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April 2005, Volume 35 Number 4 , p 30 - 30




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    A fern plant extract packaged in pill form may help protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can trigger skin cancer. The fern extract, Polypodium leucotomos , is a natural antioxidant with antitumor properties.

    Researchers exposed nine people with healthy skin to varying doses of UV radiation over various parts of their backs. The doses were two to three times that needed to produce minimal reddening. After taking capsules containing the extract, participants underwent a second exposure to UV radiation. Researchers took skin biopsy specimens from participants after each UV exposure.

    After taking the extract, participants experienced significantly less reddening. On biopsy, researchers found fewer sunburn cells (keratinocytes undergoing apoptosis, or cell death) and fewer compounds associated with skin cancer. They note that sunscreen in pill form ...

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