- Powerful antioxidant
- Helpful in prevention of all cancers
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Reduces risk of macular degeneration and night blindness
Lycopene is a red, fat soluble pigment in vegetables, and most commonly found in tomatoes. It is one of a family of pigments called carotenoids. Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments responsible for brightly colored fall leaves and the vivid colors of flowers, fruits and vegetables. In fruits and vegetables, these pigments range in hue from bright yellow in squash, to orange in carrots, to bright red in tomatoes and peppers. Other sources include watermelon, and pink grapefruit.
Once lycopene is absorbed into the body it is deposited in the liver, lungs, prostate gland, colon, eyes, and skin. Its concentration in body tissues tends to be higher than all other carotenoids. Working as a powerful antioxidant, lycopene fights free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that damage membranes, attack DNA, and cause disease. Studies have found that patients with inflammatory diseases have depleted lycopene blood levels.
Lycopene prevents the oxidation of LDL, the bad cholesterol that leads to atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, and coronary artery disease. As lycopene blood levels rise, the levels of oxidized compounds go down, thus lowering the risk of heart disease. Individuals with high levels of lycopene are half as likely to have a heart attack than those with low blood levels, according to one study. Using data collected on more than 28,000 women, researchers found those with the highest lycopene level had a 50% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with women with the lowest lycopene levels. This impressive outcome confirms an earlier study that also demonstrated how lycopene intake may offer significant protection against heart disease in women.
In several clinical trials lycopene was the only carotenoid associated with cancer risk reduction. In one trial of prostate cancer patients showed that supplementation with lycopene helped slow the growth of prostate cancer. In fact, the spread rate of prostate cancer was reduced by 73%. Studies have consistently associated high intakes of lycopene and vitamin E with reduced prostate cancer risk.
The amount of lycopene in one 40 mg soft gel is equal to the amount found in 3 bushels of tomatoes.
Recommended daily dose: 1 soft gel (40 mg)
Take with meals