Raspberry extracts could soon become the basis of anti-ageing creams, suggest researchers who have identified powerful chemicals in the fruit and other berries that can improve the body's resistance to skin ageing and sun exposure.
Lyn Larcom, a researcher at Clemson University in South California, who conducted the research, explained: "Raspberries have high concentrations of ellagic acid and other compounds that have significant cancer-fighting properties."
Ellagic acid has been found to promote the death of prostate cancer cells in culture, according to Medical University of South Carolina research. This and related compounds found in plants are effective in inhibiting cancer in mice. In addition, the powerful antioxidant may help in retaining the integrity of collagen, which is vital to maintaining the structure of skin.
Ellagic acid is one of many plant antioxidants, which inactivate free radicals produced by UV in sunlight and carcinogens. Raspberry extracts are also thought to act against the compounds that can allow cancers to spread through the body.
Larcom has been working with Dermacon, a South Carolina-based business specialising in plant-derived health products.
"The positive effect of raspberry extracts is well known, but Dr Larcom's work opens up new possibilities for additional health advances," said Greg Hyman, Dermacon president. The company is developing a topical skin cream to treat precancerous conditions and promote collagen health. The company also offers a skincare product line called E'llage, derived from a water-based extract of raspberry seeds.