As England enters its second national lockdown, it’s never been more important to focus on our health and keep up to date with the latest research. Find out more about the most recent nutritional studies here in this week’s Nutrition News.

Could vitamin B3 protect against UV rays?

A study has been released that suggests that vitamin B3 could have a protective effect on the skin against UV damage. The findings came from researchers in Italy who trialled isolating cells from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers, they then used three different concentrations of nicotinamide, also known as niacinamide and vitamin B3, on the cells for 18, 24 and 48 hour periods.

The research showed the nicotinamide had a protective effect on the cells when the skin was exposed to UV irradiation, protecting the cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage.

Research student, Lara Camillo, from the Dermatological Unit of AOU Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy, said of the findings in this article by Pharmacy Times, “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”

Benefits of astaxanthin

Much like vitamin B3, astaxanthin has a reputation for offering protection to the skin from UV exposure and possibly improving photoprotection and overall skin health according to this article from Examine.

Astaxanthin is a red-pink pigment found in some seafoods as well as the feathers of flamingos and quails.

A recent study has suggested that, in addition to astaxanthin’s antioxidant and UV protection, it could be beneficial to heart health. Oxidative stress and inflammation are among some of the biggest causes for deterioration of heart health so any nutrients that support the body against such things, as may be the case with astaxanthin, could be hugely beneficial.

What is Vitamin U?

We’ve all heard of the essential vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, but few have heard of “vitamin U”. This article by Healthline uncovers what this mystery vitamin is, what its benefits are and where we can find it.

Healthline explains that “vitamin U” is not a true term and was invented in the 1950s to describe a compound found in cabbage juice. In actual fact, vitamin U is a derivative of the amino acid methionine. Methionine derivatives S-methylmethionine (SMM), methylmethionine sulfonium (SMM), and 3-amino-3-carboxypropyl dimethylsulfonium are often referred to as vitamin U and is promoted to support against stomach ulcers, aid digestion and support immune health, although research is limited.

Vitamin U rich foods include cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and kale. While more research is needed on the compound itself, these vegetables from the cabbage family contain a range of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to supporting your health.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.