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Dietary Supplements for UV Protection

Last updated: March-13,2023

What Are the Best Dietary Supplement Ingredients for UV Protection

Exposure to UV rays (whether from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds) can cause premature aging of the skin (photoaging) and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver/age spots, as well as rough and scaly skin patches.[i]The good news is that there are dietary supplements that can protect against UV rays, and/or help mitigate some of the effects of UV exposure. This includes niacinamide, grape seed extract, red-orange complex, beta-carotene, EPA, and pomegranate extract.

Continue reading to learn more about these well-researched nutraceuticals and how NutraScience Labs can contract manufacture high-quality dietary supplements for UV protection or click below to listen to the podcast episode:


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,[ii] and a case-control study were undertaken to examine the effects of 500 mg/day niacinamide on photoaging.[iii] Results were that niacinamide had photoprotective effects and helped reduce rough, scaly skin patches caused by long-term sun exposure. Additionally, a key type of immunity known as cutaneous immunity is suppressed by even small doses of UV rays. Another randomized, double-blinded, crossover study found that supplementation with 1500 or 500 mg/day of niacinamide significantly reduced UV immunosuppression.[iv] Niacinamide’s potential to reduce rough, scaly skin patches and UV immunosuppression makes it a good ingredient for supplements to prevent sun damage.

Grape seed extract

Grape seed extract is another great UV protection supplement. It contains a powerful antioxidant known as proanthocyanidin. In a one-year open-design study, a proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extract (GSE) was orally administered (76 mg (54 mg of proanthocyanidin) three times a day) in women with skin hyperpigmentation (which may often be due to UV overexposure). Results showed that GSE effectively reduced hyperpigmentation (in 83% of women) and prevented it from worsening before the summer season.[v]

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Red orange complex

Hyperpigmented lesions, also known as age spots, are one of the most visible alterations in skin photoaging. A study was performed to evaluate the skin photoprotective and anti-aging effects of 100 mg/day supplementation with a red-orange extract (red-orange complex) supplementation.[vi] Results were that the red-orange complex helped reduce UV-induced age spots and skin redness. Skin age spot pigmentation (melanin content) decreased from 27% to 7% when subjects were exposed to a solar lamp during red-orange extract supplementation. In another randomized, double-blind, controlled study, 100 mg/day of red-orange complex improved the skin’s antioxidant capacity and reaction to UV exposure, increased moisturization and elasticity, and decreased the intensity of melanin staining inside dark skin spots, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and wrinkle depth.[vii]


A UV protection supplement that brand owners must know about is Beta-carotene. It is an effective antioxidant and can be converted to vitamin A in the body. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 2 different doses of beta-carotene (30 and 90 mg/day) on wrinkles and elasticity, procollagen gene expression, and ultraviolet (UV)-induced DNA damage in human skin.[viii] Results showed that beta-carotene improved facial wrinkles and elasticity significantly only in the low-dose group. Type I procollagen mRNA levels were significantly increased only in the low-dose group, and UV-induced DNA damage was reduced in the low-dose group. In short, 30 mg/day of beta-carotene supplementation was demonstrated to help prevent and repair photoaging.

Best Dietary Supplements for UV Protection


The importance of omega-3 fatty acids in human health and wellness is well-established. Omega-3s include α-linolenic (ALA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosapentaenoic (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA). A cross-sectional study was conducted on 2,919 subjects aged 45-60 years to investigate associations between daily omega-3 intake and the severity of skin photoaging.[ix] Results showed that after adjustment for possible confounders, severe photoaging was found to be decreased with a higher intake of EPA in women. A significant decrease in photoaging risk was found in women with higher intakes of EPA. The highest intake level (95 percentile) of EPA was 295 mg/day. Likewise, extremely high doses of EPA (about 2-4 grams/day) were also shown to decrease photoaging.[x] [xi] [xii] [xiii]

Pomegranate extract

Pomegranate extract is another source of powerful antioxidants, including ellagic acid. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the protective and ameliorative effects of ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract on skin pigmentation UV irradiation in female subjects assigned to three groups: high dose (200 mg/d ellagic acid), low dose (100 mg/d ellagic acid) and control (0 mg/d ellagic acid: placebo).[xiv] Luminance (L), melanin, and erythema (skin reddening) values were measured before the start of supplementation, and after 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks. Results were decreasing rates of L values in the low- and high-dose groups, with inhibition by 1.35% and 1.73% respectively, as compared to the control group. Subjects with a slight sunburn revealed an inhibited decrease of L values compared with the control group at 1, 2, and 4 weeks in the low-dose group, and at 2 and 3 weeks in the high-dose group. Furthermore, the results of questionnaires showed ameliorating tendencies with pomegranate extract in “brightness of the face” and “stains and freckles.” In conclusion, ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract has an inhibitory effect on a slight pigmentation in the human skin caused by UV irradiation, making it a terrific nutraceutical to include in your UV protection supplements.


Exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin (photoaging). Niacinamide, grape seed extract, red-orange complex, beta-carotene, EPA, and pomegranate extract are dietary supplements that can protect against UV rays, and/or help mitigate some of the effects of UV exposure.

NutraScience Labs possesses more than 120 years of nutraceutical industry experience and has provided more than 2,300 supplement companies with turnkey formulation, custom manufacturing, packaging and label design, and order fulfillment services under one roof. To learn more about how we can help you manufacture a best-in-class dietary supplement for UV protection, call 855-492-7388 to speak with one of our representatives or send us your request to receive a competitive supplement manufacturing price quote free of charge.


[i] Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation. American Cancer Society. Last Revised: July 10, 2019.

[ii] Surjana D, Halliday GM, Martin AJ. Oral nicotinamide reduces actinic keratoses in phase II double-blinded randomized controlled trials. J Invest Dermatol. 2012 May;132(5):1497-500.

[iii] Drago F, Ciccarese G, Cogorno L, et al. Prevention of non-melanoma skin cancers with nicotinamide in transplant recipients: a case-control study. Eur J Dermatol. 2017 Aug 1;27(4):382-385.

[iv] Yiasemides E, Sivapirabu G, Halliday GM ,et al. Oral nicotinamide protects against ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosuppression in humans. Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jan;30(1):101-5.

[v] Yamakoshi J, Sano A, Tokutake S, Saito M, Kikuchi M, Kubota Y, Kawachi Y, Otsuka F. Oral intake of proanthocyanidin-rich extract from grape seeds improves chloasma. Phytother Res. 2004 Nov;18(11):895-9.

[vi] Puglia C, Offerta A, Saija A, Trombetta D, Venera C. Protective effect of red orange extract supplementation against UV-induced skin damages: photoaging and solar lentigines. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2014 Jun;13(2):151-7.

[vii] Nobile V, Burioli A, Yu S, et al. Photoprotective and Antiaging Effects of a Standardized Red Orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) Extract in Asian and Caucasian Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2022: 14: 2241.

[viii] Cho S, Lee DH, Won CH, Kim SM, Lee S, Lee MJ, Chung JH. Differential effects of low-dose and high-dose beta-carotene supplementation on the signs of photoaging and type I procollagen gene expression in human skin in vivo. Dermatology. 2010;221(2):160-71.

[ix] Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, Andreeva V, Galan P, Tschachler E, Hercberg S, Guinot C, Ezzedine K. Association between dietary intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and severity of skin photoaging in a middle-aged Caucasian population. J Dermatol Sci. 2013 Dec;72(3):233-9.

[x] Rhodes LE, O'Farrell S, Jackson MJ, Friedmann PS. Dietary fish-oil supplementation in humans reduces UVB-erythemal sensitivity but increases epidermal lipid peroxidation. J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Aug;103(2):151-4.

[xi] Shahbakhti H, Watson RE, Azurdia RM, Ferreira CZ, Garmyn M, Rhodes LE. Influence of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, on ultraviolet-B generation of prostaglandin-E2 and proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 in human skin in vivo. Photochem Photobiol. 2004 Sep-Oct;80(2):231-5.

[xii] Rhodes LE, Shahbakhti H, Azurdia RM, et al. Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, on UVR-related cancer risk in humans. An assessment of early genotoxic markers. Carcinogenesis. 2003 May;24(5):919-25.

[xiii] Orengo IF, Black HS, Wolf JE Jr. Influence of fish oil supplementation on the minimal erythema dose in humans. Arch Dermatol Res. 1992;284(4):219-21.

[xiv] Kasai K, Yoshimura M, Koga T, et al. Effects of oral administration of ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract on ultraviolet-induced pigmentation in the human skin. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006 Oct;52(5):383-8.

January 9th, 2023

About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.