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Higher risk of skin cancer by eating grapefruit and orange juice
Oranges and other citrus fruits contain compounds that make the skin more sensitive to light and thus increase the risk of skin cancer, according to a report from Brown University in Rhode Island (USA). In a recent study, university researchers found that fair-skinned people who consume a lot of grapefruit or orange juice have a significantly higher risk of developing diseases from the particularly dangerous black skin cancer (malignant melanoma).
While citrus fruits are well suited as part of a healthy diet, the US researchers recommend additional sunscreens and body-covering clothing after consuming large amounts. Because with high consumption of orange juice and grapefruit, the current study showed a significantly increased risk of skin cancer, which presumably goes back to the photosensitizing effect of the ingredients of citrus fruits, write Dr. Abrar Qureshi from Brown University and colleagues in the journal "Clinical Oncology". Substances such as the psoralens contained make the skin more sensitive to the sun's rays and form a sunburn more easily, which in turn increases the likelihood of skin cancer.
Orange juice and grapefruit as skin cancer risk factors?
The scientists report cases in which children had sunburn stripes along the chin after eating citrus-flavored ice, right where the melting ice had run down. In addition, previous studies had shown a link between the consumption of citrus fruits and the risk of malignant melanoma. In their current study, the researchers therefore used data from more than 100,000 light-skinned men and women to investigate whether the consumption of orange juice and grapefruit had an impact on the risk of skin cancer. They found that grapefruit significantly increased the likelihood of malignant melanoma and that orange juice also increased the risk to a lesser extent.
High consumption of citrus fruits significantly increases the risk of skin cancer
Overall, people who consumed citrus fruits 1.6 times or more a day had a 36 percent higher risk of malignant melanoma compared to subjects who consumed citrus fruits less than twice a week, explains Dr. Qureshi. This is an "interesting finding that is of importance to the public and clinical practice, since the consumption of citrus products is widespread and citrus products are known to contain photoactive compounds (e.g. furocoumarins or psoralens)", said the study author in the Brown University press release. However, the results would in no way mean that eating citrus fruits is generally harmful.
Take special care in the sun after eating citrus fruits
In fact, citrus fruits with their high vitamin C content and other healthy ingredients are recommended as food. However, the people with increased consumption are advised to exercise greater caution when staying in the sun, the US researchers report. Additional precautionary measures such as the use of sunscreens with a high sun protection factor, appropriate clothing and a sun hat could help here. People need to know that the consumption of certain types of fruit and vegetables ingests photoactive compounds and therefore caution should be taken afterwards with the sun's radiation, says Dr. It takes two to three days until the body has broken down the substances and there is no longer an increased sensitivity to the sun. (fp)