Get access

Protection from Sunburn with β-Carotene—A Meta-analysis


  • Wolfgang Köpcke,

    1. Department of Medical Informatics and Biomathematics, Münster University Hospital, Münster, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jean Krutmann

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut für Umweltmedizinische Forschung (IUF) at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf gGmbH, Germany
      *Corresponding author email: (Jean Krutmann)
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This paper is part of a special issue dedicated to Professor Hasan Mukhtar on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

*Corresponding author email: (Jean Krutmann)


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 β-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) β-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 β-carotene provides protection against sunburn in a time-dependent manner.

Get access to the full text of this article