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Beta-carotene Supplements May Help Protect Against Sunburn, a New Study Reports

Planning a Winter Sun or Skiing Holiday? - Use Beta-carotene as part of your sun protection


Beta-carotene supplements may help protect against sunburn, a new study reports.


Researchers identified a total of seven studies that evaluated the effectiveness of beta-carotene in protection against sunburn. Analysis indicated that beta-carotene is effective in providing protection, but that efficacy reflects the duration of supplementation. A minimum of ten weeks of beta-carotene supplement was suggested by the study authors based on the available data, with analysis indicating that the strength of the protective effect increases for each additional month of supplement use. Click here to view the study abstract.


Beta-carotene is responsible for the orange colour of carrots; it is a provitamin A carotenoid, meaning that it can be converted by the body to retinol (vitamin A) when required. Carotenoids have antioxidant activity, meaning that they are able to help protect cells from damage by substances called free radicals generated by the chemical reactions that sustain life. The structure of carotenoids enables them to absorb light, this property may help explain the protective effect of beta-carotene against sun damage; evidence has reported that 15-30 mg/d over a period of about 10-12 wk produces a protective effect. It is vital to be aware that beta-carotene supplementation will not provide absolute protection from the sun, sunscreen with a high protection factor is a holiday essential.


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