Lycopene (C40H56) is a red compound found naturally in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, red bell peppers, apricots, pink oranges, and grapefruit. It belongs to a group of chemicals known as carotenoids.
Chemically, it is made of a large polyene chain that contains 35–40 carbon atoms. Lycopene is a non-provitamin A carotenoid and shows no vitamin A activity. Your body absorbs Lycopene better in its processed form (cooked, etc.) than raw. You can also take Lycopene equally well as a supplement.
You must take Lycopene supplements in the prescribed dosage. Side effects of Lycopene include:
1. How much Lycopene can you take per day?
Take as prescribed as there is no fixed daily concentration of Lycopene. Studies were conducted with a Lycopene-restricted diet on healthy adults. They were given concentrations of 6.5, 15, and 30mg per day. Here, subjects who consumed 30mg of purified Lycopene daily showed the best results in keeping stomach, lung, and prostate cancer at bay.
2. What is Lycopene good for?
Lycopene is good for keeping the heart healthy and keeps many types of cancer such as prostate, breast, lung, bladder, ovaries, colon, and pancreas at bay. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It protects skin from sun damage. It is good in preventing the incidence of gum disease and free-radical damage. It prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis (hardening of the atrial wall).
3. What does Lycopene do?
Lycopene, a non-provitamin A carotenoid, acts as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. The root cause of many chronic diseases is inflammation; a diet supplemented with Lycopene can keep you healthy. Lycopene prevents cancer by acting on singlet oxygen, removes free radicals, and prevents the oxidative damage of DNA. Normal essential metabolic processes usually produce free radicals in the human body or from external sources such as exposure to ozone, air pollutants, X-rays, industrial chemicals, and smoking. These free radicals harm the cells and change the DNA structure. Incidence of heart disease is reduced, high blood pressure is decreased, and prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of arterial wall) by balancing good and bad cholesterol.
4. What food has Lycopene?
Fruits and vegetables found in nature contain Lycopene in high amounts.
Source – the riper the tomato, the higher the Lycopene content. Some other sources containing the most Lycopene per 100 grams are:
5. Where can you find Lycopene?
You can obtain Lycopene naturally from fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, red bell peppers, etc. Another nutrient source for Lycopene is food supplements. You must take supplementary forms of Lycopene under the guidance of a doctor. Before getting a prescription, note the above side effects and report any underlying conditions like low blood pressure, allergy, etc.
6. Can Lycopene be harmful?
Lycopene usually is not toxic. It is commonly found in most of our diets. In rare cases, a Lycopene-high diet can lead to excess Lycopene in the blood and consequent skin discoloration known as lycopenodermia. You can revert this skin coloration by consuming a diet less rich in Lycopene.
7. Is Lycopene a mineral or vitamin?
Lycopene is one of the three most commonly found carotenoids in plants. They are a group of yellow, orange, and red pigments. Thus, it is neither a vitamin nor a mineral. Some carotenoids, which are called provitamin A carotenoids, get converted to vitamin A. Others like Lycopene remain as they are while still serving many important functions.
8. Does Lycopene help erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, a typical male sexual disorder, is prevalent in 50% or more men with diabetes. Studies have shown that this erectile dysfunction resulting from chronic diabetes can be restored by continuous Lycopene treatment. A significant dosage of Lycopene can lower blood glucose levels and reduce oxidative stress. Thereby, they can rectify and/or prevent erectile dysfunction.
9. Is Lycopene a blood thinner?
Yes. Research has shown that Lycopene prevents the clotting of blood as it contains blood thinners. Hence, you should not take it with other blood-thinning agents such as aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners), antiplatelet drugs, and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
10. Is Lycopene bad for the kidney?
Lycopene has a beneficial effect on kidneys. It prevents chronic kidney diseases, kidney damage due to mercury, inflammation due to obesity, and kidney damage due to diabetes. It reduces brush border loss, tubular vacuolization, and tubular dilation conditions. It prevents oxidative stress and inflammation in the kidney. It is protected by preventing free radicals which damage kidney cells.
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