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Green Tea May Protect Your Skin From UV Damage

UV exposure can affect all of us, regardless of skin color, by damaging our skin, eyes, and immune system. A recent study suggests that drinking green tea or taking catechin-rich green tea extract supplements may protect your skin against sunburn and UV damage.

The study included 14 adults with fair skin and an average age of 42.5. Over the course of 12 weeks, the participants took 540 mg of green tea catechins and 50 mg of vitamin C. The buttock skin of the participants was exposed to UV radiation at the beginning and conclusion of the study period to measure the level of sunburn.

The researchers noted increased levels of metabolites of green tea catechins in participant's skin fluids at the conclusion of the study. Additionally, levels of sunburn were reduced after the 12 week supplementation period.

The researchers also found that levels of 12-HETE, a marker of inflammation, were increased by UV exposure. However, that increase was reduced following the supplementation period.

One large cup of green tea includes 300 mg of catechins, so it would be necessary to drink two cups of green tea daily to receive the same amount of catechins used in this study.

The study was conducted by researchers at The University of Manchester. It was published online ahead of print on January 28, 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Catechins have been linked to other health benefits including lower cholesterol, weight loss, improved heart health, aiding in digestion and decreased risk of neurodegenerative diseases. They can also be found in red wine, apples, and berries.

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