Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lycopene: the powerful antioxidant

Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid compound occurring in plants. Lycopene, from the New Latin word lycopersicum is a carotenoid which is found in different fruits and vegetables, which includes: tomatoes, pawpaw, mangoes , watermelon and processed vegetable juices.

It is a fat soluble substance. Epidemiological research studies have demonstrated positive health benefits in consuming food high in lycopene. Lycopene and its analogues may have potent antioxidant properties to protect cells and tissues from oxidative stress and free radicals, and thus contribute to enhancement of immune functions of the body. These antioxidants may also prevent damage to cells and DNA, as well as stimulate the repair of oxidative damage to DNA.

Diets rich in these phytochemicals appear in some studies to lower risk of certain types of cancer, especially cancers of the prostate, lung and stomach, as well as cardiovascular diseases and age-related eye disorders. Lycopene is an acyclic carotenoid with eleven conjugated double bonds and two un-conjugated double bonds.

Lycopene has no provitamin A activity due to the lack of terminal β-ionic ring as the basic structure for vitamin A. Most of the lycopene occurs naturally in all-trans form. The red color of lycopene is mainly due to many conjugated carbon double bonds, as it absorbs more visible spectrum compared to other carotenes.
Lycopene: the powerful antioxidant
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