November 12, 2001
Vitamins C, E May Quench Free Radicals Caused by UV Light
CHAMPAIGN, Ill.--Research presented at the 8th Biennial Sunscreen Symposium (held in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 13 to 16) reported that vitamins E and C may prevent skin cancer. In a laboratory setting, researchers led by Kerry Hanson, a postdoctoral student at the University of Illinois, imaged skin at varying depths after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, looking for fluorescent tags that revealed the presence of free radicals. Using this technique, she found that the stratum corneum created a large number of free radicals after UV exposure.However, applying a cream containing antioxidants (vitamin E acetate, vitamin E alcohol and sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a form of vitamin C) after sunscreen application reduced free radical generation. She added that the best results were seen after numerous applications of vitamin C, which was found to accumulate within the skin. "Vitamin C was by far the best quencher," Hanson stated. "There are natural enzymes in the skin that cleave the phosphate group and form a reservoir of vitamin C." Even though recent studies have found vitamin E to play a large role in protecting skin from UV light, Hanson explained, "The conversion of vitamin E acetate to vitamin E is thought to be slower than the natural bioconversion of sodium ascorbyl phosphate to vitamin C. We ended up getting a reservoir of antioxidants that were present in the skin after three hours and when UV light irradiated the skin, almost 100 percent of the free radicals were quenched."Roche Vitamins Inc.(www.roche.com) co-sponsored this study and provided the cream that was used. For more information on Roche, visit Booth #1507 at SupplySide West.
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