Lycopene May Lower Risk of Heart Disease in Women
York NY, 13 July 2003
of a study this month in the Journal of Nutrition found that
women with the highest intake of tomato-based foods, rich sources
of the antioxidant lycopene, had a reduced risk for cardiovascular
disease compared to women with low intake of those foods.
The study also showed a positive trend that the highest dietary
levels of lycopene may also be protective against cardiovascular
disease. The present study is the first published report on the
association of lycopene levels and cardiovascular disease exclusively
data, as reported by study leader Howard Sesso, ScD, MPH, of the
Harvard School of Public Health, were derived from the ongoing Women's
Health Study, which has been following 40,000 women for the past
eleven years, who were free from cancer or cardiovascular disease
at the start of the study. After seven years of follow-up, the researchers
recorded 719 cases of cardiovascular disease. The present study
analyzed the subjects' food frequency questionnaires for associations
between intake of lycopene and tomato-based foods and the risk for
those women who consumed seven servings or more of tomato-based
foods like tomato sauce and pizza each week, there was a nearly
30 percent risk reduction in total cardiovascular disease compared
to the group with intakes of less than 1.5 servings per week. Women
who ate more than 10 servings per week had an even more pronounced
reduction in risk (65 percent) for specific cardiovascular disease
outcomes such as heart attack or stroke.
not statistically significant, the strongest association of dietary
lycopene with cardiovascular disease protection was seen among those participants with
a median dietary lycopene intake of 20.2 mg per day, who had a 33
percent reduction in risk of the disease when compared with women
with the lowest dietary lycopene intake (3.3 mg/day).
findings add to a growing body of research pertaining to lycopene
and cardiovascular disease. For example, the European Study of Antioxidants,
Myocardial Infarction and Cancer of the Breast (EURAMIC) studied
adipose tissue for lycopene concentration and risk for cardiovascular
disease. That study found that men with the highest levels of lycopene
in their adipose tissue were 48 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular
disease. The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease
Risk Factor study also found that low serum lycopene levels were
associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Prior to the latest study, twelve epidemiological studies have been
published which investigated the association of lycopene plasma/serum
concentrations (eleven studies) or adipose tissue levels (one study)
with disease endpoints or certain biomarkers. Of these, ten studies
show a statistically significant inverse correlation with lycopene
and the cardiovascular disease endpoint.
research has identified that lycopene has strong antioxidant properties
relative to other carotenoids, colorful nutritional compounds in
food. In addition to reduced risk of cardiovascular
disease, lycopene has been shown to improve other risk factors for
cardiovascular disease. For example, high levels of serum lycopene
may reduce predictive markers of heart disease known as C-reactive
protein in the blood. In addition, lycopene
may play help reduce blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol.
recent analysis of the USDA's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes
of Individuals (CSFII) showed an average lycopene intake of 10.9
mg per day.
the population is getting 3.6 mg or less per day.
disease includes high blood pressure, coronary heart disease,
myocardial infarction, angina, congestive heart failure and stroke.
in five males and females has some form of cardiovascular disease.
million women have some form of cardiovascular disease as compared to 30 million
abstract of this study is available at www.nutrition.org
H, et al. Dietary lycopene, tomato-based food products, and cardiovascular
disease in women. J Nutr 2003; 133(7):2336-41.
L, et al. Lycopene and myocardial infarction risk in the EURAMIC
study. Am J Epidemiol 1997; 146:618-26.
TH, et al. Serum lycopene concentrations and carotid atherosclerosis:
the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J
Clin Nutr 2003; 77:133-8.
P, et al. Lycopene as the most efficient biological carotenoid
singlet oxygen quencher. Arch Biochem Biophys 1989; 274:532-8.
SB, et al. Serum carotenoids and markers of inflammation in nonsmokers.
Am J Epidemiol 2000; 15:1065-71.
S, et al. Tomato lycopene and low density lipoprotein oxidation:
a human dietary intervention study. Lipids 1998; 33:981-4.
Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. CSFII
1994-96. Food Surveys Research Group Home Page.
Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update
- 2003. Dallas TX: American Heart Association; 2002. (C)2002,
American Heart Association.
information is provided by the Vitamin Nutrition Information Service
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of accurate and credible vitamin information for health professionals,
educators and communicators. The VNIS monitors and disseminates
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topics and generates materials to educate professionals about the
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Nutrition Information Service (www.nutrition.org).