New Research: Eating Grapes Can Protect Against UV Damage to Skin

Person Holding Grapes

UV damage to the skin is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or artificial sources such as tanning beds. UV radiation can cause a variety of skin problems, including sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.

A recent study highlights the potential of grapes in providing photoprotection.

A recent study published in the journal Antioxidants has shown that consuming grapes can protect against UV damage to the skin. The study participants who consumed 2 ¼ cups of grapes daily for two weeks showed increased resistance to sunburn. The study also found a potential correlation between the gut and skin, as those participants who had UV resistance also had unique microbiomic and metabolomic profiles. The study suggests that the natural compounds called polyphenols found in grapes may be responsible for these protective effects.

This new study reinforces previous research in this area. In this investigation with 29 human volunteers, researchers examined the impact of consuming whole grape powder – equivalent to 2 ¼ cups of grapes per day – for 14 days against photodamage from UV light. Subjects’ skin response to UV light was measured before and after consuming grapes for two weeks by determining the threshold dose of UV radiation that induced visible reddening after 24 hours – the Minimal Erythema Dose (MED). Additionally, metabolomic analysis of the gut microbiome, blood, and urinary samples was undertaken.

Ultimately, one-third of the subjects demonstrated UV resistance following grape consumption, and these same subjects displayed significant differences in the microbiome and metabolome compared with the non-responders. Notably, the same three urinary metabolites were depressed in the UV-resistant group. One metabolite in particular (2’-deoxyribose) is a strong indicator of reduced photodamage and suggests unique genetic profiles of relevance for personalized medicine.

Furthermore, three of the UV-resistant subjects showed a durable response where UV protection remained after reverting back to no grape consumption for four more weeks. This work suggests that a segment of the population is capable of resisting sunburn following grape consumption and that there is a correlation between the gut-skin axis and UV resistance.

Over 3 million Americans are affected by skin cancer each year, largely as a result of exposure to sunlight. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Most skin cancer cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun: about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 86 percent of melanomas, respectively. Additionally, an estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.

John Pezzuto – lead author of the paper and professor and dean at Western New England University in Springfield, MA – notes “’Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ dates back to the time of Hippocrates. Now, after 2500 years, as exemplified by this human study conducted with dietary grapes, we are still learning the reality of this statement.”

Reference: “Short-Term Grape Consumption Diminishes UV-Induced Skin Erythema” by John M. Pezzuto, Asim Dave, Eun-Jung Park, Diren Beyoğlu and Jeffrey R. Idle, 30 November 2022, Antioxidants.
DOI: 10.3390/antiox11122372

The study was funded by the California Table Grape Commission. The funder was not involved in the preparation of the paper; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

6 Comments on "New Research: Eating Grapes Can Protect Against UV Damage to Skin"

  1. Science tech has taught me something

    • Female astronauts have fewer opportunities in space than men because of strict lifetime radiation exposure restrictions, A six-month mission on the International Space Station exposes astronauts to 40 times the average yearly dose of background radiation that a person would receive living on Earth,
      A six-month mission on the International Space Station exposes astronauts to 40 times yearly dose of background radiation that a person would receive on Earth,

      While the level of risk allowed for women becouse they have a lower threshold for space radiation exposure than men,
      “Depending on when you fly a space mission, a female will fly only 45 to 50 percent of the missions that a male can fly,”
      And what happened to putting the best candidates in space like we did in the ’60s when we had a head-to-head competition to determine who had the best ability for which Mission instead of trying to fill political agendas to put a person of color and a female on the moon!

      • There you go again, CJ, with you same old tired, ill-informed, cut-and-pasted, misogynistic, racist, off-topic spiel. You could really use a new hobbyhorse, not to mention a basic knowledge of punctuation. Evidently you were paying no attention when I tried to set you straight on this topic the last time, which isn’t surprising in light of your robotic habit of repeating yourself not only from post to post but also within a single comment. Quite subtle there, how you tossed in “a person of color” at the end after dwelling exclusively on women for the rest of the comment; perhaps you’re suggesting non-Aryans are more radiation-sensitive as well and that only “political agendas” could account for their presence on space missions. Verily, CJ, you have earned for yourself the rare triple facepalm. Don’t let anyone or anything (e.g., reality) deter you from your holy cause!

  2. This study used whole grape powder. Do the results extend to fresh grapes? to grape juice? to wine?

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