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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6 Suppl):1691S-5S; discussion 1696S-7S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/71.6.1691S.

Lycopene and cardiovascular disease.

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School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Considerable evidence suggests that lycopene, a carotenoid without provitamin A activity found in high concentrations in a small set of plant foods, has significant antioxidant potential in vitro and may play a role in preventing prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease in humans. Tomato products, including ketchup, tomato juice, and pizza sauce, are the richest sources of lycopene in the US diet, accounting for >80% of the total lycopene intake of Americans. Unlike other carotenoids, lycopene is not consistently lower among smokers than among nonsmokers, suggesting that any possible preventive activity is not as an antioxidant. Instead, lycopene may have a cholesterol synthesis-inhibiting effect and may enhance LDL degradation. Available evidence suggests that intimal wall thickness and risk of myocardial infarction are reduced in persons with higher adipose tissue concentrations of lycopene. The question of whether lycopene helps to prevent cardiovascular disease can only be answered by a trial specifically evaluating its effectiveness in this area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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