation was used at levels which would have have caused rednesss, sunburn and skin damage in humans. Each day of the study, half the mice were give a topical application of the ellagic acid. The others were left untreated.

The scientists found that the mice treated with ellagic acid had less wrinkle formation than the untreated mice which developed wrinkles and skin thickening, a sign of sun damage to the skin.

The researchers say that the ellgagic acid protects against UV damage by blocking the production of enzymes responsible for breaking down collagen in damaged skin. Collagen helps give skin it's 'elasticity', and also by reducing the production of a molecule involved in inflammation.

Ellagic acid can be found in numerous fruits, vegetables and nuts, especially raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and pomegranates.

The research was presented this week at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in New Orleans.

This article was published on Wed 22 April 2009

Image © manolito -

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