New Role for Vitamin C In Skin Protection

A recent report, published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, is the latest in a long line of publications on Vitamin C from Tiago Duarte now of the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal, Dr Marcus Cooke and G Don Jones from the University of Leicester.

Previous research, for which they can now provide some mechanistic evidence, suggested that DNA repair is up-regulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. Their most recent study analysed the effect of sustained exposure to a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P), in human dermal fibroblasts – which genes are activated by vitamin C in these cells and which are responsible for skin regeneration.

The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions.

Dr Cooke added the study indicated a mechanism by which vitamin C could contribute to the maintenance of a healthy skin by promoting wound healing and by protecting cellular DNA against damage caused by oxidation.

These results will be of great relevance to the cosmetics industry. Free radicals are associated with premature skin aging, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are known to counter these highly damaging compounds. This new evidence suggest that, in addition to ‘mopping up’ free radicals, vitamin C can help remove the DNA damage they form, if they get past the cell’s defenses.

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First Published in September 2009

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