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Coffee & chocolate protecting skin

August 26, 2011 Reviewed by Sunil 2 Comments
Coffee and chocolate have always been under the microscope but for different reasons. Dark chocolate is often hailed for its powerful antioxidant properties while coffee  is full of that get up and go juice also known as caffeine- a widely researched chemical in well being. But researches in separate studies are taking a closer look at potential benefits coming from the kitchen cabinet ingredients.

Researchers at Quebec's Laval University's Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods are looking into chocolate and its relationship with UV light. Right now, researchers are gathering fair-skinned female volunteers to eat three squares of chocolate, everyday, for 12 weeks. The idea behind it is that polyphenols, a chemical found in chocolate, has been known to increase blood flow to the skin which can help protect against damaging UV light. The women will be exposed to UV light and scientist will monitor their damage. If polyphenols are indeed increased, the group of women that have been eating chocolate should have a smaller degree of UV damage compared to the control group.

While the study in Quebec is still looking for volunteers, researchers at Rutgers University have just finished up their own study that shows that caffeine is also good at fighting UV damage. The study, found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, shows that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level, by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin known as ATR. It namely focused on ATR, a protein enzyme that's inhibited by caffeine.

The research is building on an older study where mice drank caffeinated water. The caffeinated mice that were exposed to UVB radiation were able to kill off a greater percentage of their badly-damaged cells, and reduce the risk of cells developing cancer. In the new study, researchers genetically modified one group of mice to reduce the protein enzyme ATR, and then exposed them and a group of unmodified mice to ultraviolet light. The result was genetically-modified mice developed tumors more slowly than unmodified mice; had 69 percent fewer tumors than regular mice; and developed four times fewer invasive tumors.

Allan Conney of the department of chemical biology at Rutgers University notes "All of this suggests the possibility that caffeine, possibly [applied to the skin], would have an inhibitory effect on sunlight-induced skin cancer. In addition to the effects on the ATR pathway, caffeine also has sunscreening properties."

These results were created on a genetic level but researchers will now look into whether or not caffeine applied to the outside of the skin will have the same effect in protection.

For now, we’re still awaiting added research into these ingredients from a convenient topical application standpoint. Maybe in the near future you’ll be slathering mocha frappuccino sunscreens on your body, but I'm not sure if people are going to want to walk around smelling like a Starbucks.
  • November 6, 2011

    by Peter Langelaar

    Not all chocolate is processed equal ! Waxes fillers roasted beans alkalising and refined sugar will remove the health benefits of dark chocolate.
    That's why it's better to use a Organic Raw and bio chocolate that has a minimum of 800 mg flavonoids in one square ( 10 gram) . Like ProF. Rodger Corder mentioned in his presentation
    chocolate as a functional food http://www.fhf.org.uk/meetings/2007-12-11_corder.pdf
    Like to eat the same healthy chocolate i do contact me at Facebook: http://on.fb.me/nKRwhr

    Have a nice day

    Peter

  • August 28, 2011

    by Dean

    Dark chocolate in moderation has many other health benefits as well, including improved blood circulation, lowered blood pressure, lowered cholesterol, improved brain function, protection against tooth decay, and improved post-workout muscle recovery. These benefits are attributable to the high concentration of antioxidants in dark chocolate.

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