Sun Safe Foods: Ellagic Acid for Internal Sun Protection
In Part 4 of Dr. Clower’s Sun Safe Foods Series he’s sharing a compound that is pint-sized but powerful and helps to truly deliver a dose of internal sun protection.
Ellagic acid. You’ve almost certainly never heard of this component of at least 46 different fruits and nuts, but it is a huge cancer fighter found in highest concentrations in strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate, walnuts, and pecans. The ellagic acid found in these berries and nuts can help protect your DNA from damage and mutations. Mutations are great in zombie movies and sadly outdated explanations for superhero powers, but for you and your skin, they’re definitely on the not invited-to-the-party list.
One of the ways foods rich in ellagic acid safeguard your DNA is by allowing cancer cells to go ahead and die like normal cells do after they’ve lived a long healthy productive life of whatever it is they do all day. That way, instead of cells going all zombie apocalypse, never dying and eating your organs, they shut down, die, and go away.
Back to your skin, it turns out that ellagic acid can also inhibit the growth of melanoma cells, which are the Darth Vader of skin cancers. Fight them, you must. Foods with ellagic acid can help you do just that. In fact, in three cancer cell lines investigated, ellagic acid inhibited the growth and spread of them all.
Keep in mind that this protection was found for cells living in a petri dish and, while promising, doesn’t show that eating blackberry pie everyday will help your skin just yet. One particular study did seem to show that oral consumption of pomegranate extract (high in ellagic acid) helped protect the skin from sun burn… but that was just one study.
So far, this all sounds weak, except that there’s another aspect to it. You know how when some people get in the sun, they get brown patches, freckles, and sun spots? Those face blotches are caused by sun damage which, you guessed it, are prevented and reversed by eating foods that have ellagic acid in them. Now I have your attention.
An ellagic acid extract from pomegranate did this by inhibiting the number of dark melanocytes in the epidermis. The result was lightened “freckles and stains” and reduced UV-induced photoaging in the skin.
Bottom line? Eat more berries and nuts for that cancer-fighting, skin saving ellagic acid.