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Health News 42 - Skin Cancer
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Krill Oil Shows Promise Against Skin Cancer

Neptune Krill Oil™ is a marine oil characterized by its high content of phospholipids with high quantities of eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and potent antioxidants Vitamins A and E, esterified astaxanthin, and a marine source flavonoid.  The objective of this trial was to evaluate the photoprotective potential of Neptune Krill Oil™ against UVB-induced skin cancer.

Scientific evidence suggests that Omega-3 and antioxidants may have both preventive and therapeutic properties for systemic disease, mainly cardiovascular and cancer.  Cancer is the second most frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in North America.  In the year 2000, mortality is expected to rise to 552,200 Americans, which amounts to over 1,500 people per day.  The incidence of malignancies is expected to rise to 1,220,100 this year.  Since 1990, near 13 million new cases have been diagnosed excluding non-invasive cancers and squamous cell skin cancers.  The incidence of squamous cell skin cancer alone within the year 2000 is expected to rise to 1.3 million (Source: American Cancer Society).

This was a randomized controlled pre-clinical trial using 96 Nude Congenic Mice. In order to establish efficacy of Neptune Krill Oil™ for the prevention of skin cancer, the test was conducted as a randomized double blind controlled trial.  The mice were randomized in two groups of 48 mice. One group was treated with Neptune Krill Oil™ and the other with a placebo containing active control or Soya oil. Each group was subdivided in three subgroups of 16 mice each receiving various modes of treatment: oral, topical or both topical and oral. The diet of the orally treated groups was supplemented with 10% of their daily intake with Neptune Krill Oil™ or Soya oil.  The daily oral dose given to the mice was equivalent to that of 2 g of Krill Oil per day for a 150-pound man or a 130-pound woman.  All mice were exposed to 30 minutes of UVB radiation per day.  

Clinical Significance Testing for Incidence of Cancer

  1. Krill Oral vs. Placebo Oral:            49.7% reduction of incidence

  2. Krill Topical vs. Placebo Topical:            49.7% reduction of incidence

  3. Krill Oral/Topical vs. Placebo Oral/Topical: 66.6% reduction of incidence

Outcome by Treatment Group

    Cancer   Pre-
  Normal   Total
  No. % No. % No. % No. %
Krill 8 16.7% 13 27.1% 27 56.3% 48 100%
Placebo 18 37.5% 10 21.8% 20 41.7% 48 100%

Overall Statistical Significance Testing for Incidence of Cancer

Krill vs. Placebo:            P = 0.04

These results show that overall Neptune Krill Oil™ significantly prevents the incidence of skin cancer. The analysis comparing different modes of administration showed that all three methods were effective within clinical significance.

The results of the present study clearly indicate that Neptune Krill Oil can significantly prevent skin cancer induced by chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Green Tea Protects Skin from Cancer

Green tea may help protect skin from sun damage, according to a review conducted by Hasan Mukhtar, Ph.D., of the Department of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Excessive ultraviolet exposure damages DNA in skin cells by forming the skin cancer initiator – cyclobutane pyrimidine dimmers (CPDs) – and creating free radicals, which cause cumulative oxidative damage.  The time between oxidant formation and visible damage in the form of premature aging or skin cancer usually takes decades. 

Dr. Mukhtar suggests that green tea polyphenols (GTP) are powerful antioxidants that provide photochemo protection.  This protection allows exposure to UV radiation which does not cause skin damage.  This study shows that green tea is protective at all stages of cancer formation – initiation, promotion, and progression. 

Dr. Mukhtar reviewed animal studies that showed that feeding green tea polyphenols (0.1 percent by weight) to hairless mice exposed to solar radiation resulted in less tumor growth, reduced oxidant formation, and normal skin.  0.1 percent by weight is equivalent to 60 mg green tea extract for a 60 kg (130 pound) person. Topical application of green tea polyphenols also prevents carcinogenic tumors and nonmalignant lesions (papillomas) from progressing to squamous-cell carcinoma. 

Researchers who have conducted human studies found that treating skin with green tea phenols before UV exposure prevents sunburn, infiltration of macrocytes (a major source of oxidants), and CPD formation. 

In another controlled study of 400 patients with squamous-cell skin cancer, researchers learned that people who drank hot tea cut their skin cancer risk by two-thirds.  Drinking weaker iced tea did not lower risk.  Dr. Mukhtar concluded that the “use of skin care products supplemented with agents such as green tea may be an effective strategy for reducing UV-induced photodamage skin cancer in humans.”

Source: Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol 2001;14:69-76.  

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