Editor: Fiona Tuck – The Forensic Nutritionist

There has been considerable interest in the use of naturally occurring plant compounds such as polyphenols, for the prevention of UV-induced skin photodamage primarily including the risk of skin cancer.

Polyphenols are a type of phytochemical (plant chemical)  that occurs naturally in plants. There are over 500 unique polyphenols which occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. Dietary polyphenols possess anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anti-oxidant properties and are among the most promising group of compounds that can be used as ideal chemo-preventive agents for a variety of skin disorders in general such as sun damage and ageing and in particular skin cancer.

Advances in the understanding of cellular carcinogenesis have led to the development of a ‘chemoprevention’ strategy. Chemoprevention is a means of cancer control that is based on the use of specific natural substances that can suppress, retard or reverse the process of carcinogenesis. In this respect, chemoprevention offers a realistic strategy for controlling the risk of cancers. Furthermore, a chemo-preventive approach appears to have practical implications in reducing skin cancer risk because, unlike the carcinogenic environmental factors that are difficult to control, individuals can modify their dietary habits and lifestyle in combination with a careful use of skincare products to prevent the photo damaging effects in the skin.

Eating a plant-based diet high in polyphenol-rich foods may not only help to prevent us from chronic disease but also help to protect our skin from premature aging and even UV induced skin cancers. Studies have shown the efficacy of naturally occurring polyphenols, in particular green tea polyphenols and proanthocyanidins from grape seeds against UV radiation-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA damage and suppression of immune responses.

Eating a diet high in all forms of polyphenols may be beneficial to our health in many ways

Possible benefits of a Polyphenol Rich diet include:

• Reduced risk of inflammatory-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and hormonal imbalance. Polyphenols may help to protect the cells in the body from free radical damage that occurs from a poor lifestyle, stress, medications and glycation. 

• Polyphenols may help with a healthy gut microbiome by promoting the growth of healthy gut flora. There is some evidence to show that a high polyphenol intake can positively modulate the intestinal microbiome enabling more of the eubiotic bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids (which are important in maintaining a healthy gut). Gut microbiota and dietary polyphenols have a symbiotic relationship: the microbiota enzymatically transforms polyphenols to improve bioavailability, while polyphenols modulate microbial composition by enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of pathogens, thus exhibiting the prebiotic-like effect. In turn, this may help with the health of the gut and may benefit those with gut-related disorders and diseases.

• Polyphenols may help to protect the cells from damage by helping to protect telomeres. Telomeres are the caps at the end of the chromosomes that protect the DNA. Telomeres are particularly susceptible to oxidation and so eating a diet rich in polyphenols may assist with slowing the rate of telomere degradation. 

• Polyphenols may benefit brain function, cardiovascular health and circulation by providing blood vessel support and lowered risk of oxidations of fats in the cellular membranes. 

• Polyphenols may boost insulin sensitivity, as well as slow down the rate the body digests and absorbs sugar.

• Higher flavonoid intake may be associated with a lower BMI and waist circumference.

• Polyphenols may impact genes and gene expression. A person’s specific genes can also affect how their body responds to certain types of polyphenols. 

• Polyphenols may assist with healthy glowing skin. Particularly important for those wanting to delay the signs of premature aging, or those wanting to prevent pigmentation, acne, rosacea and inflammatory type skin conditions. 

Plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits tend to be high in polyphenols

The number of polyphenols in a portion of food can vary depending on where the food is grown, how it is farmed and transported and how it is cooked or prepared. High heat and prolonged cooking may damage or destroy the polyphenol content of food.

Eating a plant-based diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and full of fresh produce and minimally processed food is proving to be the healthiest way to eat.

Our Vita-sol Infinity prebiotic beauty food provides an array of polyphenols including grapeseed and green tea to support skin cells from the inside out. Take 2 teaspoons of Vita-sol Infinity powder every single day.

Contact us and get in touch for more information or product sales and find your best skin solution.

References

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Douki T, Reynaud-Angelin A, Cadet J, et al. Bipyrimidine photoproducts rather than oxidative lesions are the main type of DNA damage involved in the genotoxic effect of solar UVA radiation. Biochemistry. 2003;42:9221–9226.

Gu M, Dhanalakshmi S, Singh RP, et al. Silibinin protects against photocarcinogenesis via modulation of cell cycle regulators, mitogen-activated protein kinases, and Akt signaling. Cancer Res. 2004;64:6349–6356

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Huang CC, Wu WB, Fang JY, Chiang HS, Chen SK, Chen BH, Chen YT, Hung CF, et al. (−)-Epicatechin-3-gallate, a green tea polyphenol is a potent agent against UVB-induced damage in HaCaT keratinocytes. Molecules. 2007;12:1845–1858

Katiyar SK, Perez A, Mukhtar H. Green tea polyphenol treatment to human skin prevents formation of ultraviolet light B-induced pyrimidine dimers in DNA

Manach C, Scalbert A, Morand C, et al. Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79:727–747

Mantena SK, Katiyar SK. Grape seed proanthocyanidins inhibit UV radiation-induced oxidative stress and activation of MAPK and NF-κB signaling in human epidermal keratinocytes. Free Rad Biol Med. 2006;40:1603–1614.

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Zi SX, Ma HJ, Li Y, et al. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins from grape seeds effectively inhibit ultraviolet-induced melanogenesis of human melanocytes in vitro. Int J Mol Med. 2009;23:197–204