News & Perspectives

Vitamin Sunblock?

A short 12 week German study found that taking 25 mg (40,000 IU) of beta-carotene daily offered modest protection for a small group of fair-skinned people from the sun’s damaging UV rays, providing the equivalent of about 2.4 SPF (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,3/00).

The researchers caution that the vitamin doesn’t replace wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun, advice that is bolstered by recent findings from the large and ongoing Physicians’ Health Study in Boston.

In that report, researchers followed 22,071 male doctors over many years. Some were taking beta-carotene (50 mg on alternate days) others were not. After 12 years, virtually equal numbers of men who did and did not take beta-carotene had developed two of the most common types of skin cancer—basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.

Experts advise that if you do take beta-carotene, it is best to take it with other, related "mixed carotenoids," including lycopene and lutein.

Date Posted: 06/01/2002

Date Published: 05/31/2002
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