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Study: Grape compound may provide natural protection against skin cancer

Friday, August 12, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: grapes, skin cancer, health news

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(NaturalNews) If you spend a lot of time in the sun, and are looking for a way to help naturally protect your skin from potential damage caused by sun exposure, new research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry just might have your answer. Scientists from the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Spanish National Research Council have found that flavonoids in grapes help to protect against skin cancer.

Contrary to popular belief, the sun is not evil, and the ultraviolet (UV) rays it emits are actually beneficial because they induce the natural production of vitamin D in the body. But too much sun exposure can obviously lead to damaging sunburn in some people, which may eventually cause melanoma and other forms of skin cancers.

But according to the study, antioxidants found in grapes apparently help prevent skin cells from being damaged or killed by excess sun exposure, effectively limiting its potentially harmful effects. Skin creams made with grape flavonoids, in effect, just might be the natural alternative to conventional sunscreens, as they could protect the skin against harm while also allowing the sun's UV rays to penetrate skin and produce vitamin D.

"This study supports the idea of using these products to protect the skin from cell damage and death caused by solar radiation, as well as increasing our understanding of the mechanism by which they act," said Marta Cascante, a biochemist from UB and lead author of the study.

The team did not indicate whether consuming grapes, wine, or other grape products provides the same benefits as topical applications appear to do. Many Mediterranean countries, however, where people spend a lot of time in the sun -- but that consume lots of grape products and also have low rates of skin cancer -- may itself be a testament to the power of grapes, among other things, in protecting the body against skin damage.

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