High Lycopene Levels in Women Associated with Low Risk of Cardiovascular
MA, 27 January 2004
Source: Vitamin Nutrition Information Service
to a study in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
women with the highest plasma levels of the antioxidant lycopene
had a 34 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared
to women with lower plasma levels of the nutrient . The
study also showed that the women with highest levels of plasma lycopene
were likely to have high values of other beneficial carotenoids
such as lutein/zeaxanthin and alpha- and beta-carotene.
data, as reported by study leader Howard Sesso, ScD, MPH, of the
Harvard School of Public Health, were derived from the ongoing Women's
Health Study. This ongoing, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
trial has been following 40,000 women, who were free from cancer
or CVD at the start of the study, for the past 11 years. After nearly
five years of follow-up, the researchers recorded 483 cases of CVD.
This is the second published report on the association of lycopene
and cardiovascular disease exclusively in women.
in the study were divided into four groups, in order of increasing
plasma lycopene levels. Researchers then reviewed the data for associations
with the presence of cardiovascular disease. The 34 percent reduction
was found in the women in the top two quartersthose with plasma
lycopene levels higher than the study population average. In addition,
after excluding women with angina, those with plasma lycopene values
in the top three quarters had a 50 percent reduced risk of CVD.
Women in the second quarter were still 22 percent less likely to
develop CVD than women in the first quarter, who had the lowest
plasma lycopene values.
to the data, consumption of more dietary lycopene is significantly
related to higher plasma lycopene levels. Women with the highest
plasma lycopene values (greater than or equal to 21.0 ug/dl) were
consuming nearly 10 milligrams (mg) (plus/minus 6 mg) of lycopene
report follows another publication from July 2003 in which Dr. Sesso
reported in the Journal of Nutrition that women with the
highest intake of lycopene-rich tomato-based foods had a reduced
risk for CVD compared to women with low intake of those foods .
a larger group of studies have found similar promising results in
terms of heart disease, though they did not focus on women alone.
European Study of Antioxidants, Myocardial Infarction and Cancer
of the Breast (EURAMIC) studied adipose tissue for lycopene
concentration and risk for CVD in men. EURAMIC found that men
with the highest levels of lycopene in their adipose tissue
were 48 percent less likely to develop CVD .
The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor study found that
low serum lycopene levels were associated with increased risk
of heart attack and stroke.
intake of lycopene has been directly associated with lycopene levels
found in plasma . Half of the American population is getting
3.6 mg or less of lycopene per day .
disease includes high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, myocardial
infarction, angina, congestive heart failure and stroke .
Thirty-two million women have some form of CVD as compared to 30
million men. One in five males and females has some form of CVD.
about the study
view the abstract of this study, visit the website of the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition: www.ajcn.org.
H, et al. Plasma lycopene, other carotenoids, and retinol and
the risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr
2004; 79: 47-53
H, et al. Dietary lycopene, tomato-based food products, and
cardiovascular disease in women. J Nutr 2003; 133(7):2336-41.
L, et al. Lycopene and myocardial infarction risk in the EURAMIC
study. Am J Epidemiol 1997; 146:618-26.
TH, et al. Serum lycopene concentrations and carotid atherosclerosis:
the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin
Nutr 2003; 77:133-8.
ST, et al. Plasma lycopene concentrations in humans are determined
by lycopene intake, plasma cholesterol concentrations and selected
demographic factors. J Nutr 1999; 129: 849-54.
Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. CSFII
1994-96. Food Surveys Research Group Home Page. www.sun.arsrin.gov/ars/Beltsville/barc/bhnrc/foodsurvey/home.
Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update
- 2003. Dallas TX: American Heart Association; 2002. (C)2002,
American Heart Association.
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