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    Lycopene is a symmetrical tetraterpene, i.e. put together from 8 isoprene systems. It is a member of the carotenoid household of compounds, and because it consists totally of carbon and hydrogen, is likewise classified as a carotene. Seclusion treatments for lycopene were first reported in 1910, and the structure of the molecule was identified by 1931. In its natural, all-trans kind, the particle is long and straight, constrained by its system of 11 conjugated double bonds. Each extension in this conjugated system minimizes the energy needed for electrons to shift to greater energy states, permitting the molecule to absorb noticeable light of progressively longer wavelengths. Lycopene takes in all but the longest wavelengths of noticeable light, so it appears red.

    Plants and photosynthetic bacteria naturally produce all-trans lycopene. When exposed to light or heat, lycopene can go through isomerization to any of a number of cis-isomers, which have a bent rather than direct shape. Various isomers were revealed to have different stabilities due to their molecular energy (highest stability: 5-cis ≥ all-trans ≥ 9-cis ≥ 13-cis > > 15-cis > 7-cis > > 11-cis: lowest). In human blood, different cis-isomers constitute more than 60% of the overall lycopene concentration, however the biological effects of private isomers have actually not been examined.

    Lycopene is a crucial intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids.

    Carotenoids like lycopene are found in photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes in plants, photosynthetic germs, fungis, and algae. They are responsible for the intense orange– red colors of vegetables and fruits, perform different functions in photosynthesis, and secure photosynthetic organisms from excessive light damage. Lycopene is an essential intermediate in the biosynthesis of carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and xanthophylls.

    Dispersed lycopene molecules can be encapsulated into carbon nanotubes enhancing their optical properties. Efficient energy transfer occurs in between the encapsulated dye and nanotube– light is absorbed by the dye and without substantial loss is transferred to the nanotube. Encapsulation increases chemical and thermal stability of lycopene particles; it likewise enables their isolation and individual characterization.


    The unconditioned biosynthesis of lycopene in eukaryotic plants and in prokaryotic cyanobacteria is comparable, as are the enzymes included. [4] Synthesis starts with mevalonic acid, which is converted into dimethylallyl pyrophosphate. This is then condensed with 3 molecules of isopentenyl pyrophosphate (an isomer of dimethylallyl pyrophosphate), to offer the 20-carbon geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. 2 particles of this product are then condensed in a tail-to-tail configuration to offer the 40-carbon phytoene, the very first committed step in carotenoid biosynthesis. Through numerous desaturation actions, phytoene is converted into lycopene. The two terminal isoprene groups of lycopene can be cyclized to produce beta-carotene, which can then be changed into a wide range of xanthophylls. [2]


    Strong Antioxidant Residences

    Lycopene is an antioxidant in the carotenoid household.

    Antioxidants safeguard your body from damage caused by compounds known as totally free radicals.

    When totally free extreme levels outnumber antioxidant levels, they can produce oxidative tension in your body. This stress is linked to specific persistent diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart problem and Alzheimer’s.

    Research shows that lycopene’s antioxidant homes can assist keep complimentary extreme levels in balance, safeguarding your body against some of these conditions.

    In addition, test-tube and animal studies reveal that lycopene may secure your body against damage brought on by pesticides, herbicides, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and certain kinds of fungis.


    Lycopene is a strong anti-oxidant that can protect your body against oxidative tension and use some protection from certain ecological contaminants and chronic diseases.

    May Protect Against Specific Types of Cancer

    Lycopene’s strong antioxidant action might avoid or slow down the progression of some types of cancer.

    For example, test-tube research studies reveal that the nutrient may slow down the growth of breast and prostate cancers by restricting tumor development.

    Animal studies further report that it may avoid the growth of cancer cells in the kidneys.

    In human beings, observational research studies connect high consumptions of carotenoids, including lycopene, to a 32– 50% lower risk of lung and prostate cancers.

    A 23-year research study in more than 46,000 males looked at the link in between lycopene and prostate cancer in more information.

    Guy who took in at least 2 portions of lycopene-rich tomato sauce per week were 30% less likely to establish prostate cancer than those who consumed less than one serving of tomato sauce each month.

    However, a current evaluation of 26 research studies found more moderate outcomes. Researchers linked high lycopene consumption to a 9% lower probability of developing prostate cancer. Daily consumption of 9– 21 mg each day appeared most helpful.


