Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection
Plant constituents such as carotenoids and flavonoids are involved in the light-protecting system in plants and contribute to the prevention of UV damage in humans. As micronutrients they are ingested with the diet and are distributed into light-exposed tissues where they provide systemic photoprotection. β-Carotene is an endogenous photoprotector, and its efficacy to prevent UV-induced erythema formation has been demonstrated in intervention studies. Lycopene is the major carotenoid of the tomato and is a very efficient singlet oxygen quencher in the group of carotenoids. Following ingestion of lycopene or tomato-derived products rich in lycopene, photoprotective effects have been demonstrated. After 10–12 weeks of intervention a decrease in the sensitivity towards UV-induced erythema was observed in volunteers. Dietary carotenoids may contribute to life-long protection against harmful UV radiation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Photodamage of the skin