Scientists at the University of Utah claim to have invented the first accurate, non-invasive, method to measure antioxidant levels directly in the body.
They have experimented with shining a laser beam onto the skin and analysing the reflected light. Using a technique known as Raman spectroscopy, they have discovered that carotenoid levels vary in different sites of the body, with the highest concentrations found in the palm.
These carotenoid levels have been correlated with skin cancer. People with skin cancer have significantly lower carotenoid concentrations than normal, as measured by the new technique.
Since that study two years ago, the same scientists have gone on to develop a similar laser device called the Bio Photonic Scanner, which is claimed to be able to detect levels of antioxidant vitamins and minerals in the body tissues simply by shining the laser onto the palm of the hand (J Invest Dermatol, 2000; 115: 441-8).