Lycopene is the substance belonging to the carotenoid group of compounds and it appears deep red in color in many of the foods like tomatoes. Lycopene is very popular as a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene is found in some fruits and vegetables. Lycopene content is mostly present in pink guava, tomatoes, pink grapefruits, papaya, rosehip and watermelon. It is suggested that lycopene is benefiting more when much of the food containing lycopene are taken. Lycopene is a most efficient antioxidant than the other carotenoids like beta-carotene
The antioxidant activity of lycopene is found to be effective in maintenance of strength, fluidity and thickness of the cell membrane. Membranes of the cell, guard them and screen whatever enters into and goes out of the cell. The nutrients are allowed to enter into the cell through the membrane while the cellular waste is removed. Toxins are prevented from entering the cell. Many of the diseases are prevented by the healthy and strong cell membranes.
Lycopene is specifically useful to inhibit several cancer forms and helps in the treatment of several diseases and illnesses. Lycopene is known to avoid the oxidization of LDL cholesterol by free radicals so that the cholesterol does not get deposited inside the arteries and reduce the arterial blood flow. The research studies on infertility has revealed that lycopene helps in the infertility treatment. Some of the tests revealed that concentration of sperms in men is enhanced by lycopene. Diabetes can be prevented by lycopene. Lycopene is also observed to prevent skin aging, cataracts and age associated macular degeneration. Lycopene acts as an internal sunscreen and protects the skin from sunburns. Osteoporosis is prevented by lycopene.
Lycopene is used as a dietary supplement and it is available either by itself or mixed with other substances in mixed formulations. It is available in oil-based form or soft-gel form. Any side-effects due to the intake of foods rich in lycopene or lycopene dietary supplements are not yet reported. Tomato extract is a popular lycopene natural supplement that is sold very widely.
At a recent conference, a researcher from the University of Toronto was explaining about the role of lycopene as an antioxidant. The researcher explained that this antioxidant will prevent the free radicals from damaging the new bone formation after the age stimulated bone loss. Another researcher was stressing on the impact of lycopene on the prevention of UV induced skin damage.
Some research studies have reported that the benefits of lycopene are more in the regions where the lycopene concentrations are highest in the body like in the prostate gland. There is a research study reporting that patients taking 15 mg. of lycopene supplements for three weeks before the surgery for removing the prostate gland had shown improvement in the cancer intensity and their PSAscore was also decreased. Vitamin research also revealed that higher levels of lycopene and beta carotene could protect the body from breast cancer. Animal research has shown that lycopene is beneficial in protecting the breast cancer development. Lycopene was found to be protective against heart attacks and in the form of tomato paste is found to be helpful in preventing the development of cardiovascular disease. It is the idea of the nutritionists that lycopene is efficiently absorbed when the tomato is heated with olive oil. Lycopene according to some studies has been proved to be beneficial for lowering the risks of bladder cancer, lung and pancreatic cancers.
In India Lycopene supplements are available in the market, some of them are Lycoron of Rhone Pharmacie Private Limited. This supplement is in the form of Oral Liquid as well as in the form of Softgel Capsules.