An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

Lycopene, the red pigment that colors tomatoes.

Image via Wikipedia

Superfood Antioxidants, Carotenoids Are Beneficial For Cardiovascular Health,

According To Research. . .

Lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their rich-red color, may benefit heart health by boosting the body’s natural antioxidant defenses and protecting against DNA damage, says a new study from South Korea.

A daily supplement of 15 milligrams for eight weeks was associated with increased activity of SOD (super oxide dismutase), a powerful antioxidant enzyme, as well as reductions in measures of DNA damage in white blood cells, according to results published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Furthermore, the apparent benefits extended to a reduction in systolic blood pressure and a decrease in levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). CRP is a marker of inflammation and is reported to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular-related events.

“These results add to the growing literature on potential protective effects of the antioxidant lycopene in atherosclerosis through an anti-inflammatory effect and preserving endothelial function,” wrote the researchers  from Yonsei University in South Korea.

 

Growing Science for Lycopene

Lycopene is an antioxidant that is present in red and pink-colored fruits and vegetables. It has been shown  to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other benefits.

Study Details

The South Korean researchers recruited 126 health  men with an average age of 34 and an average BMI of  24 kg/m2, and randomly assigned them to receive a daily  6 or 15 milligram supplement of lycopene, or placebo for eight weeks.

At the end of the study the researchers reported that SOD activity increased by 2.37 units per milliliter in the high-dose group, compared with an increase of 1.73 units per milliliter in 6 mg group and a decrease in activity in the placebo group.

 

In addition, DNA damage was reduced in the high dose group, compared with the other groups. Endothelial  function, the function of the cells lining blood vessels,  was also improved significantly following the high dose group.

“Interestingly, the beneficial effects of lycopene supplementation on endothelial function were remarkable  in subjects with relatively impaired endothelial cell function  at initial level,” report the researchers.

CRP levels decreased by 57 percent in the high dose  group, while no significant reductions were recorded in the other two groups, said the researchers.

“Subjects supplemented with 15-mg lycopene daily for 8-week also showed reduction in other cardiovascular  risk factors, for example, an increase in LDL particle size,” report the researchers. “Since the lycopene capsule used  in this study also contains beta-carotene (greater than  0.5 mg), the subjects in the 15-mg lycopene/day group  had a 65 percent increase in lycopene concentration and a 20 percent increase in beta-carotene, which is a known effective antioxidant that inactivates free radicals, inversely correlates with CRP, and slows the progression of atherosclerosis.

“Therefore, a synergistic effect of Lycopene and  Beta-Carotene in the 15-mg Lycopene/day group likely increased the beneficial effects on these atherosclerosis  risk factors,” they added.

 

Source: Atherosclerosis (Published online)

“Effects of lycopene supplementation on oxidative stress

and markers of endothelial function in healthy men”

 

Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Comments on: "Lycopene’s Heart Health Benefits" (1)

  1. Piedad Fosburgh said:

    Lycopene is a great food supplement but i usually take lycopene from natural food sources like tomato. –

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