Lycopene is a type of carotenoid, a molecule found in foods like tomatoes that acts as an antioxidant and gives certain fruits their color.
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Studies are inconsistent but show that supplementation with lycopene may have effects on urinary function.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about any side effects you experience.
What is lycopene?
Lycopene is a natural pigment molecule that can be found in plants. It is classified as a carotenoid and it gives plants a bright red color. More specifically, it is classified as a nonprovitamin A carotenoid, meaning it doesn’t act like vitamin A in the body (as opposed to other carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which are converted to retinol). In addition to giving plants their color, lycopene acts as an antioxidant and protects cells against damage. It is suspected that lycopene might also influence the immune system and prevent the mutation of cells, a process that can lead to cancer (2).
Lycopene is most frequently consumed in food. It can be found naturally in tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, guava, goji berries, and other red fruits. It is also found in tomato products, such as tomato sauce. Tomatoes and tomato products account for the majority of lycopene in the average diet.
What are the health benefits of lycopene?
Lycopene has antioxidant activity in the body and is involved in several chemical reactions on a cellular level. Because of this, researchers suspect that lycopene may be helpful in a number of health conditions, including treating asthma, preventing and treating cancer, decreasing heart disease, and improving macular degeneration.
- Asthma: In one small study, participants who had received 30 mg per day of lycopene for one week had improved exercise-induced asthma (4).
- Cancer: Various studies have found an association between lycopene consumption and a reduced risk of lung, gastric, and breast cancers (2).
- Cardiovascular disease: One review of studies found that higher lycopene consumption was associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke (6).
- Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is a type of central vision loss that can occur as someone ages. In a limited population, levels of carotenoids in the body have been found to have an inverse relationship with the likelihood of developing age-related macular degeneration (7).
Lycopene also has the following health benefits, which is why it was chosen to be an ingredient in the Roman Dailies:
Studies have looked into the effects of lycopene on urinary function. In one study, patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were given 15 mg per day of lycopene for six months. The study found that urinary function improved more in the study group than in the control group (5).
What doses of lycopene have been studied?
Nutritional supplements, like lycopene, are not reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. The effective daily dose can therefore only be estimated based on what has been tested in studies. One of the meta-analyses that looked at the connection between lycopene and prostate cancer included studies that had doses ranging from 3–21 mg per day (1).
In what forms is lycopene available?
Lycopene is available as a supplement. However, it is more commonly consumed in foods, particularly in tomatoes or tomato products.
How does Roman offer lycopene?
Roman obtains lycopene from a non-GMO source in India that makes it synthetically. It is Kosher.
Roman offers lycopene in the following supplements:
Lycopene is one of four main ingredients in Roman’s Prostate Health supplement. The supplement consists of one tablet that should be taken with water. The tablet contains 20 mg of lycopene.
Other ingredients in the tablet include beta-sitosterol, Pygeum africanum bark extract, L-selenomethionine, dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, and pharmaceutical glaze (shellac, povidone). The Prostate Health supplement contains soy and should not be consumed by anybody with a soy allergy.
What are the side effects of taking lycopene?
There is a lack of information regarding the safety of supplementing with lycopene. Potential adverse effects include low blood pressure, increased risk of bleeding, and gastrointestinal issues (3).
There have been reports of lycopenaemia, a condition in which the skin turns orange after eating large amounts of lycopene-rich foods (2).
Does lycopene interact with any other drugs?
In one study on animals, a reaction was noted between lycopene and alcohol (2). In humans, lycopene is not known to have any drug interactions.
Women do not have a prostate and it is unclear what effects Roman’s Prostate Health supplement would have if taken by a woman.
Roman’s Prostate Health supplement contains soy and should not be consumed by anybody with a soy allergy.
- Chen P, Zhang W, Wang X, Zhao K, Negi DS, Zhuo L, Qi M, Wang X, Zhang X. Lycopene and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medicine. 2015;94(33)e1260. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000001260.
- Lycopene. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/lycopene. Published December 18, 2018. Accessed November 15, 2019.
- NCCIH. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. http://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/BPH-science. Published June 2016. Accessed November 15, 2019.
- Neuman I, Nahum H, Ben-Amotz A. Reduction of exercise-induced asthma oxidative stress by lycopene, a natural antioxidant. Allergy. 2000;55(12):1184-1189. doi:10.1034/j.1398-9995.2000.00748.x.
- Schwarz S, Obermüller-Jevic Ute C., Hellmis E, Koch W, Jacobi Günther, Biesalski H-K. Lycopene Inhibits Disease Progression in Patients with Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. The Journal of Nutrition. 2008;138(1):49-53. doi:10.1093/jn/138.1.49.
- Song B, Liu K, Gao Y, et al. Lycopene and risk of cardiovascular diseases: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2017;61(9):1601009. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201601009.
- Zhou H, Zhao X, Johnson EJ, et al. Serum Carotenoids and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Chinese Population Sample. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2011;52(7):4338. doi:10.1167/iovs.10-6519.