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Sunburn Protection From an Unlikely Source

Broccoli has many health benefits. Protecting you from the sun may be the last thing that comes to mind. But researchers in the U.S. are finding an extract from newly sprouted broccoli helps fend off damage from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

So, eating and wearing broccoli are beneficial.

The extract, known as sulforaphane, reduced skin redness and damage by more than one-third compared with untreated skin, they said.

“This is a first demonstration that a human tissue can be protected directly against a known human carcinogen,” said Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This is not a sunscreen,” Talalay said. The extract helped fortify skin cells to fight the effects of UV radiation as opposed to blocking the rays.

At the highest doses, the extract reduced redness and swelling by an average of 37 percent. The effect varied considerably with volunteers, ranging from 8 to 78 percent protection, due to genetic differences.

Skin cancer – the most common cancer in the U.S. – affecting more than 1 million Americans every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. It kills more than 10,000 people each year, which is about four percent of all cancer deaths.

October 23rd, 2007

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