Lycopene Dietary Supplement: Tomato Phytonutrients - Reviews
Lycopene is a natural tomato extract standardised to 10% lycopene. Microencapsulated to maximise the lycopene’s bioavailability, it also contains exceptional phytonutrients like tocopherols (natural vitamin E) and beta-carotene (vitamin A precursor).
What exactly is lycopene?
Lycopene is a pigment belonging to the family of non-provitamin A carotenoids. It is a lipophilic compound (which means it has an affinity for fats or lipids) which is primarily found in tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, apricots and papaya. Its concentration is highest, however, in processed tomato products such as tomato purée (16mg per 100g), tomato soup (11mg per 100g) and tomato juice (9mg per 100g).
Our supplement provides 15mg of lycopene per capsule.
What are carotenoids and what is their role in the body?
Carotenoids are highly-coloured, yellow-to-red lipidic molecules, produced exclusively by plants. In addition to lycopene, they include beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and
lutein. These compounds have been recognised by epidemiological studies as nutritionally relevant, particularly the provitamin A activity of beta-carotene.
What happens to lycopene once it’s ingested?
Following ingestion, lycopene is dissolved in lipid droplets from food in the stomach, forming particles called mixed micelles. The lipids and lycopene in these vesicles are then absorbed at the brush border membrane of small intestine cells by passive diffusion (1).
The lycopene is then incorporated into chylomicrons which reach the lymphatic system to be transported to the liver. From there, the lycopene is carried by lipoproteins (VLDL) into plasma then redistributed to various organs, particularly the testicles and adipose tissue which accumulate a certain amount (2).
How should Lycopene be taken on a daily basis?
Lipids (fats) are essential for effective absorption of lycopene. Absorption is significantly improved by the presence of oils or fats in food consumed at the same time as taking the supplement. This simultaneous ingestion of lipids actually stimulates bile flow and the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, enabling the formation of the above-mentioned micelles.
While our supplement offers maximum lycopene bioavailability thanks to the use of microencapsulation technology, it is still a good idea to take two or three capsules a day with food, preferably with the meal of the day highest in polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as omega-3).
Conversely, dietary fibre tends to reduce lycopene bioavailability so it is better not to consume it at the same time as taking your supplement (3).
What are the other complementary supplements?
A number of other supplements can be taken to complement or boost lycopene’s effects: