【Botanical Source】: Lycopersicum esculentum
【Part Used】: Fruit
【Active Ingredient】: Lycopene
【Specification】: Lycopene 6% HPLC
【Molecular formula】: C40H56
【Molecular weight】: 536.88
【CAS No. 】: 502-65-8
【EC No. 】: 207-949-1
【Solubility】: soluble in organic solvents
【Appearance】: Dark red powder
【Particle Size】: 80 mesh
Lycopene from the neo-Latin lycopersicum, the tomato species, is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, gac, and papayas, although not in strawberries, or cherries. Although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity. Foods that are not red may also contain lycopene, such as asparagus and parsley.
In plants, algae, and other photosynthetic organisms, lycopene is an important intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids, including beta carotene, which is responsible for yellow, orange, or red pigmentation, photosynthesis, and photo-protection. Like all carotenoids, lycopene is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon, i.e. an unsubstituted alkene. Structurally, lycopene is a tetraterpene and assembled from eight isoprene units that are composed entirely of carbon and hydrogen. It is insoluble in water. Lycopene’s eleven conjugated double bonds give its deep red color and its antioxidant activity. Owing to the strong color, lycopene is a useful food coloring (registered as E160d) and is approved for usage in the USA, Australia and New Zealand (registered as 160d) and the EU.
Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red color. It is one of a number of pigments called carotenoids. Lycopene is found in watermelons, pink grapefruits, apricots, and pink guavas. It is found in particularly high amounts in tomatoes and tomato products. In North America, 85% of dietary lycopene comes from tomato products such as tomato juice or paste. One cup (240 mL) of tomato juice provides about 23 mg of lycopene. Processing raw tomatoes using heat (in the making of tomato juice, tomato paste or ketchup, for example) actually changes the lycopene in the raw product into a form that is easier for the body to use. The lycopene in supplements is about as easy for the body to use as lycopene found in food. People take lycopene for preventing heart disease, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis); and cancer of the prostate, breast, lung, bladder, ovaries, colon, and pancreas. Lycopene is also used for treating human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which is a major cause of uterine cancer. Some people also use lycopene for cataracts and asthma.
Researches on Lycopene Benefits
1. As a Powerful Antioxidant
lycopene’s antioxidant capabilities can protect your body from the damage induced by pesticides. Studies show that it can protect your liver from common corruption by dichlorvos and also reverse or protect from destruction to your adrenal cortex by atrazine. Another dangerous chemical that you’ve been exposed to before is monosodium glutamate (MSG). Common side effects from consuming MSG include headache, flushing, sweating, facial pressure, numbness, nausea and weakness, according to the Mayo Clinic. These symptoms are mainly neurological because MSG acts as an “excitotoxin” in your brain, meaning that it speeds up cell reactions to the point that it causes cell death, or “apoptosis.” However, a 2016 study discovered that lycopene protects these cells by inhibiting apoptosis when MSG signaled to the brain it was supposed to happen. Another function this phytonutrient can serve is in the treatment of candidiasis, better known as yeast infection. Unlike its effects on MSG toxicity, lycopene actually causes apoptosis to the infecting fungal cells. This is effective for both candidiasis in the mouth and vaginal yeast infections.
In vitro data
Lycopene was 2- to 10-fold more efficient in quenching singlet oxygen than alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene. The antioxidant activity of lycopene may also be mediated by its bioactive metabolites.
One study involving 20 patients found a correlation between skin roughness and lycopene dietary concentration. In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, lycopene supplementation decreased DNA oxidative damage. Lycopene also may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
2. Help Prevent Cancer
Human epidemiological evidence indicates that diets high in tomatoes may reduce the risk of cervical, colon, esophageal, rectal, prostate, and stomach cancers. Several molecular mechanisms of actions 4 are documented for lycopene’s anticancer activity, including the following: Antioxidant activity or reduction of free radicals; Antioxidant response element or stimulation of cells to produce enzymes to protect against free radicals; Apoptosis or elimination of unhealthy abnormal cells; Cell-cycle arrest or induction of cell death at the G1 phase; Affect growth factors and signaling pathways critical for cancer cell growth; and Antimetastatic and anti-invasion activity.
