Broccoli Protects Skin From Sun Damage

Broccoli Extract Reduces Redness, Inflammation Caused by Sun Exposure

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 22, 2007

Oct. 22, 2007 -- Add sunscreen to the list of broccoli’s health benefits. A new study suggests the potent vegetable may help protect the skin from sun damage.

Researchers found the compound sulforaphane, which is derived from broccoli sprouts, reduces the skin redness and inflammation caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Repeated sunburns are linked to a higher risk of skin cancer, and researchers say controlling the redness, known in medical terms as erythema, may be another way to fight skin cancer and sun-related skin damage.

Broccoli Skin Booster

In the study, researcher Paul Talalay of The Johns Hopkins University and colleagues examined the effects of sulforaphane on UV-induced erythema in six adults.

A solution containing sulforaphane derived from three-day old broccoli sprouts was applied to their skin before exposure to UV radiation using sun lamps.

The results showed the broccoli extract reduced redness by an average of 37% compared with untreated skin following UV exposure.

Researchers say the broccoli extract did not physically absorb the UV rays, but it appeared to work at the cellular level to prevent erythema. They say sulforaphane induces the formation of protective proteins in the skin and protects the skin from sun damage for several days.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Talalay, P. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Oct. 22, 2007, advance online edition. News release, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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