A Answers (8)
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answeredLycopene is a member of the carotene family that is found in the skin, liver, lungs, prostate, colon, adrenal glands, and serum of humans, but it is also found in food products like tomatoes, green plans, papaya, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and other fruits and vegetables. Lycopene gives the red pigmentation to fruits and vegetables. Lycopene is an antioxidant, which helps your body to fight the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the by-product of foods and environmental pollutants that may lead to cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Lycopene is also known to slow the proliferation of cancerous cells in the body. Lycopene is particularly known to support prostate health and prevent heart disease and macular degeneration. Lycopene is found in many foods but may also be available in higher doses as a supplement although the effects of lycopene supplements have not been thoroughly tested.
Lycopene is a bright red pigment that is naturally found in the human liver, serum (blood), adrenal glands, lungs, prostate, colon, and skin at higher levels than other similar pigments. In animal studies, lycopene has been found to have antioxidant effects and may also block cancer cell growth. However, there is still controversy over whether it has these effects in humans.
Many studies suggest that eating lycopene-rich foods or having high lycopene levels in the body may be linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and age-related eye disorders. However, measures of lycopene intake have been based on eating tomatoes, not on the use of lycopene supplements. Since tomatoes also contain other nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium, the potential benefits of lycopene alone are still unclear.
Lycopene deficiency is not considered a medical condition. There is a lack of evidence on whether increasing low lycopene levels may benefit health.
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Bryce Wylde, Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answeredLycopene is an antioxidant that comes from tomatoes and is useful in the prevention of many forms of cancer, including prostate cancer. A research study also found that more than half the people with exercise-induced asthma in the trial had significantly fewer asthma symptoms after taking lycopene daily for a week, compared with those who took the placebo.
Find out more about this book:The Antioxidant Prescription: How to Use the Power of Antioxidants to Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy for Life
With prostate cancer being the second leading cause of cancer death among American males, the photochemical, lycopene, may be one of best disease-fighting compounds on the plate. Research suggests that lycopene found in tomatoes and tomato products may help prevent prostate cancer. Cooking the tomatoes as well as serving them with a tad of oil has also shown to enhance the body’s absorption of this photochemical. Watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava are other delicious food sources of lycopene.
For more on men's health, please see: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/blog/nutrition/2012/06/mens_health_what_you_dont_eat.html
Ozgen Dogan, Cardiology, answeredLycopene is a phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables like watermelon, apricots and papaya. It's been found to prevent heart disease and prostate cancer. Tomato paste is loaded with it and therefore a good lycopene source to cook with.
Lycopene is a nutrient compound that gives tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables (watermelon, carrots, pink grapefruit, papaya, etc.) their red color. Lycopene is classified as a carotenoid, like beta and alpha-carotenes, but is not converted to vitamin A in the body. Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant and although lycopene is not an essential nutrient, recently researchers have come to believe lycopene may be very important to human health. Lycopene is the most effective carotenoid at quenching the free radical singlet oxygen and the intake of lycopene is associated with a significantly lower risk for prostate cancer, a leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Lycopene may also protect against heart disease and other cancers. The intake of lycopene from supplements also increases the level of lycopene in humans. Conclusions from a growing collection of placebo-controlled trials suggest that consumption of lycopene (either as a dietary supplement or in the form of processed tomatoes) can reduce DNA damage and may have beneficial effects on prostate cancer. Tomatoes are one of the best food sources of lycopene, however, lycopene is more bio-available from processed tomato products such as ketchup, tomato juice and pizza sauce than the fresh, whole food. Most everyone may benefit by including lycopene-containing foods in their diet because the foods themselves are healthful. If you are looking to increase the lycopene levels in your body, supplementing ~10mgs/day offers a viable solution if food is not an option.
Emilia Klapp, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body against cell damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. It is one of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet. It is key in the fight against heart disease because it prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood.
Lycopene is the red pigment found in guava, pink grapefruit, rosehips, red chilies, and watermelon. The best sources of lycopene are tomatoes and tomato products, which the body absorbs best when it is heated, such as in a tomato sauce or tomato paste, or when it is part of a meal that includes fat such as olive oil.
Dole Nutrition Institute answeredLycopene is a carotenoid that promotes heart health by preventing LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation and reducing inflammation, which is a marker of heart disease. Harvard University researchers have found that eating seven or more servings per week of tomatoes (including tomato sauce) might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent.
Studies also indicate that this colorful carotenoid may keep the prostate healthy and lower the risk of ovarian, cervical, oral, skin, pharyngeal, esophageal, bladder, stomach, colorectal, lung and pancreatic cancers. In fact, researchers in India gave 8 milligrams of pure lycopene to 40 men with high-grade precursors to prostate cancer. After one year, their blood levels of a marker for prostate cancer dropped by half, while those for the control group increased by a quarter. In a study at the University of Manchester in England, eating lycopene-rich tomatoes resulted in 33 percent more protection against sunburn. Lycopene may even enhance male fertility by improving sperm concentration and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well.
Top dietary sources of lycopene include tomato juice (canned), tomatoes (raw and cooked), watermelon, and ketchup.