Astronaut drink reduces wrinkles and sun spots

08:30 Tue May 29 2012
Kimberly Gillan
Drink to reduce signs of ageing
Image: NASA

Two daily shots of a wonder drink used by astronauts could reduce wrinkles and sun spots, according to a new study.

Scientists from the University of Utah monitored 180 people who drank two 60ml drinks of AS10 — a drink originally developed to protect astronauts from the harmful effects of radiation outside the Earth’s atmosphere — each day for four months.

The antioxidant-rich drink is made from a blend of exotic fruits including açai, acerola, prickly pear, bayberry and cupuaçu (a Brazillian fruit). Grapes, green tea, pomegranate and vegetables are also added to the mix to create a concoction high in vitamins and phytochemicals, which help block the damaging effects of radiation.

At the end of the four-month trial, researchers took VISIA photographs, which use different types of light exposure to reveal skin conditions below the surface.

They found UV spots were reduced by 30 per cent and wrinkles by 17 per cent.

"The skin is the first body tissue to be exposed to UV rays and we know it is sensitive to oxidative stress,” explains Dr Aaron Barson, the nutritional scientist who carried out the study. “Our study shows it greatly benefits from a reduction in this stress. The effects of oxidative stress on the skin can be quickly modified and the skin can heal itself by drinking AS10."

Radiation particles cause the body to create free radicals, which damage cells in a process called oxidative stress. It’s thought to speed up skin ageing and has also been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s.

The study authors believe the antioxidants in AS10 ward off the free radicals to help the skin heal.

But at $47 for a 750ml bottle – only enough to last six days – it’s an expensive skin treatment.

Dermatologist Dr Adrian Lim is skeptical about how effective the treatment could be.

"We have a long understanding of how antioxidants work and taking mega-doses… doesn’t necessarily do all that much to the skin in a short period anyway,” he says.

"Antioxidants are vital for good health and immune system [but] whether it specifically causes such a dramatic change in the pigmentation… that remains to be investigated further."

Dr Lim says the most effective way to prevent your skin from ageing is to protect yourself from the sun.

“Use a good sunscreen and have healthy sun exposure behaviour – that’s still the best."

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