Protection from sunburn with beta-Carotene--a meta-analysis

Photochem Photobiol. 2008 Mar-Apr;84(2):284-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2007.00253.x. Epub 2007 Dec 15.


Nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight is increasingly advocated to the general public, but its effectiveness is controversial. In this meta-analysis, we have systematically reviewed the existing literature on human supplementation studies on dietary protection against sunburn by beta-carotene. A review of literature until June 2007 was performed in PubMed, ISI Web of Science and EBM Cochrane library and identified a total of seven studies which evaluated the effectiveness of beta-carotene in protection against sunburn. Data were abstracted from these studies by means of a standardized data collection protocol. The subsequent meta-analysis showed that (1) beta-carotene supplementation protects against sunburn and (2) the study duration had a significant influence on the effected size. Regression plot analysis revealed that protection required a minimum of 10 weeks of supplementation with a mean increase of the protective effect of 0.5 standard deviations with every additional month of supplementation. Thus, dietary supplementation of humans with beta-carotene provides protection against sunburn in a time-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use*


  • beta Carotene