Lycopene: Prostate and Breast Health Benefits

Have you ever wondered how fruits and vegetables get their color? Pigments, they are different chemicals that produce colors in fruits and vegetables. Lycopene is the chemical that produces the red found in tomatoes, guava and watermelon. In the last 20 years lycopene has been studied in its relationship to cancer concerns. A lot of hyped research has produced false hope, not so with lycopene. Lycopene has endured many years of scrutiny with continued good results for cancer prevention.

Lycopene, like a lot of things, has run the gamut of studies. Lycopene has survived test-tube studies, observational (human) studies, epidemiologic studies (population), and finally meta-analysis (studies looking at the studies). Remember researchers often don’t find conclusive answers, but produce results that warrant more studies, the name of the game in research. Studies about lycopene have produced; test tube, as well as human studies, indicate the following: plasma carotenoids (beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene and others) are associated with a reduced risk for prostate, breast and skin cancer(s). Specifically for prostate a-tocopherol (vit. E) and lycopene have precipitated out as inversely reducing PSA at various times. Lycopene was associated with less genomic instability in prostate tissue. Take your choice, some recommend an increase in lycopene rich foods, however others are looking for more clinical support through additional studies.

Hard to believe, adding cooked tomatoes is the best way to increase lycopene into your system. Some studies reveal that cooked tomatoes increase the bio-availability (ability to digest) of lycopene. also noted for females, a 28 percent reduction is noted for the highest levels of lycopene consumption and the prevention of breast cancer. Also noted is a 30% reduction in heart disease.

Supplement forms and cooked tomato products provide the most absorbable forms of lycopene. A study with soups that contain tomato based are excellent sources as well. Can I hear ‘I should have had a V-8’. Drink up.

By Starkie Sowers CN

Edited by Wayne Grubacich


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