Quercetin Protects Skin from UV Radiation


Most of us know the dangers associated with too much sun on our skin. More than just the temporary pain of a sunburn, ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB) rays can cause long-lasting, cumulative oxidative cell damage. This UV damage to our skin can lead to at worst skin cancers (e.g., basal and squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma) and at the least, unsightly wrinkles and other sun damage—adding years to your appearance.7

Recently the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University conducted an analysis of research which now suggests that dietary nutrients can play a skin-protective role. As a flavonoid with potent antioxidant powers, eating quercetin-rich foods can help reduce the effects of free radical damage on cells from UV exposure. Immediate relief from the redness and inflammation associated with sunburn has also been shown with topical application of quercetin-containing leaf extracts from Culcitium reflexum plants.7

Animal studies have determined that administration of quercetin prior to UV exposure, whether by injection or topical cream, protects against UVA and UVB free radical damage, as measured by markers for oxidative stress. UVA is known to stimulate production of enzymes associated with the breakdown of collagen, and lab studies show that quercetin blocks this enzyme’s activities.7

So in addition to practicing safe sunscreen habits, load up on some healthy foods that contain plenty of quercetin. Some good choices are:

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Member of the daisy family.
Chromium can help fight off acne too, with
its antibacterial qualities.