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Topical sun screens don’t always provide the protection that tender skin needs against sunburn and skin aging. So it’s good news that British researchers have now shown that a simple food ingredient may give a considerable protective boost against sun damage.

For natural protection from within, The Nutri Centre, the UK’s leading resource for dietary supplements and complementary medicines, recommends taking Lycopene 10mg from Vitamin Research Products. This natural tomato extract delivers free radical fighting lycopene, one of our body’s most important quenchers of singlet oxygen free radicals with an antioxidant punch two or three times more powerful than beta carotene.

In a new study by researchers from the Universities of Newcastle and Manchester (1) subjects who consumed five tablespoons of lycopene rich tomato paste daily for 12 weeks were found to have 33 per cent more protection against sunburn, compared to the control group.

Skin samples taken from the subjects indicated that the tomato paste-supplemented individuals had higher skin levels of pro-collagen, a molecule which gives the skin its structure and loss of which leads to skin ageing and lack of elasticity.

Co-researcher Professor Lesley Rhodes said at the British Society for Investigative Dermatology annual meeting: "The tomato diet boosted the level of pro-collagen in the skin significantly. These increasing levels suggest potential reversal of the skin ageing process. This is in addition to the significant reduction in sunburn.“ (2)

If you want to minimise the skin-damaging effects of sunshine at home or on your summer holiday, but you can’t stomach a plate of tomatoes or a big daily dollop of paste, Lycopene as a supplement comes in convenient soft gel form, standardised for guaranteed potency and extracted from a special, high-lycopene tomato species.

Senior Nutri Centre nutritionist Alex Shalet commented: "People should not think that tomatoes as a food or supplement can replace sun creams, but they are certainly a good addition. If you can improve your skin protection through your diet then over time this may have a significant effect in reducing skin ageing and offer additional protection from the misery of sunburn.”

To avoid looking like a tomato try Lycopene 10mg by Vitamin Research Products, available from The Nutri Centre on 0207 436 5122 or on-line at It costs £19.95 for 60 soft gels – take one to two daily in divided doses.


Notes to Editors

(1) Source: British Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting 8 April 2008,
"Lycopene protects against biomarkers of photodamage in human skin"
Researchers: M. Rizwan, I Rodriguez-Blanco, A. Harbottle, M. Birch-Machin, R.E.B. Watson, L.E. Rhodes

The researchers recruited 20 people and randomly assigned them to receive 55 grams (five tablespoons) of standard tomato paste with 10g of olive oil daily, or just olive oil, for 12 weeks. has not seen the full data. The skin of the volunteers was exposed to UV light at the start and end of the trial, and the researchers found that the tomato paste-supplemented group had 33 per cent more protection against sunburn, than the olive oil only-fed group. The benefits of the tomato paste were attributed to the lycopene content, which may neutralise the harmful effects of UV light due to the excess production reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can damage important skin structures.

(2) Attendees at the annual meeting of the British Society for Investigative Dermatology also heard that lycopene was capable of reducing damage to mitochondrial DNA in the skin, which is also believed to be linked with skin ageing. "The protective effect of eating tomatoes on our mitochondria is important as they are the energy producers in all our body cells including skin," said Professor Mark Birch-Machin. "Therefore being kind to our mitochondria is likely to contribute to improved skin health, which in turn may have an anti-ageing effect."

Other health benefits
In other research Lycopene has also been linked to other potential health benefits including heart health, prostate health, anti-carcinogenic effects and uterine fibroid inhibition

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Lucy Bowden
Oakhurst Public Relations Ltd
tel 01494 712171

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