The Telegraph is reporting that drinking wine or eating grapes could protect you from sunburn, according to a new study that found a chemical in the fruit can limit cell damage.
The University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) looked at the chemical reaction in the skin when hit by UV rays from the sun.
Ultraviolet rays act on the skin by activating ‘reactive oxygen species’ (ROS). These compounds in turn oxidise macromolecules such as lipids and DNA, stimulating certain reactions and enzymes (JNK and p38MAPK) which cause cell death.
Ultraviolet rays are the leading environmental cause of skin complaints, premature ageing, sun burn and even skin cancer.
The scientists from the University of Barcelona and CSIC have found that some polyphenolic substances extracted from grapes (flavonoids) can reduce the formation of ROS in human epidermis cells that have been exposed to long-wave (UVA) and medium-wave (UVB) ultraviolet radiation.
The study, carried out in vitro in the laboratory, has been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Dr Marta Cascante, Professor of Biochemistry, at the University of Barcelona and director of the research project, said it proves grapes could help protect the skin from sun burn and even skin cancer.
She said the research could help to develop skin creams and other products to protect skin from sun damage.
“This study supports the idea of using these products to protect the skin from cell damage and death caused by solar radiation, as well as increasing our understanding of the mechanism by which they act”, she said.
Already cosmetic companies are registering interest in the hope of making sun creams or pills that copy the process.
Back in December 2010 researchers in New Zealand found that the left-over Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grape seeds after fermentation make an excellent sunscreen lotion to protect the skin from sun’s harmful UV rays.
Marlborough produces the bulk of the country’s sauvignon grapes – once the wine’s been made, there’s an abundance of grape seeds left over.
New scientific findings show the wine by-product is highly effective at preventing UV rays that harm the skin.
AgResearch, who conducted the research are working with a company which already uses Marlborough sauvignon blanc grapes for various health products.
A sunblock made from grape extracts sounds like a good idea to me but I am not convinced that you could be protected from sunburn by drinking wine . . . despite what the press headlines say!