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Lycopene

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Lycopene information, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains information and frequently asked questions about lycopene as well as a complete list of products containing lycopene.

What is lycopene and what does it do?

Lycopene is a well-studied and well-researched substance. Lycopene is a pigment that gives fruits and vegetables its color. Some of these consist of tomatoes, grapefruit, and watermelon. It’s known for its antioxidant abilities and research suggests that the consumption of foods rich in lycopene brings with it a lower chance of being diagnoses with cardiovascular disease or prostate cancer.

Lycopene is not produced by our bodies, and as such, you can only get it from either supplementing through pill form or by eating foods that are rich in lycopene. Some foods that are rich in lycopene include pizza, ketchup, and tomato juice – the most common sources of lycopene in the average diet, with pizza representing an overwhelming 80% of all the lycopene digested in the US.

While lycopene can be consumed through watermelon and grapefruit, it’s absorbed better by our bodies when it’s in the form of processed tomato products. And while the reason for this still remains unclear, lycopene is better absorbed by the body when it comes in a processed tomato form, as opposed to a ripe, fresh tomato off of a vine.

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What are the benefits of taking lycopene?

There are a vast array of benefits for taking lycopene. Scientists have researched and found that is at least a somewhat beneficial aspect in the following health conditions:

Cancer prevention - Many studies suggest that you should eat vegetables that are rich in lycopene to potentially have a reduced risk of forming several different kinds of cancers. This can include prostate cancer, breast, gastrointestinal, colorectal, and lung cancers.

Antioxidant – Studies undergone on animals have indicated that lycopene contains some properties of antioxidants. In clinical trials, it has been shown that consuming tomato product everyday for 15 days can potentially drastically increase the protection that you receive from added oxidative stress. It should be known, however, that some studies have not shown this. More research is necessary.

Protection from UV rays – In partnership with other carotenoids, lycopene may be able to help reduce the effects of sunburn. One study has shown that supplementation with lycopene for 12 weeks (at 24 milligrams/day) improves sunburn that is derived from ultra-violet rays.

Atherosclerosis and high cholesterol – More than one study suggests that lycopene may reduce the risk of developing clogged arteries and may help fight and reduce high cholesterol.

In addition to these benefits, lycopene may also help reduce exercise-induced asthma and stimulate your immune system to make it more efficient.

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Who can benefit from taking lycopene?

Lycopene should be considered as a helpful supplement for the above health conditions, not a substitute for other kinds of treatment. Those that are in the sun often, have a history of high cholesterol in their family or cancer may wish to supplement lycopene.

In addition, it’s general antioxidant properties can be beneficial for every adult.

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How much lycopene should I take?

The dosages vary depending on your goals and needs. They are based on scientific research and other medical publications, but remember to always check with your doctor before taking any medicine and to carefully follow instructions found on the label of every supplement.

Exercise-induced asthma - adults should take 30 milligrams daily by mouth, with the safety of lycopene in children not yet being studied. As such, lycopene is not recommended for kids.

Atherosclerosis - Adults should take a dose of 1.243 grams of 6 percent daily.

Improved immune function - 13.3 milligrams of lycopene daily for adults.

For protection against the sun - it is recommended for you to take a dosage of 8 milligrams a day, coupled with other antioxidants, for 12 weeks.

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Does lycopene have any side effects?

No side effects have been reported from eating tomato-based products that contain lycopene. In addition, lycopene nutritional supplements have not had any reported side effects either.

Supplements for lycopene are not recommended for women that are pregnant or breast-feeding. Also, if you are taking any prescription drugs you should talk to your health care provider.

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