Ellagic acid in berries, raspberries and strawberries blocks skin aging
A diet rich in soft fruit, such as blackberries, strawberries, cherries and berries, may slow skin aging. Soft fruits contain ellagic acid, a substance that blocks the harmful effect of UV radiation on skin cells. UV radiation is the main cause of skin aging.
In vitro study
In 2010, South Korean scientists at Hallym University published a study in Experimental Dermatology in which they exposed skin cells to UV radiation. This radiation made the cells less healthy, and killed some of them.
Administration of ellagic acid to the cells almost completely abolished this damaging effect of UV irradiation.
UV radiation activated MMP enzymes. These enzymes break down collagen structures. Ellagic acid prevented the increase in enzyme activity and maintained the amount of type 1 collagen in the cells.
Besides cells, the Koreans also experimented with hairless mice, which they exposed to UV radiation. As a result, the animals' skin became rougher, less soft and more flaky.
If the researchers also smeared a solution containing ellagic acid on the skin of the mice, these effects were largely absent.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
"The present results demonstrate the photoprotective effects of anti-oxidant ellagic acid on skin wrinkle formation resulting from collagen breakdown through increasing MMP production", summarize the Koreans.
"Therefore, topical or dietary interventions with berries and pomegranate rich in ellagic acid and ellagitannins are promising strategies in curtailing skin wrinkling and cutaneous inflammation associated with chronic UV exposure leading to photoageing."
Exp Dermatol. 2010 Aug;19(8):e182-90.
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