Lycopene

Lycopene

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About

Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red color. It is one of a number of pigments called carotenoids. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelons, red oranges, pink grapefruits, apricots, rosehips, and guavas. The lycopene in supplements is about as easy for the body to use as lycopene found in food.

People take lycopene for preventing heart disease; "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis); and cancer of the prostate, breast, lung, bladder, ovaries, colon, and pancreas. Lycopene is also used for treating human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), asthma, hypertension, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure (CHF), gingivitis, and menopausal symptoms. Some people also use lycopene to prevent cataracts, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, and sunburn.

How does it work?

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage. This is why there is a lot of research interest in lycopene's role, if any, in preventing cancer.

Traditionally used for

High blood pressure.
Age-related eye disease (age-related macular degeneration, AMD).
Asthma
Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
Heart disease.
Cataracts.
Gingivitis.
Brain tumor (giloma).
Ulcers caused by H. pylori infection.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection.
High cholesterol.
Male fertility problems.
Menopausal symptoms.
White pre-cancerous patches in the mouth (oral leukoplakia).
High blood pressure during pregnancy.
Prostate swelling and pelvic pain.
Sunburn.

Dosage

For high blood pressure:

Lycopene 15 mg daily from a tomato extract (LycoMato, LycoRed Corporation, Orange, NJ) for 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Possible Side Effects

Lycopene is SAFE when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts. Daily supplements containing up to 120 mg of lycopene have been used safely for up to one year.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Lycopene is SAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding when taken in amounts commonly found in foods.

However, lycopene is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken as a supplement during pregnancy. In one study, using a specific lycopene supplement (LycoRed, Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals, India) 2 mg daily, starting between weeks 12 and 20 of pregnancy and continuing until delivery, increased the rate of premature births and low-birth-weight babies. But in another study using the same lycopene supplement, these problems weren't seen.

Not enough is known about the safety of lycopene supplements during breast-feeding. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, avoid using lycopene in amounts greater than those typically found in foods.

Surgery: Lycopene might slow blood clotting. It might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using lycopene supplements at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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