The Antioxidant Power of Lycopene


By Dwayne Jackson
Mar 4, 2011

Lycopene is a carotenoid found in high concentrations in tomatoes and has been suggested to have a number of health and disease prevention benefits. It exhibits robust  antioxidant properties and has garnered a plethora of interest for its use as a preventative measure and possible treatment for cardiovascular disease, skin health, eye health, and prostate cancer (Lindshield et al., 2006). Epidemiological studies have associated reduced risk of prostate cancer with high tomato product consumption (Giovannucci et al., 2002;Etminan et al., 2004). Additionally lycopene ingestion and blood serum concentration have been negatively related to prostate cancer occurrence (Etminan et al., 2004). Lycopene's powerful antioxidant capacity was once thought to be the main factor contributing to its protection from disease, as it has been shown to have 2 times more antioxidant capacity than beta-carotene and 10 times more than a-tocopherol (Di Mascio et al., 1989).   In addition to antioxidant properties, it has recently been shown that supplementation results in high concentrations of lycopene sequestered in areas of high androgen sensitivity, such as the prostate. This unique feature has been shown to locally modify androgen metabolism in normal prostates and prostatic tumors (Herzog et al., 2005;Siler et al., 2004). Based on these scientific data, lycopene is advantageous for anyone looking for a supplement with high antioxidant capacity and its impact on overall health and wellbeing. Males will benefit greatly from the protective and supporting effects regular lycopene ingestion on prostate heath.

References:
Di Mascio P, Kaiser S, & Sies H (1989). Lycopene as the most efficient biological carotenoid singlet oxygen quencher. Arch Biochem Biophys 274, 532-538.
Etminan M, Takkouche B, & Caamano-Isorna F (2004). The role of tomato products and lycopene in the prevention of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 13, 340-345.
Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, Stampfer MJ, & Willett WC (2002). A prospective study of tomato products, lycopene, and prostate cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst 94, 391-398.
Herzog A, Siler U, Spitzer V, Seifert N, Denelavas A, Hunziker PB, Hunziker W, Goralczyk R, & Wertz K (2005). Lycopene reduced gene expression of steroid targets and inflammatory markers in normal rat prostate. FASEB J 19, 272-274.
Lindshield BL, Canene-Adams K, & Erdman JW, Jr. (2006). Lycopenoids: Are lycopene metabolites bioactive? Arch Biochem Biophys.
Siler U, Barella L, Spitzer V, Schnorr J, Lein M, Goralczyk R, & Wertz K (2004). Lycopene and vitamin E interfere with autocrine/paracrine loops in the Dunning prostate cancer model. FASEB J 18, 1019-1021.



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