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Effects of oral vitamin E and ?-carotene supplementation on ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress in human skin

Record type: Article

Background: Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) generates reactive oxygen species in skin that can play a role in skin damage, but reports about the photoprotective properties of oral antioxidant supplements are conflicting.
Objective: We examined the ability of 2 lipid-soluble antioxidants, vitamin E and ß-carotene, to reduce markers of oxidative stress and erythema in human skin exposed to UVR.
Design: Sixteen healthy subjects took either {alpha}-tocopherol (n = 8; 400 IU/d) or ß-carotene (n = 8; 15 mg/d) for 8 wk. Biopsy samples before and after supplementation were taken from unexposed skin and skin 6 h after 120 mJ/cm2 UVR. The effects of supplements on markers of oxidative stress in skin and the minimal erythema dose to UVR were assessed.
Results: Supplementary vitamin E was bioavailable, the plasma concentration increased from 14.0 ± 0.66 ( ± SEM) to 18.2 ± 0.64 µg/mL (P < 0.01), and the skin concentration increased from 0.55 ± 0.09 to 1.6 ± 0.19 ng/mg protein (P < 0.01). Supplementary ß-carotene increased plasma concentrations from 1 ± 0.3 to 2.25 ± 0.3 µg/mL (P < 0.05), but skin concentrations were undetectable. Before vitamin E supplementation, UVR increased the skin malondialdehyde concentration from 0.42 ± 0.07 to 1.24 ± 0.16 nmol/mg protein (P < 0.01), whereas oxidized or total glutathione increased from 9.98 ± 0.4% to 12.0 ± 1.0% (P < 0.05). Vitamin E supplementation significantly decreased the skin malondialdehyde concentration, but neither vitamin E nor ß-carotene significantly influenced other measures of oxidation in basal or UVR-exposed skin.
Conclusions: Vitamin E or ß-carotene supplementation had no effect on skin sensitivity to UVR. Although vitamin E supplements significantly reduced the skin malondialdehyde concentration, neither supplement affected other measures of UVR-induced oxidative stress in human skin, which suggested no photoprotection of supplementation.

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McArdle, Frank, Rhodes, Lesley E., Parslew, Richard A., Close, Graeme L., Jack, Catherine I. A., Friedmann, Peter S. and Jackson, Malcolm J. (2004) Effects of oral vitamin E and ?-carotene supplementation on ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative stress in human skin American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80, (5), pp. 1270-1275.

More information

Published date: 2004
Additional Information: Original Research Communication
Keywords: lipid-soluble vitamins, oxidative stress, skin, photoprotection, human study


Local EPrints ID: 27259
ISSN: 0002-9165
PURE UUID: b1e06385-cfe4-40c0-846d-40185b59f8e3

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Date deposited: 25 Apr 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:05

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Author: Frank McArdle
Author: Lesley E. Rhodes
Author: Richard A. Parslew
Author: Graeme L. Close
Author: Catherine I. A. Jack
Author: Peter S. Friedmann
Author: Malcolm J. Jackson

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