This week the results of a study into the ability of the dietary supplement ingredient GliSODin to reduce susceptibility to sunburn were presented at the Annual Congress for Dermatological Research in Brest.
GliSODin, Isocell Nutra's patented oral Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is distributed as a raw material in the US by PL Thomas. Previous studies using the ingredient have lent support to useful nutritional applications and an ability to protect against severe oxidative stress.
Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize the harmful effects of free-radicals, which are the result of oxidatation caused by everyday encounters with the environment, pollution, stress and other factors.
For the latest randomized double-blind study at Center Hospital University in Besançon, France, researchers induced UV skin burn on the inner-forearms of 50 healthy subjects once a week over the four-week period.
The participants took a supplement containing either GliSODin or a placebo each day. Changes in skin color were measured by chromometry and changes due to inflammation by videocapillaroscopy.
Despite supplementation starting just two or three days prior to the first irradiation, the researchers said the benefits of GliSODin were already apparent.
In the group taking the supplements a significant increase in the minimum exposure to UV rays necessary to produce skin burn was noted. Even fair-skinned subjects (phototypes II) required eight times more exposure to produce burns than the placebo group.
Once burning had occurred, the redness was seen to decrease more quickly in the GliSODin group and the number of capillaries assessed by videocapillaroscopy increased, indicating a reduction in inflammation.
"This study confirms the efficacy of GliSODin in the prevention of the consequences of oxidative stress resulting from exposure to the sun," said the researchers.
Oral formulations to boost outward appearance, also known as 'cosmeceuticals', are a relatively new category for the supplements industry, but one which this year, for the first time, is deemed to merit its own trade show. Inside Beauty will take place in New York this September, as part of Health and Beauty America.
Cyanotech's BioAstin natural astaxanthin is another antioxidant supplement marketed in part for its ability to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. According to the company, research has shown that natural astaxanthin, produced from microalgae, has as much as 550 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin E and 10 times that of beta-carotene.
Vitamin E is the most common antioxidant used in sun care formulations, but a 2000 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that although oral supplementation made a small difference to the sunburn received by 22-fair skinned men and women over a 12-week period, the results were not significant enough for them to advocate replacing topical barriers with supplements.
It is estimated that 105,750 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, in 2005 - a 10 percent increase on last year's statistics. If this incidence rate continues, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
An estimated 7,770 Americans will die from the disease this year.