Medical News and Perspectives
December 19, 2007

Broccoli Extract May Help Reduce UV Skin Damage

JAMA. 2007;298(23):2731. doi:10.1001/jama.298.23.2731

Dermatologists who stress the importance of seeking shade and using sunscreens may some day have a new weapon in their armamentarium for preventing skin cancer. Although the research is preliminary, scientists have discovered that an extract of broccoli sprouts protects skin against the deleterious effects of UV radiation (Talalay P et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi:10.1073/pnas.0708710104 [published online ahead of print October 23, 2007]).

The investigators believe that the extract, which is applied topically, may have utility above and beyond sunscreen. “This is not a screen because the ultraviolet radiation is not prevented from entering the skin cells,” said lead author Paul Talalay, MD, of the department of pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. Instead, sulforaphane, the protective chemical in broccoli extracts, works inside cells by boosting the production of protective enzymes that defend against UV damage.

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