Daily pill promises to protect against sun damage

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Polypodium leucotomos, Ultraviolet

'Sun defense in a pill' is the claim of a Florida-based company
releasing a dietary supplement designed to protect the skin against
UVA and UVB damage.

The product targets a small but growing niche within the 'beauty from within' trend, joining a number of ingestible products designed to help protect against sunburn, photoaging and cancer. Everyday protection​ The product is designed for active individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun and who search a basic level of protection for their everyday activities, explained Frank Rizzo spokesman for product manufacturer XenaCare holdings. He cited golfers or tennis players who may not appreciate the slippery effect sun lotion can have on the hands as potential consumers, along with people who wish to be protected when simply out shopping or tending to the garden. In this respect the product is not attempting to compete with sun lotions, rather it provides another level of protection against UVA and UVB damage. The company in fact advise those using the product to continue applying a lotion of at least SPF15 when out in the sun for prolonged periods of time - a caveat that was recommended by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) explained Rizzo. The SunPill's two active ingredients are astaxanthin (a carotenoid found in microalgae) and polypodium leucotomos (a fern extract), both known for their antioxidant properties. According to previous studies on the two ingredients, the protective qualities of polypodium leucotomos are active almost immediately but the astaxanthin takes about two weeks to build up in the system, Rizzo said. Competition for the SunPill ​ XenaCare is confident of the supplement's success as preliminary responses from retailers have been positive, said Rizzo adding that there was little in the way of competition in the US market. On the other side of the pond, biotech company LycoRed is a significant player in the market with its lycopene-based ingredient. According to the Israel-based company, the product - a mix of lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene and vitamin E - can either be encapsulated in a soft gel or added to beverages and other food items. Similarly the company does not claim the product can replace sunscreen, instead saying 'when taken daily, it provides a degree of both UVA and UVB protection even during months of the year when one is not likely to apply a topical lotion'.

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