Health & Well-Being-Take vitamin E to fight sunburn?

It's popular in Europe as a sun-protection program, and now two new studies suggest that taking carotenoid and vitamin E supplements may be an effective adjunct to sunscreens in reducing sunburn.

In the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), researchers showed that natural mixed carotenoids and vitamin E reduced the skin-reddening effects of sunburn. In its "High-lights of Recent Research" on the AJCN Web site, the organization states: "Beta-carotene has been widely used as an oral sun protectant with few studies into its effectiveness; however, Stahl et al provide clinical evidence that beta-carotene modifies sunburn damage, and vitamin E may add to that effect. Sunburn intensity was significantly reduced in subjects who took vitamin E supplements over a 12-week period while being exposed to UV radiation."

Also recently published is a dose-response study in the "Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine." This study used natural mixed carotenoid supplements, which most closely resemble those found in fruits, vegetables and plants.

"It appears from the research that what carotenoids do for plants, they can do for the skin," says Ronald Watson, PhD, professor of public health research at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson. "While this may suggest a new idea in sun care for many sun worshippers out there, it's important to note that these supplements must be taken along with use of sunscreens."