SALT LAKE CITY, May 31 — The media has been buzzing this week about a NASA antioxidant-packed "space drink" that could smooth wrinkles and reverse sun spots. Science fiction or the fountain of youth?
The beverage, known as AS10, was developed by the US space agency to protect astronauts from the damaging effects of radiation while travelling through space. But a new study finds the potion can reverse the effects of aging from UV rays right here on Earth.
University of Utah researchers found that after four months of drinking two shots of the juice a day, the UV spots on the faces of 180 subjects were reduced by 30 percent, and wrinkles by 17 percent. According to the New York Daily News, digital skin analyses confirmed the results.
AS10 contains a blend of fruits, including cupuacu, acai, acerola, prickly pear, and yumberry, as well green tea and pomegranate juice for good measure. Downside: the price of the drink was just under $470 for the four-month period of the study. A 25-ounce bottle of AS10 cost around $50, and participants drank a little over 2 ounces of it a day.
"The skin is the first body tissue to be exposed to UV rays and we know it is sensitive to oxidative stress," Dr. Aaron Barson, who worked on the study, told the Daily Mail. "The effects of oxidative stress on the skin can be quickly modified and the skin can heal itself by drinking AS10."
Radiation particles alter oxygen molecules in the body to create "free radicals," or unstable electrons that attack cells and could play a role in accelerating aging. "Think of them as little Pac-men taking bites out of molecules that are essential for cells to function," Barson adds.
A larger study is planned for the summer to investigate how long the effects last and whether skin conditions continue to improve or reach a plateau when drinking AS10. An earlier mice study on the active compounds in AS10, published in the journal Radiation Research last year, found that animals exposed to high levels of radiation that received supplements of the drink had an 80 percent survival rate at 250 days compared to a 30 percent survival rate for the control group.
Meanwhile, POM Wonderful recently was ordered by US regulators to stop making claims that their pomegranate juice could treat cancer, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction, due to absence of "competent and reliable scientific evidence." — AFP-Relaxnews