- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy
Human papilloma virus
Lung cancer - prevention
Ovarian cancer - prevention
Prostate cancer - prevention (popular use)
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Atherosclerosis Prostate cancer - treatment
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Low
- Adverse Effects: Rare
Lycopene is a carotenoid found in nature. The western diet is very rich in lycopene. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. Cooked tomatoes (tomato soup, paste, juice, or canned tomatoes) are by far the most lycopene-rich food. In fact, lycopene bioavailability is increased by cooking and oil. Lycopene is also found, but in more modest amounts, in watermelon, guava, fresh apricots and raw tomatoes.
Lycopene supplements are available as tablets or capsules.
Direction of use
- Lung cancer prevention:
Dietary lycopene appears to reduce the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Used doses: men should take 12 mg of lycopene daily and women 6.5 mg daily.
- Prostate cancer prevention:
A lycopene-rich diet (6 mg daily) may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Used doses: 10 to 30 mg of lycopene twice a day
Amount of lycopene found in food:
250 ml tomato juice - 22 to 23 mg
125 ml of tomato sauce - 17 mg
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that lycopene is effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Lycopene is associated with no adverse reactions.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
There is no safety data concerning the use of lycopene during pregnancy and breast-feeding. For this reason, it is best that pregnant and breast-feeding women avoid these supplements.
- Certain manufacturers market synthetic lycopene at a lower price. At this time, it is not known if these synthetic supplements have the same effects as dietary lycopene or natural supplements.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2007
- Passeportsanté.net. Lycopène. www.passeportsante.net
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
- Health Canada, Natural Products Database
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.