Sicilian Blood Orange

Not only are these crimson beauties lovely to look at and delicious, we have discovered that they also help reduce skin sensitivity and damage caused by UV induced erythema, a.k.a. sunburn! They are also packed with antioxidants that help by providing cellular protection from harmful free radicals. The antioxidant properties found in Sicilian blood oranges are primarily due to the fruit’s high levels of anthocyanin, which is the same compound responsible for its beautiful deep red colour.

The blood oranges we use are derived from the juice of three highly pigmented varieties of blood oranges which are grown exclusively on the lush hillsides surrounding Mount Etna, in Sicily. These three varieties include Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinella blood oranges.

Blood oranges are also referred to as ‘red oranges’.

Research has also studied the potential impact of Sicilian blood oranges on cardiovascular health.



Skin Health

In this paper, researchers investigate “the effects of standardized red orange extract on DNA cleavage and it’s free radical scavenging capacity”. DNA cleavages have been found in skin that had been exposed to UV radiation. The results showed that the extract had a positive effect on both of these factors. This suggests that red orange extract “may offer excellent photoprotection for skin” helping it cope with damage caused by sunlight.

Russo, A., et al. "Red orange extract: effect on DNA cleavage." Journal of Food Science 67.8 (2002): 2814-2818.


UV light exposure, and the oxidative stress that results from it, has long been studied as an etiological factor in skin aging, cancer, and other impairments. The researchers in the following paper investigate the photoprotective activity of a standardized extract from red orange (ROE) to combat these impairments. The results indicate that “ROE is potentially able to efficiently counteract UVB-induced response.” Thus, the researchers propose that “ROE as a useful natural standardized extract in skin photoprotection with promising applications in the field of dermatology.”

Cimino, Francesco, et al. "Protective effects of a red orange extract on UVB-induced damage in human keratinocytes." Biofactors 30.2 (2007): 129-138.


The aim of this study was to evaluate skin photo-protecting and anti-aging effects of supplementation with red orange extract. After only 15 days of supplementation, the researchers observed a significant reduction in UV-induced skin erythema, as well as the pigmentation of skin age spots. It was concluded that “red orange extract intake can strengthen physiological antioxidant skin defenses, protecting skin from the damaging processes involved in photo-aging and leading to an improvement in skin appearance and pigmentation." 

Puglia, Carmelo, et al. "Protective effect of red orange extract supplementation against UVinduced skin damages: photoaging and solar lentigines." Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 13.2 (2014): 151-157.




This study investigates the effects of short-term dietary supplementation of a standardized red orange extract (ROC) on a group of police officers who – due to their jobs – are exposed to oxidative stressors on an everyday basis. After only one month of supplementation, the subjects showed marked improvements in the symptoms they experienced from oxidative stress. The study suggest that “ROC supplementation could be useful to minimize the detrimental effects caused by sources of oxidative stress.”

Bonina, Francesco P., et al. "Protective effects of a standardised red orange extract on air pollution-induced oxidative damage in traffic police officers." Natural product research 22.17 (2008): 1544-1551.


In this article, researchers evaluated “the effects of short-term dietary supplementation with a standardized red orange extract on some noninvasive biomarkers of oxidative stress.” Specifically, researchers focused on athletics induced oxidative stress in a group of professional handball players. The results showed “an overall lower level of oxidative stress in the athletes examined after short-term dietary supplementation with the ROC,” suggesting that ROC might protect against the health consequences of athletics induced oxidative stress.

Bonina, Francesco P., et al. "Oxidative stress in handball players: effect of supplementation with a red orange extract." Nutrition Research 25.10 (2005): 917-924.


This study investigated whether the extract of red oranges possess antioxidant activity. Skin-derived cells that were treated with the extract showed a significant and dose-dependent inhibition of compounds that are known markers of oxidative stress.

Morini, Flora, et al. "Iron-induced lipid peroxidation in human skin-derived cell lines: protection by a red orange extract." Alternatives to Laboratory Animals 28.3 (2000): 427-433.


Cardiovascular Health

This paper looks at whether the anthocyanins (AC)-rich extract from red oranges can counter the negative effects of scuba diving on endothelial function, flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and heart function. To test this, a group of divers took Results show that the administration of the red orange extract “significantly reduces the potentially harmful endothelial effects of a recreational single dive”.

Balestra, Costantino, et al. "A red orange extract modulates the vascular response to a recreational dive: a pilot study on the effect of anthocyanins on the physiological consequences of scuba diving." Natural product research 30.18 (2016): 2101-2106.


Additional Benefits

This paper discusses the main health-related properties of the red orange, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and cardiovascular protection activities. The authors state that “red orange juice demonstrates an important antioxidant activity by modulating many antioxidant enzyme systems that efficiently counteract the oxidative damage which may play an important role in the etiology of numerous diseases, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.”

Grosso, Giuseppe, et al. "Red orange: experimental models and epidemiological evidence of its benefits on human health." Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity 2013 (2013).