I've told you in the past that you have to spend time in the sun. But I showed in the last health alert why you can't depend on sunscreens to protect you from damage the sun can cause. So what can you do to protect yourself?

What if I told you there's a unique and natural way to protect your skin from the sun? New evidence suggests you can easily make your own skin protector. It's cheaper than sunscreens and works even better.

In a recent study, Johns Hopkins researchers rubbed an extract of broccoli sprouts on the skin of volunteers. Then they exposed the participants to high levels of UV radiation (both A and B). The treated skin had 37% less sunburn and redness than skin not covered. Sunscreen offered no protection (we showed you why in the last health alert).

Sulphoraphane is a chemical in broccoli. It's particularly rich in broccoli sprouts. It activates cancer-fighting enzymes inside your cells. Broccoli sprout extract works by penetrating skin cells and stimulating their natural defense mechanisms. Sunscreen works by deflecting UV rays and must be reapplied to remain effective. Previous studies confirmed skin cancer protection in mice when researchers gave them the extract.

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Unfortunately, there's not a liquid broccoli extract on the market. But you can make your own. The scientists used an acetone base to apply the extract. I don't recommend acetone, as it can be harsh on your skin and possibly cause other problems. Researchers often make plant extracts using ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Vodka is a great source of ethanol. If you want to try a broccoli sprout extract, I suggest making a paste of crushed sprouts in vodka, and apply it to your skin. Alcohol is not as penetrating as acetone, so I wouldn't worry about intoxication.

If you don't want to use vodka, try using 20% DMSO as a carrier. It's a great natural solvent used by practitioners for decades to carry nutrients through the skin. You easily find DMSO on the Internet and in some health food stores. Broccoli seeds are readily available at most garden centers.

Please remember, just because this product protects your skin doesn't mean you should bake yourself in the sun. It will let you spend time outdoors doing normal activities, such as gardening. But use discretion.

Ref: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences October 30, 2007, vol. 104, no. 44, 17500-17505.
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