Garlic, an unlikely beautyceutical
If you eat garlic regularly, your skin may stay young for longer. Nutritional moleculair scientist from Hanseo University in South Korea discovered this when they were experimenting with human skin cells which they eposed to garlic extract and ultraviolet radiation.
The Koreans exposed HaCaT keratinocytes to UVB radiation. Keritanocytes make up the collagen that the skin consists of; UVB radiation is the most harmful component of sunlight. Ultraviolet light, and especially UVB, is the most important factor in skin aging.
The Koreans also exposed the skin cells to a garlic extract based on alcohol, which they produced themselves. And, if it interests you, the researchers were not sponsored by a producer of garlic supplements. Their research was funded by their university.
Ultraviolet radiation accelerates skin aging by stimulating the formation of aggressive molecules in skin cells. Those molecules - yep, we're talking free radicals again - activate the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase-1 [MMP-1] - and MMP-1 breaks down collagen. Exposure to garlic, however, caused the irradiated skin cells to barely make more MMP-1.
UV radiation also increases the activity of inflammatory factors such as interleukin-1-beta and interleukin-6 in skin cells. They make the immune system clear up dead skin cells. Exposure to garlic inhibited this increase, as you see above.
The more a tissue is affected by aging, the greater isthe activity of the enzyme senescence-associated beta-galactosidase in this tissue. Scientists consider senescence-associated beta-galactosidase a fairly reliable marker of aging. And yes, exposure to garlic prevented this increase as well.
"The present study provides the first evidence that garlic protected [...] keratinocytes from UV-induced cell damage and cellular senescence as determined by expression of senescence associated beta-galactosidase [...]", summarize the Koreans.
"The presence of garlic scavenges UVB-induced free radicals in [...] keratinocytes, which, in turn, inhibits MMP-1 expression, pro-inflammatory cytokines production, and the activity of senescence related biomarkers. Based on these characteristics, garlic could have good potential as an anti-aging substance."
"However, it is important to note that the results of this study were based on experiments conducted using an in vitro cellular model. Accordingly, further studies using in vivo animal models should be conducted to elucidate the mechanism by which garlic prevents cellular senescence."
Nutrients. 2016 Jul 29;8(8).
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