Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality around the world. Epidemiologic studies suggest that consumption of tomato-based foods may lower CVD risk. Such potential benefits have been ascribed in part to high concentrations of lycopene in the tomatoes.
Intervention trial with healthy middle-aged volunteers to assess whether the consumption of tomato-based foods affects recognized biomarkers of CVD risk.
After a 4-wk run-in period with a low-tomato diet, 225 volunteers (94 men and 131 women) aged 40–65 y were randomly assigned into 1 of 3 dietary intervention groups and asked to consume a control diet (low in tomato-based foods), a high-tomato-based diet, or a control diet supplemented with lycopene capsules (10 mg/d) for 12 wk. Blood samples were collected at baseline, at 6 wk, and after the intervention and were analyzed for carotenoid and lipid profiles and inflammatory markers. Blood pressure, weight, and arterial stiff- ness were also measured. Dietary intake was also determined during the intervention.
Results: None of the systemic markers (inflammatory markers, markers of insulin resistance and sensitivity) changed significantly after the dietary intervention. Moreover, lipid concentrations and arterial stiffness were also unaffected by the interventions.
Conclusion: These data indicate that a relatively high daily consump- tion of tomato-based products (equivalent to 32–50 mg lycopene/d) or lycopene supplements (10 mg/d) is ineffective at reducing con- ventional CVD risk markers in moderately overweight, healthy, middle-aged individuals.
Epidemiologic evidence indicates that high consumption of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic disease such as car-diovascular disease (CVD). The consumption of 7 servings/ wk of tomato-based products has been associated with a 30% reduction in the relative risk of CVD.
Such potential benefits to vascular health from a tomato-rich diet are often ascribed to high concentrations of lycopene, as tomato products can account for .80% of the intake of this ca- rotenoid. The relation between lycopene intake and CVD risk has recently been reviewed and shows that a small majority of studies (57%) found an inverse relation between CVD risk markers and/or CVD incidence.
High lycopene concentrations in blood and adipose tissue correlate with a reduction in CVD in- cidence, and low concentrations are associated with early atherosclerosis and elevated C-reactive protein concentrations. Low arterial intimal wall thickness associated with higher adipose tissue lycopene concentrations suggests a de- creased risk of arterial occlusion.
Serum carotenoids, including lycopene, are inversely correlated with markers of in- flammation and vascular endothelial dysfunction. Corrobo- rative evidence includes an inverse association between neopterin (a marker for cellular immune activation) and serum lycopene concentrations, which suggests that lower serum lycopene concentrations may relate to a higher grade of chronic immune activation—a common feature in cardiovascular disorders. Learn more...