Abstract | Biologically Active Lycopene in Human Health

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Oxidative stress induced by highly reactive oxygen species (hROS) is recognized as an important mechanism in the causation of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of several antioxidants including lycopene, of recent interest and available in the diet primarily from tomatoes and tomato products. Popular for its role in prostate health, lycopene also improves markers for and risk of multiple cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, male infertility and macular degeneration. Epidemiological, tissue culture, animal and human studies show a beneficial role for lycopene in the prevention and possibly treatment of chronic diseases. Generally, lycopene intake of North Americans is low (≤1.86 mg/day) compared to 7 mg/day now recommended to maintain circulatory lycopene at levels consistent with providing beneficial effects. Ongoing and future research is warranted to increase our understanding of lycopene’s role in human diseases, its mechanisms of action and its use in the management of public health.

Barbara. L. Dillingham, MSc


Keywords: lycopene, bioavailability, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, infertility, daily intake