Whiling away hours out in the sun could hurt the skin in more ways than one. Fortunately, a new study has discovered a natural yet convenient way to prevent a burn. The research published in the journal Antioxidants found that eating grapes have a promising role in protecting the skin and stopping people from getting sunburned. Interestingly, it applies to both men and women in general. 

Their findings revealed that those who take up to two and a quarter cups of grapes daily for two weeks showed increased resistance to sunburn. They credit this beneficial effect to the presence of natural components called polyphenols.

Generally, repeated exposure to sunlight is the major reason about 3 million Americans suffer skin cancer each year – posing a major burden on the economy. About 90 percent of skin aging is due to excessive exposure of the skin to sunlight. The researchers state that burn prevention in the first instance could be a first step to avoiding skin cancers. However, they sought to explore other additional means.

Study Methodology 

To arrive at these findings, lead author, John Pezutto and the rest of the research team set up their study with the help of a total of 29 participants. Each participant received 28 packets of this freeze-dried grape powder produced under the guidelines of the California Table Grape Commission. These packs were equivalent to two and a quarter cups of fresh grapes per day and they were to consume these packs every day for two weeks. The researchers assessed their compliance through a daily diary they filled out upon every consumption and the empty powder pouches instructed to be submitted per week. 

Next, participants were administered a range of UV light exposure with each subsequent dose higher than the previous. They examined the response of the skin before and after grape consumption for 14 days by working out the intensity dose of UV exposure that was able to induce the appearance of uniform visible reddening 24 hours after exposure. This was defined as the Minimal Erythema Dose (MED). They then collected the participant’s urine and blood samples along with fecal samples for analysis.

Results

By the end of the study, of the 29 participants that partook in the study, about 31 percent were found to show ample resistance to UV after consuming grapes. And even upon withdrawal, the effect still lingered for over four weeks. Thereby suggesting most people build up resistance to sunburns after eating grapes likewise confirming an association between the skin and gut. 

In the same way, they found the three metabolites secreted in the urine to be lower among the group of participants that displayed resistance to UV light. 

One of these metabolites, 2-deoxyribonic acid — a strong signal of the damage the sun does to the skin — was significantly reduced in urine samples gotten from those who had indicated enhanced resistance to UV light.

At this level, the findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that eating grapes do enhance resistance to sun damage to the skin in a good number of people. 

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