“A single pill containing a chemical found in tomato skin could cut the risk of stroke and heart attacks and slow the progression of cancer, scientists have claimed.” So ran a front-page story in the Daily Telegraph several days ago.
This prominent story reports on preliminary results of a trial presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association.
This is hugely exciting research and well done to the Telegraph to highlight such an important health story. (link to article at the bottom).
This research really is potentially very significant – the story has the following comment:
“David Fitzmaurice, professor of primary care clinical sciences at Birmingham University, said: “If this modified Lycopene really does have an effect on endothelial function, then it could have a beneficial effect on virtually every inflammatory disease process, including things like arthritis or diabetes.”
Honing in on one part of the professors statement that is of particular excitement “..every inflammatory disease process” – so possibly this nutrient could have a positive impact in fighting literally all diseases?
I am not trying to take the professor’s comments out of context or over-glamorise them. I am simply one of many people in the industry of nutrition/ science/ research who sees a growing body of reputable research, going back a number of years, which gives clear indications as to the potential health benefits for natural nutrients such as Lycopene.
So, some very exciting research and we look forward to an update on this. However one great source of frustration is that at Cytoplan we have been ‘banging on’ about Lycopene knowing it has this potential benefit for 7 years (and offering a suitable Lycopene supplement). The frustration is that after the recent claims legislation EFSA won’t let any claims be made for this natural nutrient. There is such a huge dichotomy between what is real and what is allowed.
The wider issue is of how tied our hands are even in the face of credible research. Tied in the sense of giving the public the right information to help them make informed and educated decisions as to what foods and nutritional supplements may be of benefit to them.
Lycopene is a beneficial carotenoid that imparts red colour to tomatoes, guava, rosehip, watermelon and pink grapefruit. Importantly research has shown that Lycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body if processed into juice, sauce, paste and ketchup. The concentration of Lycopene in the body tissues tends to be higher than all other carotenoids and in our body Lycopene is deposited in liver, lungs, prostate, colon and skin tissue, where it is profoundly protective.