Strawberries Could Protect Against UVA Rays
August 4, 2012

Strawberry Extract Could Protect Skin From UVA Rays

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Adding strawberry extract to skin cell cultures can help protect the cells against ultraviolet radiation while also reducing the damage done to DNA, a team of Spanish and Italian researchers claim in a new study.

The study, which was announced on August 3 by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, could lead the way to the formulation of photoprotective cream made from strawberries.

Lead author Maurizio Battino, a researcher at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, and colleagues prepared human skin cell cultures (also known as fibroblasts) and added various concentrations of strawberry extract to all except for a single control. One received 0.05 mg/ml of extract, one 0.25 mg/ml, and one 0.5 mg/ml, and each sample was then exposed to UV radiation said to be roughly equivalent to approximately 90 days of middle of the day summer sun in the French Riviera.

"Data confirm that the strawberry extract, especially at a concentration of 0.5 mg/ml, displays photoprotective properties in those fibroblasts exposed to UVA radiation, it increases cell survival and viability and decreases damage in the DNA when compared with control cells," reports the FECYT.

"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," Battino said, adding that their work was 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."

Battino's team believes that it could be the anthocyanins that give strawberries their photoprotective properties. Anthocyanins, which are pigments that give leaves, flowers and fruits their red color, and according to the researchers, they are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties. They are also said to be "capable of modulating enzymatic processes," co-author Sara Tulipani from the University of Barcelona said.

"We have not yet found a direct relationship between their presence and photoprotective properties," she added. "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."