Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tomato Lycopene - Health Benefits

Lycopene is a bioactive carotenoid responsible for the red color in many fruits and vegetables.

Lycopene has attracted attention because of its physicochemical and biological properties in the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, and hypertension, among others(1).

One of the possible mechanisms for its protective activities is by down-regulation of the inflammatory response. This includes:

  • the inhibition of pivotal pro-inflammatory mediators, such as the reduction of reactive oxygen species,
  • the inhibition of synthesis and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines,
  • changes in the expression of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase,
  • modifications of eicosanoid synthesis, and
  • modulation of signal transduction pathways, including that of the inducible nitric oxide synthase via its inhibitory effects on Nuclear Factor-kB (NF-kB), Activated protein-1 (AP-1) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling(2)
Recent data suggest that lycopene also exhibits anti-inflammatory activity through induction of programmed cell death in activated immune cells(2).

Lycopene has shown distinct antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects at cellular levels, and definitely contributes to the health benefits of consumption of tomato products. However, until further research establishes significant health benefits of lycopene supplementation per se, in humans, the conclusion may be drawn that consumption of naturally occurring carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables, particularly processed tomato products containing lycopene, should be encouraged, with positive implications in health and disease(3).

Lycop
ene from processed tomato products appears to be more bioavailable than that from raw tomatoes(4).

Among processed tomato products, tomato paste ranked the highest in lycopene content and canned tomato juice the lowest. For example, 120ml of tomato juice contains 26.4mg of lycopene while the same amount of lycopene can be obtained from just 3 tablespoonful of tomato paste. This can of Hunt's contains 91mg of lycopene and is available at our pharmacies.

Lycopene is also present in Live-Well DAILYsential 45+ Multivitamins at 5mg in every capsule. Hovid LYCOvid Capsules have double this amount per capsule which is also reflected in its selling price. Give us a call TODAY!

Journal Reference

Waliszewski KN, Blasco G. Nutraceutical properties of lycopene. Salud Publica Mex. 2010 May-Jun;52(3):254-65.

Palozza P, Parrone N, Catalano A, Simone R. Tomato Lycopene and Inflammatory Cascade: Basic Interactions and Clinical Implications. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2010 May 24. [Epub ahead of print]

A Basu and V Imrhan. Tomatoes versus lycopene in oxidative stress and carcinogenesis: conclusions from clinical trialsTomatoes versus lycopene in oxidative stress and carcinogenesis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (March 2007) 61, 295-303

Toma RB, Frank GC, Nakayama K, Tawfik E. Lycopene content in raw tomato varieties and tomato products. Journal of Foodservice (April 2008), 19 (2), pg. 197-204.

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