Pterostilbene is the agent in question, which is chemically related to resveratrol, and has previously been used in animal studies as it is thought to exhibit anti-cancer, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-hypertriglyceridemia properties, as well as the ability to fight off and reverse cognitive decline.
Now, the University of California Irvine (UCI) has completed a skin care study demonstrating that topical application of pterostilbene onto mouse skin, prior to UV exposure, prevented several types of UV-mediated damage.
Specifically, it prevented UV-mediated DNA damage, reddening of the skin, hyperplasia and loss of barrier function.
A comparative study also demonstrated pterostilbene was superior to resveratrol for all endpoints of the study.
"Skin cancer has the highest incidence rate in humans of any cancer and remains a huge public health issue,” says the study's lead researcher, Dr Frank Meyskens, Professor of Medicine, Biological Chemistry, Public Health and Epidemiology at UCI.
“The robust prevention of UV-mediated damage by pterostilbene observed in our study was remarkable."
The results were announced by natural products company ChromaDex, which licensed from UCI exclusive rights to several patent applications for the use of pterostilbene in topical skin care applications, including the use of pterostilbene in the prevention of UV skin damage.
The Las Vegas-based firm has its own branded nature identical pterostilbene, pTeroPure, which is an anti-oxidant found in berries and nuts.
It was named the 2010 North American Most Promising Ingredient of the Year by the independent research company Frost & Sullivan.
"The use of pterostilbene to protect the skin from UV damage is an exciting area of research and has significant potential in commercial applications in both skin care and UV protection,” says Frank Jaksch, CEO and Founder of ChromaDex.
“We are pleased to continue expanding the intellectual property rights regarding pterostilbene as well as support the research efforts of our partners at UCI."