Melanin is a pigment that is found widely throughout the world of most of humankind. It has been shown to aid in the protection from the ultra-violet rays of the sun and also helps in reducing the frequency of skin cancer in those who tend to produce more amounts of it.
Ways to increase melanin in your body
Nutrients could be the key to increasing melanin naturally in skin. Here are a few nutrients that research suggests may help your body produce more melanin.
Antioxidants show the strongest potential for increasing melanin production. Though more studies and high-quality trials are needed, some research suggests antioxidants may help.
Micronutrients like flavonoids or polyphenols, which come from the plants we eat, act as powerful antioxidants and may affect melanin production. Some of them increase melanin, while others may help reduce it.
Eat more antioxidant-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, dark berries, dark chocolate, and colorful vegetables to get more antioxidants. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements may also help.
Studies suggest vitamin A is important to melanin production and is essential to having healthy skin. You get vitamin A from the food you eat, especially vegetables that contain beta carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and peas.
Since vitamin A also functions as an antioxidant, some researchers believe this vitamin, more than any other, may be the key to melanin production. More studies are still needed to directly prove vitamin A increases melanin in people, however.
For now, claims that vitamin A boosts melanin levels are primarily anecdotal. However, some studies suggest taking vitamin A (specifically retinol) may be good for skin health.
A type of carotenoid (the substance that gives red, yellow, and orange vegetables their color) is found in vitamin A. It may also play a role in melanin production and UV protection,
You can increase vitamin A levels by eating more vitamin A-rich foods like orange vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes), fish, and meat. Taking a vitamin A supplement can also help.
Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, it can build up in your body. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests sticking to the daily recommended amount of 700 mcg for women and 900 mcg for men. Children need even less vitamin A daily.
Pregnant women should never exceed the daily dose of Vitamin A, as there are dangers to the baby.
Vitamin E is an important vitamin for skin health. It’s also an antioxidant and could possibly boost melanin levels.
You can get more vitamin E by taking a supplement or by eating more vitamin E–rich foods like vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts.
Like vitamins A and E, vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C is needed for healthy mucous membranes. It may also have some impact on melanin production and skin protection.
There aren’t any studies that prove vitamin C increases melanin production. However, anecdotal evidence suggests vitamin C might increase melanin levels.
Eating vitamin C rich foods like citrus, berries, and leafy green vegetables may optimize melanin production. Taking a vitamin C supplement may help as well.
Herbs and botanicals
Some studies have explored the potential benefits of herbs and teas for protecting skin from the damage of UV rays. Products from herbs like green tea and turmeric, which are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, may increase melanin and might help protect the skin.