Daily Dose of Lycopene: 30mg
Lycopene is an antioxidant which is a carotenoid pigment found naturally in many fruits and vegetables that have a yellow, red and orange color. Antioxidants help the body fight cell damage that causes tumor growth, cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. When consumed, lycopene travels in the blood and gathers in the liver, adrenal glands, prostate, and colon.
We can find lycopene in significant amounts in tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruits and guava. In North America, about 85% of lycopene is consumed through tomato products. There is over 3mg of lycopene in just one fresh tomato and about 75mg in a cup of tomato paste. Tomatoes have the highest concentration of lycopene and are also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Carotenoids are fat soluble so if you cook a tomato in oil or eat it with a small amount of fat, it can actually increase the amount of lycopene that your body absorbs.
There are many benefits to lycopene, the most notable of which are in preventing prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Ongoing research shows that lycopene may slow the progression of prostate cancer. A study where prostate cancer patients were given 30mg of lycopene a day for 3 weeks showed that there was an increase in cancer cells dying. Patients with cardiovascular disease had lower cholesterol after taking 25mg of lycopene daily, but no significant effects with a lower dosage.
How much lycopene to take depends on many factors like age, health, and other conditions. In general, the recommended dosage is about 2-30mg a day for up to 6 months. It’s always better to consult your health care provider before taking any supplements.
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- [No authors listed] Tomatoes and stroke prevention. New evidence shows lycopene is not just a cancer fighter. Harv Health Lett. 2013 Feb;38(4):4. PMID: 23841168.