Lycopene - properties, effects and sources of lycopene

Lycopene is an organic chemical compound belonging to the carotenoid group. It is responsible for the red colour of tomatoes, peppers, watermelons and other vegetables and fruits. It is one of the best antioxidants and, by neutralising free radicals, protects our DNA, proteins and lipids from damage. What is lycopene? How does it work and does its supplementation carry a risk of side effects

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Properties and effects of lycopene

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are a by-product of chemical reactions taking place in our body. They can also come from external factors such as environmental pollutants or UV radiation. Protection against free radicals can help to prevention of many diseases chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease or neurodegenerative diseases. Lycopene neutralises free radicals by binding and deactivating them.

Lycopene has a particular effect on protection against heart disease and cancer (especially prostate, breast, pancreatic and colorectal cancer). Can reduce lipid levels in the blood and protect against atherosclerosis by reducing oxidative processes in the blood vessels. 

Anti-cancer effects demonstrates by inhibiting the process of uncontrolled growth and division of cancer cells and inducing their apoptosis, or programmed cell death, which occurs naturally in the body and is crucial for maintenance of homeostasis and the elimination of damaged or redundant cells.

The mechanism of action of lycopene is not fully understood, but there are scientific evidence confirming that its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to the prevention of various diseases. 

Many studies on the effects of lycopene on health was conducted as far back as the 1980s, and some of the most recent studies are ongoing. In particular, researchers at Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) have devoted a great deal of time to this compound, studying its effects on the reducing the risk of prostate cancer in men and the risk of heart disease. 

Lycopene can also affect:

  • functioning of the immune system,
  • reducing inflammation,
  • supporting the skeletal system,
  • lowering cholesterol levels,
  • improving metabolism,
  • reducing the risk of eye diseases (cataracts and macular degeneration)
  • prevention of Alzheimer's disease
  • prevention of neurodegenerative diseases
  • support of brain function.

Sources of lycopene - Top 10

Sources of lycopene include fruit, vegetables and products such as whole-grain bread, fish and nuts.

Among the important tidbits I managed to find is a kind of ranking of lycopene sources. The ranking includes the top 10 sources of lycopene. Considered by me to be a reasonably factual quality medium - the portal My Food Data - has published this compilation of a ranking list of the richest lycopene products on its website:

what has the most lycopene? top10

Fruits readily available in Poland that contain lycopene:

  • apples;
  • blueberries;
  • berries;
  • mandarins;
  • grapes;
  • oranges;
  • grapefruits;
  • mango;
  • grapes;
  • currants.

Vegetables that contain lycopene:

  • tomatoes;
  • paprika;
  • beetroot;
  • carrot;
  • spinach;
  • cabbage;
  • broccoli.

Lycopene in tomatoes

lycopene in tomatoes

The main sources of lycopene in the average Polish diet are tomatoes and their preserves.

Lycopene in tomatoes is present in all varieties and forms of this plant. Its exact amount may vary depending on the variety, maturity, cultivation method, climatic conditions and other factors. A medium-sized, fresh tomato contains approximately 3 - 3.2 milligrams of natural lycopene.

Most of it can be found in orange variety of tomatowhich contains a special form of this compound- cis-lycopene. Compared to the red variety, the cis-lycopene content is as high as 95%, while in the red variety it is only 10%. Studies show that this compound has greater bioactivity than its trans-lycopene isomer, meaning it is more easily absorbed and more effective in preventing heart disease and cancer.

If you are keen to effectively enrich your diet with lycopene, it is worth opting for the orange variety of tomatoes.

In tomato preparations (passata, juices, sun-dried tomatoes, concentrates or ketchups) lycopene content is greater and is best absorbed by man when consumed in combination with fats. It is interesting to know that two teaspoons (approx. 33 grams) of tomato paste can contain up to approx. 25 milligrams of lycopene.

Lycopene retains its antioxidant properties even after heat treatment, being one of the most stable carotenoids. Therefore, a great way to supplement it in the diet would be, for example, to consume a tomato salad with added fat or to heat tomato sauce in olive oil.

CBD oils with lycopene

An alternative way to get this valuable compound into the body is to use one of the commercially available supplements.

Among the most interesting and innovative functional combinations is the formulation developed by the FemiCanna brand. Well, their CBD oil Femicanna Beauty in addition to the excellent quality of the broad spectrum of cannabinoids, it contains an increased natural lycopene content of up to 450 mg. This well thought out dose, which actually works and does so at least very well in whatever area you may want to try this particular CBD oil.

CBD oils with lycopene are a well-thought-out blend, the use of which will be most appreciated by consciously mature women. As far as lycopene is concerned, the supplement from FemiCanna is definitely one of the most interesting product innovations on the Polish and other markets.

Find out more on the website of this unique product by clicking on the link below:

cbg oil + cbd + lycopene - femicanna beauty

Femicanna Beauty CBD + CBG + Lycopene

CBD 1000mg CBG 200mg

Out of stock

Lycopene - side effects

There are no known direct side effects of excessive lycopene use. In the long term, an excess of this compound in the diet can lead to pigmentary changes in the skin. In practice, this means the skin acquires a slightly yellow or even orange tinge. This problem disappears fairly quickly with a reduction in its intake.

Lycopene supplementation is not recommended in pregnant and lactating women. It is also advisable to discontinue supplementation approximately 2 weeks before the date of any scheduled surgical procedures.

How much lycopene to consume per day?

One glass of tomato juice can provide up to two-thirds of the daily requirement of this compound. Although there are no official recommendations for daily intake of lycopene, it is recommended to consume 6-10 mg lycopene per day. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2013 found that 25 mg of this valuable dietary ingredient per day may have a beneficial effect on health. It should be borne in mind that this value may vary depending on age, gender or general health.

Most people do not consume enough lycopene in their diet and for those with low lycopene levels in their blood or for those who find it difficult to maintain a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, a properly planned supplementation

A varied and balanced diet, containing the right amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, is key to maintaining good health and preventing many diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and also cancer. 

Lycopene is one of the many nutrients that can help maintain good health, so it is worth remembering to include foods that are a source of this important antioxidant in our daily menu.


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