Lycopene, Lutein May Defend Skin Against UV Radiation


New study results suggest a lycopene-rich tomato nutrient complex from Lycored or lutein may provide skin protection at a molecular level against UV radiation.

Photo © Vuckovic

Photo © Vuckovic

New study results shared by carotenoid ingredients supplier Lycored (Be'er Sheva, Israel) suggest that oral supplementation with lutein or a lycopene-rich tomato nutrient complex (TNC) may provide skin protection at a molecular level against ultraviolent (UV) radiation.

Writing in the British Journal of Dermatology, researchers report that healthy adult volunteers aged 18–60 who supplemented with TNC or lutein for 12 weeks experienced “complete inhibition” of several genes that can be upregulated by UVA1 and UVA/B- radiation, including heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1).

Lycored, which funded the study, hailed the findings as evidence that its lycopene-rich tomato complex “provides protection against solar radiation–induced health damage.”

“This study suggests that we are slowing down the aging process, because it prevents the damages caused by UV exposure, including expressions of genes that are biomarkers for skin photo-aging, and oxidative stress on the skin,” says Karin Hermoni, PhD, category manager for Lycored, in the study announcement. “On top of that, as part of the photo-aging process we have evidence of the effect of our ingredients on the levels of expression of genes involved in collagen degradation, suggesting a link not only to skin health but also to skin appearance.”


Study Details

The placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study included 65 volunteers who were randomized to four treatment groups, with each group consuming either oral TNC or lutein supplements for 12 weeks and a placebo for a separate 12 weeks. Two of the groups started with the active treatment (TNC or lutein) and then switched to the placebo for the second treatment phase, while the other two groups started with placebo and then switched to the active treatment for the second phase. A two-week washout period preceded each treatment phase.

Participant skin was irradiated at the beginning and end of each treatment phase, with researchers taking biopsies 24 hours after irradiation from each participant’s untreated, UVA/B- or UVA1 irradiated skin. RT-PCR analysis of gene expression performed on the biopsies revealed that both TNC and lutein inhibited gene upregulation that can be induced by UVA1 or UVA/B- radiation, although lutein was significantly less effective than TNC at producing these effects in the second treatment phase of the study.

“Assuming the role of these genes as indicators of oxidative stress, photo-dermatoses, and photo-aging, these results might indicate that TNC and lutein could protect against solar radiation–induced health damage,” the study authors concluded.


Read more:

French Grape and Melon Formula Improves Skin Radiance?

Tomato Extract May Inhibit LDL Cholesterol Oxidation

Collagen Peptides Reduce Cellulite in Women?


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Grether-Beck S et al., “Molecular evidence that oral supplementation with lycopene or lutein protects human skin against ultraviolet radiation: results from a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over study,” British Journal of Dermatology. Published online September 23, 2016.

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