Lycopene improves asthma in adults

March 17, 2008

Diets rich in antioxidant foods seem to lower the risk of developing asthma. In this new clinical trial scientists from the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, NSW, in Australia placed 32 asthmatic adults on an antioxidant poor diet for 10 days. They were then all placed on the following 3 treatments for 7 days each in a randomized cross-over designed study; either placebo, a tomato extract standardized for 45 mg of lycopene each day or tomato juice also supplying 45 mg of lycopene each day. When the participants initially consumption a diet low in antioxidants the level of carotenoids in the blood plasma decreased, Asthma Control Score worsened, and the percent of neutrophils in the sputum increased. A neutrophil is the most common type of white blood cell; it normally engulfs and destroys bacteria and fungi. If poorly controlled Neutrophils contribute to inflammation and tissue damage and they are involved in allergies and are now known to be a major contributor to the most severe forms of asthma. Treatment with both tomato juice-Lycopene supplement and Lycopene-tomato Extract supplement reduced the influx of neutrophils into the airway. Treatment with tomato extract also reduced sputum neutrophil elastase activity; this enzyme is involved with lung tissue destruction. In conclusion, dietary antioxidant consumption modifies clinical asthma outcomes. Changing dietary antioxidant intake may be contributing to rising asthma prevalence. Lycopene-rich supplements should be further investigated as a therapeutic intervention. The study is published in the January 2008 issue of the journal Free radical Research.

Lycopene from tomato may help decrease the risk of colon and other cancers

High levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 are associated with increased risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Israeli scientists from the Colorectal Unit Departments at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev along with other centers enlisted 56 colon cancer patients scheduled for surgical removal of their cancer into a double-blind randomized, controlled clinical trial. The patients were scheduled for surgery within a few days to a week. The patients were supplemented with either tomato Lycopene or a similarly looking placebo. In this short time the level of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 decreased significantly by 25% on average compared with the placebo group. Tomato Lycopene extract has a role in the preventio9n of colon cancer and possibly other types of cancer. The study is published in the August 2007 issue of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Lycopene stops the progression of BPH

Benign prostatic hypertrophy is estimated to affect half of men in their 50s, increasing in prevalence to up to 90 percent of men age 80 and older. In this newly published study researchers of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart enrolled 40 men with biopsy-confirmed BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy) and a serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentration of greater than 4.0 micrograms per liter. The men were randomized to receive 15 milligrams of lycopene per day or inactive placebo for six months. Prostate specific antigen was measured in blood samples drawn during screening, and after one, three, and six months. Prostate volume was determined via digital rectal examination and prostate weight by trans-rectal ultrasonography.
Supplementation with the carotenoid lycopene slowed the growth of the prostate in the men. After six months, men who received lycopene experienced a decrease in PSA levels, while those who received the placebo experienced no change. Prostate enlargement progressed in the placebo group but prostate size remained the same in those that received lycopene. Although both groups reported improved BPH symptoms following the trials, a greater effect was report by men who received lycopene. The study is published in the January, 2007 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.