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Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2008 May-Jun;12(3):183-90.

Protective effect of lycopene in cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Cardiology Unit, San Camillo de Lellis Hospital, Manfredonia, Foggia, Italy.


Coronary artery disease (CAD) represents the primary cause of death in Western Countries with an high incidence on human health and community social costs. Oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays an important role in the aetiology of this disease. In particular, the LDL-oxidization has a key role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular heart diseases through the initiation of plaque formation process. Dietary phytochemical products such antioxidant vitamins (A,C,E) and bioactive food components (alpha- and beta-carotene) have shown an antioxidant effect in reducing both oxidative markers stress and LDL-oxidization process. Scientifical evidences support the beneficial roles of phytochemicals in the prevention of some chronic diseases. Lycopene, an oxygenated carotenoid with great antioxidant properties, has shown both in epidemiological studies and supplementation human trials a reduction of cardiovascular risk. However, controlled clinical trials and dietary intervention studies using well-defined subjects population haven't been provided a clear evidence of lycopene in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The present short review aims to evaluate the beneficial effect of lycopene in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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