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Lycopene

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): carotene

COMMON NAME(S): Lycopene

Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment, a phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits. Lycopene is the most common carotenoid in the human body and is one of the most potent carotenoid antioxidants. Its name is derived from the tomato's species classification, Solanum lycopersicum .

Lycopene is a prominent member of the carotenoid family. In plants, lycopene is similar to other carotenoids, serving as a light-absorbing pigment during photosynthesis and protecting cells against photosensitization. Interest is growing in lycopene because of the many recent epidemiological studies implicating lycopene in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

History

The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) continues to be a popular and highly consumed crop in the US, second in production to potatoes. Epidemiological evidence finds the constituent lycopene to be associated with a reduced risk of certain diseases and cancers.

Botany :- Lycopene is a carotenoid, occurring in ripe fruit, especially tomatoes. Other sources include watermelon, grapefruit, and guava.

Uses of Lycopene

Lycopene has antioxidant activity and may be used in cancer prevention.

Lycopene is also associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. A recently published large case-control study from Italy demonstrated a reduced colon cancer risk, an odds ratio of 0.49-0.68, for subjects consuming tomato product daily compared to those consuming tomato products on a weekly basis.

Side Effects of Lycopene

No literature on toxicity was found.

Dosage

The ideal intake of lycopene is currently unknown; however, the men in the Harvard study with the greatest protection against cancer consumed at least 6.5 mg per day.

Toxicology

No literature on lycopene toxicity was found.

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