Looking Beyond Lycopene for Prostate Health

December 5, 2007

1 Min Read
Looking Beyond Lycopene for Prostate Health

Researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, recently investigated the impact of specific components of tomatoesbeyond lycopeneto better determine their impact on factors related to prostate cancer. The results of this research were published in the Dec. 2007 issue of Nutrition Research.

The Illinois scientists noted that although research has shown lycopene from tomatoes has been tied to reduced risk of prostate cancer, the contribution of other tomato carotenoids, such as phytoene and phytofluene, toward a lower risk of prostate cancer has not faced adequate scrutiny. In particular, they sought to determine how the human body assimilates specific tomato carotenoids like phytoene and phytofluene.

During the course of the study, the diet of rats was supplemented with a tomato powder containing phytoene, phytofluene and lycopene. After 30 days, they then determined how the rats had assimilated the carotenoids.

Among other findings, results showed that phytofluene concentrations in liver tissues were higher than phytoene or lycopene. Although lycopene had the highest concentrations in the prostate, all three tomato carotenoids were found to accumulate.

Further research will be required to determine if these results hold true for human subjects.

For more information on lycopene, tomatoes and FDA-approved health claims, see Beyond Lycopene, by Angela Miraglio, RD, which ran in the Jan. 2006 issue of Food Product Design.

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