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Lycopene-Rich Tomato Paste Benefits Skin Health

MANCHESTER, England—Adding lycopene-rich tomato paste to a diet may improve overall skin health and help protect against acute and potentially longer term aspects of photodamage on skin, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers examined whether tomato paste—rich in the powerful antioxidant—can protect human skin against ultraviolet radiation-induced effects partially mediated by oxidative stress, i.e. erythema, matrix changes and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage.

In a randomized controlled study, 20 healthy females, aged 21 to 47, ingested 55 g/d of tomato paste—16 mg/d of lycopene—in olive oil or olive oil alone for 12 weeks. Pre- and post-supplementation, UVR-erythemal sensitivity was assessed visually as the minimal erythema dose (MED) and quantified with a reflectance instrument. Biopsies were taken from unexposed and UVR-exposed (3xMED 24hours earlier) buttock skin pre- and post-supplementation and analyzed immunohistochemically for procollagen (pC)-1, fibrillin-1 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and for mtDNA 3895bp deletion by qPCR.

Mean erythemal D0.03 was significantly higher following tomato paste versus control, while the MED was not significantly different between groups. Pre-supplementation, UVR induced an increase in MMP-1 (P=0.01) and a reduction in fibrillin-1 (P=0.03). Post-supplementation, UVR-induced MMP-1 was reduced in the tomato paste versus control group (P=0.04), while the UVR-induced reduction in fibrillin-1 was similarly abrogated in both groups, and an increase in pCI deposition was seen following tomato paste (P=0.05). MtDNA 3895bp deletion following 3xMED UVR was significantly reduced post-supplementation with tomato paste (P=0.01).

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