The epidermis acts as a functional barrier against the external environment. Disturbances in the function of this barrier cause water loss and increase the chances of penetration by various irritable stimuli, leading to skin diseases such as dry skin, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Ceramides are a critical natural element of the protective epidermal barrier. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the oral intake of beet (Beta vulgaris) extract, a natural product rich in glucosylceramide (GlcCer), may prevent disturbance in skin barrier function. When HR-1 hairless mice were fed a special diet (HR-AD), transepidermal water loss (TEWL) from the dorsal skin increased, with a compensatory increase in water intake after 5 weeks. Mice fed with HR-AD had dry skin with erythema and showed increased scratching behaviour. Histological examinations revealed a remarkable increase in the thickness of the skin at 8 weeks. Supplemental addition of beet extract, which contained GlcCer at a final concentration of 0.1%, significantly prevented an increase TEWL, water intake, cumulative scratching time, and epidermal thickness at 8 weeks. These results indicate that oral intake of beet extract shows potential for preventing skin diseases associated with impaired skin barrier function.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.