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Content archived on 2024-04-30

Impact of ultraviolet radiation on health; Nutrition for systemic p rotection


Ultraviolet light ( UV), present in sunlight and artificial sources (e.g. tanning equipment) has a negative impact on life. The most serious harmful effect is the induction of skin cancer. The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer is increasing by 5% annually because of the increasing ultraviolet exposure caused by the popularity of sunny holidays and sunbed use. This increase is expected to accelerate further, since the depletion of atmospheric ozone is anticipated to increase by 10-15% the average level of ultraviolet-B (UVB) reaching the earth's surface. The mechanism underlying photocarcinogenesis is not completely elucidated. For accurate risk assessment of UV radiation on human health better understanding of the carcinogenic process is necessary. Therefore, events responsible for initiation (DNA damage formation, mutagenesis) and promotion (altered gene expression, immunomodulation) of skin cancer will be studied in detail. Sunscreen creams, containing UVabsorbers, can protect against the deleterious effects of UV.

However, there are many drawbacks to local protection. Adequate protection is only acquired if the sunscreen is applied evenly, frequently and in sufficient amounts. Systemic delivery of photoprotectants by a simple dietary approach is an alternative and potentially more effective way to protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV. Promising photoprotectants include omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 FA), vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium.

Culture media of human keratinocytes and, in some cases diets of human volunteers and laboratory mice will be supplemented with these nutrients. The effect of the supplements on the above mentioned molecular events will be investigated. In addition, bioavailability of the nutrients and antioxidant status of the skin will be determined. The outcome of this work will (i) improve the risk assessment of UVfor man, will (ii) lead to a better understanding of how UVjeopardizes human health, will (iii) provide specific dietary advice for the public to prevent negative UV-health effects having assessed a solid understanding of how nutrition modulates UV-effects, and may (iv) provide new strategies for maintenance of human health.

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Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek
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48,Utrechtseweg 48
3700 AJ Zeist

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