Lycopene, a health-boosting antioxidant in tomatoes known to reduce prostate cancer risks, may help individuals with metabolic disorders live healthier, longer lives, according to new research out of the University of Nebraska.
Metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes high blood sugar, high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels — boosts the risk of death from heart attack and stroke.
Scientists believe increased oxidative stress and inflammation may play an important role in the high mortality of individuals with metabolic syndrome. Building on past studies that have suggested that lycopene might reduce oxidative stress and decreased inflammation, the Nebraska researchers assessed data from the long-running National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for evidence that the compound reduces mortality among individuals with metabolic syndrome.
The study, published in the journal Nutrition Research, evaluated the blood concentrations of lycopene in 2,499 participants with metabolic syndrome, 20 years and older.
The findings indicated the “mean survival time was significantly higher in the group with the highest serum lycopene concentration,” while individuals with low levels of the compound were most at risk for early death.
“The data suggest that higher serum lycopene concentration has a significant association with the reduced risk of mortality among individuals with metabolic syndrome,” the researchers concluded.
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