Lycopene helps prevent UV sun damage

Getting plenty of sunlight is a double-edged sword that you need to consider all year long.

Think about it: Vitamin D is crucial for strengthening your immune system and bones and elevating your mood, and one of the best ways to get the amount you need is by getting some sun. But too much sun can make your skin age faster and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Fortunately, you can get all the sun you need AND protect your skin from getting damaged by it. In fact, a new study shows there’s a way to ward off sun damage to your skin from the inside… just by taking supplements.

In the study, researchers exposed 65 healthy volunteers to radiation and gave them either a tomato nutrient complex rich in lycopene, a lutein supplement, or a placebo over the course of 12 weeks. And what they found was fascinating.

Typically, that kind of exposure to radiation (UVA and UVB, the two main types of ultraviolet rays we get from the sun) wouldn’t just burn your skin – because it would actually damage the DNA in the skin cells.

That damage, however, was totally blocked in the group that took 20 mg of lycopene-rich tomato supplements for 12 weeks.

Lutein proved effective too – but it couldn’t undo damage that had already been done. The volunteers that took the lutein at the beginning of the study in the first 12 weeks – around the time of their first exposure to the radiation – got the most benefit from it.

For many people, sunscreen is the most obvious answer for sun protection. But most of these are made with chemicals and other toxins that can actually cause cancer – which is what you’re trying to prevent in the first place.

That’s why this new research is so exciting.

You can get both of these carotenoid antioxidants in supplement form at your local health food store, but you can also make some Paleo-friendly changes to your diet to maximize the amount of protective lycopene and lutein that you’re getting.

While the best dietary source of lycopene by far is tomatoes, other great sources include rosy-hued fruits like pink grapefruit, apricots, pink guavas, and watermelon.

You can load up on lutein from avocados, eggs, leafy greens, and broccoli. Just remember that it needs a little fat to be properly absorbed.

When you spend time in the sun, wait a few minutes before fully covering yourself up – about half the time it takes your skin to burn. For many people, that would be about 10 or 15 minutes but it could be in as short a time as 10 or less minutes.

Then you can cover up with long sleeves, a hat, sunglasses, and a natural sunscreen formulated with zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
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Lycopene, lutein supplements show skin protection from within against UV radiation,

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