There seems to be a “magic pill” for almost anything these days and now it’s to give you a natural looking, Hollywood-inspired glow. I have to agree that having a bit of a tan does give a good ol’ boost to the self confidence, but this type of supplement seems all too good to be true.
Tanning supplements are put into two main groups; carotenoid supplements and tyrosine supplements. Carotenoid supplements consist mostly of canthaxanthin and beta-carotene which is also used as food additives and is the pigment found in carrots that give them their orange color. The tanning pills that use Caroteniod as their active ingredient contain very high amounts to saturate the body tissue in its color, giving off the tanned effect. However, when Carotenoid is digested in large quantities there have been unpleasant side effects. Some have experienced darker pigmented areas on the palms and soles of the feet in a deep orange color, no thank-you! Also, urine, tears and sweat may appear orange in color. Severe itching has occurred as a side effect of carotenoid intoxication and in more serious causes has caused liver damage.
The other source used in tanning supplements is called Tyrosine. This is a non-essential amino acid that interacts with the production of melanogenesis and by digesting this pills, it claims to increase the levels of tyrosine in the blood which in turn increase the levels of melanin in the skin. This in combination with copper and other vitamins such as E and D can enhance the body’s ability to produce melanocyte-stimulating hormones generated from the pituitary gland. MSH runs through the blood stream until it reaches the melanocytes promoting them to produce more color. Someone consuming food or supplements containing higher amounts or Tyrosine will tend to tan darker and faster.
Most multi-vitamins and common foods already contain these “better tan” ingredients, the only difference is a higher dosage amount. In my opinion, as long as its natural and you wear your sunscreen, I see no harm being done. I’m just not to sure if I would want to take my chances turning orange – so not a good shade me.
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