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Antioxidant In Berries Reduces The Appearance Of Wrinkles


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By Margarita Nahapetyan

An antioxidant that is present in berries, in particular, strawberries, cranberries and raspberries, as well as in pomegranates and nuts, helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the face and repairs skin damage caused by the ultraviolet radioactive rays.

Ji-Young Bae, lead researcher of the study carried out at the Hallym University in South Korea, said that ellagic acid that is found abundantly in numerous berries, fruits, vegetables and nuts can act as potential sun block and protect skin from harmful UV rays. Previous studies have suggested that ellagic acid has a photoprotective effect.

For the latest study purposes, the scientists applied ellagic acid to human skin cells in the laboratory and found that the acid reduced the destruction of collagen and inflammatory response, which both are major causes of wrinkle appearance. They also administered the antioxidant to the skin of 4-week-old hairless male mice that had been exposed to strong, UV rays. Mice are often used in dermatology studies and experiments because their skin is very similar to that of humans. The research was carried out using the in-vitro as well as in-vivo applications.

In the experiment, that lasted for a period of eight weeks, 12 mice have been exposed to the radiation rays three times a week. Slowly and steadily the level of these rays was increased from a point where they caused redness or sunburn to a level where they could have definitely cause damage to the human skin. Throughout the course of these 8 weeks, 10 microM topical applications of ellagic acid were applied on the skin surface of 6 of the exposed mice. This was done on a daily basis, even on the days when mice were not exposed to ultraviolet rays. The other half of the mice served as controls, they were also receiving the radiation but were not given the ellagic acid.

The results revealed that that first, as it was expected, the mice which were exposed to UV rays without the ellagic acid treatment developed wrinkles and their skin became much thicker. Second, as hypothesized, the exposed mice which received topical application of ellagic acid demonstrated decreased wrinkle appearance. And finally, as it was demonstrated in the study of human cells, the ellagic acid reduced inflammatory response and the production of Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs), enzymes that are responsible for breaking down collagen in damaged skin cells affected by UV rays. The ellagic acid also helped prevent an increase of epidermal thickness.

The researchers say the results demonstrate that that ellagic acid is a polyphenyl ingredient and basically carries out a photoprotective function. It works as an anti-photo aging agent that prevents the wrinkle formation, as well as it reduces the effect of ICAM, which is a molecule accountable for inflammation. Both MMP and ICAM are responsible for skin damage caused by UV rays.

The study was presented on April 21, at the Experimental Biology 2009 meeting in New Orleans. The presentation was part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition.

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