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Pomegranate: defends the skin from wrinkles and excess UV

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Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. Ellagic acid, a polyphenol compound present in berries and pomegranate, has received attention as an agent that may have potential bioactivities preventing chronic diseases. This study examined photoprotective effects of ellagic acid on collagen breakdown and inflammatory responses in UV (ultraviolet)-B irradiated human skin cells and hairless mice. Ellagic acid attenuated the UV-B-induced toxicity of HaCaT keratinocytes and human dermal fibroblasts. Non-toxic ellagic acid markedly prevented collagen degradation by blocking matrix metalloproteinase production in UV-B-exposed fibroblasts. Anti-wrinkle activity of ellagic acid was further investigated in hairless mice exposed to UV-B, in which it attenuated UV-B-triggered skin wrinkle formation and epidermal thickening.

Topical application of 10 μmol/l ellagic acid diminished production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6, and blocked infiltration of inflammatory macrophages in the integuments of SKH-1 hairless mice exposed to UV-B for 8 weeks. In addition, this compound mitigated inflammatory intracellular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression in UV-B-irradiated keratinocytes and photoaged mouse epidermis. These results demonstrate that ellagic acid prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory responses caused by UV-B. Therefore, dietary and pharmacological interventions with berries rich in ellagic acid may be promising treatment strategies interrupting skin wrinkle and inflammation associated with chronic UV exposure leading to photoageing. Source: Ji-Young Bae, Jung-Suk Choi, Sang-Wook Kang, Yong-Jin Lee, Jinseu Park and Young-Hee Kang, “Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation”, Experimental Dermatology Volume 19, Issue 8, August 2010, Pages: e182-e190, Article first published online : 25 JAN 2010, DOI : 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.01044.x  ~  A pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to between five and eight meters tall. The pomegranate is native to the Iranian Plateau, and has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, India, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Indonesia, peninsular Malaysia, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is in season from March to May.An ancient fruit, pomegranate is mentioned in Europe as early as the Iron-Age Greek Mythology in the Homeric hymns. Yet, it has still to reach mainstream prominence as a consumer fruit in commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere. Potential health benefits; In preliminary laboratory research and human pilot studies, juice of the pomegranate was effective in reducing heart disease risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. In a limited study of hypertensive patients, consumption of pomegranate juice for two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme. Juice consumption may also inhibit viral infections while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque.While one study showed that, in a test tube, extracts of the fruit can inhibit the proliferation of human breast cancer cells, no studies have shown that eating pomegranates has any effect on the development of breast cancer in humans.Despite research to date being preliminary to possible approval of a health claim on product labels, manufacturers and marketers of pomegranate juice have liberally used evolving research results for product promotion, especially for putative antioxidant health benefits. In February 2010, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to one such manufacturer, POM Wonderful, for using published literature to make illegal claims of unproven antioxidant and anti-disease benefits.  GoodNews International

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