In vitro and animal data
In one study, lycopene inhibited human colon carcinoma, myeloid leukemia, and lymphoma cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Lycopene and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) also suppressed signal transduction pathways in human colon cancer cells, thus inhibiting cancer cell growth. 20 Another study documented activity against a liver adenocarcinoma cell line and noncancerous lung cell line. Lycopene prevented chemically-induced DNA and chromosome damage and tumor-promoting activity in liver cells through antioxidant activity and inhibition of growth factors and signaling pathways.[8, 9, 10]
In a clinical trial, lycopene supplementation (30 mg/day for 2 months) had beneficial effects in healthy women with a high risk of breast cancer but not in breast cancer survivors.
In a large case-control study covering 3 years, the risk of pancreatic cancer for men consuming lycopene was reduced 31%. Lycopene protected against cancer by activating cancer-preventive phase 2 enzymes.
Growing evidence exists for the use of lycopene in prostate cancer prevention. Although numerous animal studies exist, only the clinical evidence will be reviewed here. In a review of epidemiologic studies, a diet rich in fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, and pizza reduced the incidence of prostate cancer in a cohort of 40,000 men. Increased consumption of tomatoes statistically lowered the risk of prostate cancer in a cohort of 14,000 Seventh-Day Adventist men. A meta-analysis of 21 studies provided further evidence of diets rich in tomatoes providing protection against prostate cancer. Lycopene was more efficient than any carotenoid in inhibiting insulin-like growth factor type 1 (ie, high levels of this growth factor are related to an increased risk of cancer) in patients with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.[16, 17] Lycopene also inhibited the progression of benign prostate hyperplasia. Lycopene concentrations changed rapidly in men with prostate cancer given lycopene supplements for several weeks prior to radical prostatectomy. Apoptotic activity was observed and may have been caused by lycopene. Prostate volume was reduced in prostate cancer patients taking 30 mg/day of lycopene extract for 3 weeks prior to radical prostatectomy.
Oxidative stress is recognized as a major contributor to increased cancer risk. Lycopene’s efficient absorption from tomato products facilitates its antioxidant effects and may also play an important role in cancer prevention. Lycopene not only achieves high concentrations in the prostate, but also in the testes and adrenal glands. Lycopene intake and decreased cancer risk association has been observed in stomach cancers. Lycopene’s protective role in the early stages of cervical carcinogenesis was noted in 1 study. Plasma levels of lycopene and other carotenoids were lower in women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer, suggesting a protective effect of higher lycopene concentrations.
Its action on cardiovascular disease may be associated with antioxidant activity as well as decreased cell surface adhesion molecule expression and intima-media thickness.
In vitro and animal data
Lycopene suppressed tissue factor activation in vascular thrombosis in human endothelial cells. Additional studies found that lycopene reduced expression of cell surface adhesion molecules and binding of monocytes.[25, 26] Lycopene also bound and inhibited platelet-derived growth factor, which is associated with the development and progression of cardiovascular disease in rat smooth muscle cells. One nutritional study in rabbits compared lycopene’s action in reducing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta with that of fluvastatin. There are studies on the development of more efficient vehicles to deliver lycopene to adipocytes.
In 19 subjects, lycopene supplementation decreased serum lipid peroxidation and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, suggesting a decreased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). An epidemiological study in 10 European countries, known as the EURAMIC study, confirmed beneficial effects on the heart correlating with lycopene lipid levels and reduced risk of myocardial infarction. The Austrian Stroke Prevention Study found that certain concentrations of lycopene and other antioxidants may protect against cognitive impairment. Plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations were reduced 14% in 6 men consuming dietary supplements of lycopene at 60 mg/day for a 3-month period. Twenty-four patients in a 6-week clinical trial receiving fresh tomato and tomato juice twice daily reported reduced triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
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