Lycopene source protects lungs from smoke in mouse study

January 12, 2006

Emphysema is almost always caused by cigarette smoke (it can occur due to second hand smoke). Emphysema is incurable and it worsens over time. In this disease the air sacs (called alveoli) in the lung become damaged and enlarged making it very hard to breathe. Researchers at the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo exposed mice to short bouts of tobacco smoke over an 8 week period to induce emphysema. These mice are frequently used in disease research because they age rapidly and prematurely. A group of these mice had tomato juice standardized to supply 5mg lycopene and also vitamin A added to their water supply each day. The mice not supplemented with the lycopene had significant damage to the alveoli in their lungs indicating emphysema whereas the smoke induced emphysema was completely prevented by giving the standardized lycopene in the tomato juice base. The study is published early on line ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology; Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

Recent research with vitamin D shows that it is low in the elderly with osteoporosis and also in the elderly with hip fractures. Having sufficient vitamin D reduces the risk of falling in the elderly, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, reduces the risk of fracture, and has been shown to improve strength.

Israeli researchers at the University of Negev in Beer Sheva gave a total of 31 men and women with mild high blood pressure a daily supplement of Lycopene in tomato oleoresin (Lyc-O-Mato). Their blood pressure did not exceed 159/99mmHg and was in the range for stage 1 hypertension. The top number (systolic pressure) dropped an average of 10 points and the bottom number (diastolic pressure) dropped 4 points on average. The study is published in the January 2006 issue of the American Heart Journal.