A new study has linked high lycopene concentrations in the blood to reduced stroke risk in men.
Lycopene is a carotenoid present in human blood and skin as well as the liver, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate and colon. Numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.
Humans obtain dietary lycopene primarily from tomatoes and tomato-based products. Lycopene is also found in apricots, pink grapefruit, guava, guava juice, rose hip puree, palm oil and watermelon. Lycopene as a dietary supplement has become popular recently due to its purported antioxidant properties.
In a new study, researchers analyzed data on 1,031 men 46-65 years-old from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor study. Blood levels of various carotenoids were measured and evaluated to assess potential associations with stroke risk.
During an average follow-up period of 12.1 years, 67 strokes were identified. The researchers found that men with the highest lycopene blood concentrations had a 59 and 55 percent reduced risk of ischemic stroke and any type of stroke, respectively, when compared to those with the lowest concentrations. Other evaluated carotenoid concentrations, including retinol, were not significantly linked to stroke risk.
The authors concluded that increased lycopene intake may reduce stroke risk in men. Additional research is necessary to further evaluate these findings.
In addition to lycopene, many other integrative therapies have been studied for their potential to reduce stroke risk. Several large studies of populations have examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acid intake on stroke risk. Some studies suggest benefits, while others do not. Additionally, there are variable results of studies that have measured the association of vitamin C intake and the risk of stroke. Some studies have reported no benefits, while others report that daily low-dose vitamin C may reduce the risk of death from stroke.
For more information about integrative therapies that may reduce stroke risk, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative EffectivenessDatabase.
For more information about lycopene, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.