You probably have heard that sunlight is bad for your skin. But you may not have heard the best ways to protect yourself from this damage or how to neutralize this damage once it's been done. Fortunately, researchers have identified an antioxidant that few people have heard about that may prove to be an exceptionally effective way to keep your skin safe from the sun.
When you're exposed to the sun, UVB rays can cause your skin to burn. But UVA rays are even worse - they go deep into the skin, generating free radicals that damage DNA. Scientists know that antioxidants are a good way to fight free-radical damage. Researchers from Newcastle University have found that this new antioxidant may be even more effective.
Some of my favorite antioxidants are resveratrol and curcumin. You'll find them in red wine and curries, respectively. These antioxidants target the entire cell. But the Newcastle team found that other antioxidants target only specific parts of the cell. In particular, antioxidants that target the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, were the best at fighting sun damage in the skin. Tiron is one of these antioxidants. And it appears to be the most potent.
According to study author Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle, "To discover that Tiron offers complete protection against UVA damage is exciting and promising." While they still need to conduct further studies to find out the effects or Tiron in humans, it could certainly be a great source of protection against sun damage.
Just how effective is Tiron at protecting you from the sun's damaging rays? Consider this: In a test of potency, resveratrol protected against 22% of UVA radiation and stress-induced damage. NAC, an exceptional antioxidant that prevents hangovers, offered 20% protection against oxidative stress and 8% against UVA damage. Curcumin performed at 16% for oxidative stress and 8% for UVA.
By contrast, Tiron offered 100% protection against both UVA radiation and oxidative stress. That's incredible!
Unfortunately, you can't buy Tiron in supplemental form or in cosmetics. Researchers are still testing it for toxicity. Since Tiron is a man-made antioxidant, we'll need to see more proof that it's not a drug that has side effects. Until we know all this, don't let the numbers fool you.
Resveratrol, curcumin, NAC, and other nutrients can offer significant protection against UV damage if you take them every day. We know they don't cause any side effects. And they are very potent antioxidants. So don't hesitate to use them until we know more about Tiron.
I'll have more on Tiron as information becomes available. If Tiron does prove to be a safe option for humans, it could be an effective tool in maintaining your skin's health. Stay alert for future news about this promising antioxidant!
To your health, naturally,
A. O. Oyewole, M.-C. Wilmot, M. Fowler, M. A. Birch-Machin.Comparing the effects of mitochondrial targeted and localized antioxidants with cellular antioxidants in human skin cells exposed to UVA and hydrogen peroxide. The FASEB Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1096/fj.13-237008