    Diet plans rich in the antioxidant lycopene might help avoid the development of prostate cancer. It may also protect versus cancers of the lungs, breasts and kidneys, however more human-based research study is needed to validate this.

    May Promote Heart Health

    Lycopene might likewise assist decrease your threat of developing or too soon dying from cardiovascular disease.

    That remains in part due to the fact that it might minimize cardiovascular disease risk factors. More specifically, it may minimize free-radical damage, total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increase “excellent” HDL cholesterol.

    High blood levels of lycopene might also add years to the lives of people with metabolic syndrome– a mix of health conditions that can result in heart problem.

    Over a 10-year duration, scientists kept in mind that people with metabolic illness who had the greatest blood lycopene levels had up to a 39% lower danger of passing away prematurely.

    In another 10-year study, diets rich in this nutrient were linked to a 17– 26% lower danger of heart problem. A recent review further associates high blood levels of lycopene with a 31% lower threat of stroke.

    Lycopene’s protective results appear especially beneficial to those with low blood antioxidant levels or high levels of oxidative stress. This consists of older grownups and people who smoke or have diabetes or heart problem.


    Lycopene’s strong antioxidant homes might help improve cholesterol levels and decrease your possibility of developing or dying too soon from heart disease.

    Might Protect Versus Sunburn

    Lycopene likewise appears to use some protection versus the harmful impacts of the sun.

    In one little 12-week research study, individuals were exposed to UV rays before and after consuming either 16 mg of lycopene from tomato paste or a placebo. Individuals in the tomato paste group had less severe skin reactions to the UV direct exposure.

    In another 12-week research study, daily intake of 8– 16 mg of lycopene, either from food or supplements, helped reduce the intensity of skin inflammation following direct exposure to UV rays by 40– 50%.

    In this study, supplements providing a mix of lycopene and other carotenoids were more effective versus UV damage than those supplying lycopene alone.

    That stated, lycopene’s defense versus UV damage is restricted and not considered a great replacement for using sun block.


    Lycopene might assist increase your skin’s defense against sunburns and damage triggered by UV rays. Nevertheless, it is no replacement for sun block.

    Other Prospective Advantages

    Lycopene might also provide a range of other health advantages– the best-researched ones consist of:.

    Might assist your eyesight: Lycopene might prevent or postpone the development of cataracts and minimize your risk of macular degeneration, the leading reason for blindness in older grownups.

    May decrease discomfort: Lycopene may help in reducing neuropathic pain, a kind of discomfort triggered by nerve and tissue damage.

    Might protect your brain: Lycopene’s antioxidant homes might help prevent seizures and memory loss experienced in age-related illness, such as Alzheimer’s.

    May add to stronger bones: Lycopene’s antioxidant action may slow down the death of bone cells, reinforce bone architecture and help keep bones healthy and strong.

    So far, most of these benefits have actually only been observed in test-tube and animal research study. More research studies in human beings are required prior to strong conclusions can be made.


    Lycopene may help reduce sensations of pain and have advantageous impacts on your eyes, brain and bones. More research studies, particularly in human beings, are needed to validate these results. [3]

    Which 5 foods are rich in lycopene?

    Carrots, tomatoes, and pumpkins are excellent sources of lycopene.

    The best sources of lycopene are red-fleshed foods. These lycopene-rich foods are also jammed loaded with other nutrients that supply a variety of other health benefits.

    Tomato. This is the most widely known source of lycopene! Cooked tomatoes tend to supply the highest amounts of bioavailable lycopene. Tomato items like sauces and catsup might provide more in weight, but the majority of people don’t consume a large amount on their meals relative to eating an entire tomato. Another terrific method to acquire the lycopene gain from tomatoes is with a scrumptious tomato soup. Alternative that for clam chowder any day!

    Pumpkin. Not just is the meat or pulp of the Pumpkin abundant in lycopene, but the seeds include their own advantages as well! Their seeds include tryptophan, vital fatty acids, and antioxidant phytonutrients that assist support bladder and prostate health.

    Watermelon. This sweet fruit is a terrific source of lycopene and an even better healthy low-calorie snack.

    Carrots. Carrots are a few of the most carotenoid-rich foods. Red carrots are the greatest in lycopene and likewise contain even greater quantities of beta-carotene together with some alpha-carotene (for this reason their eponymous name).

    Papaya. What used to be a considered a rare and exotic fruit is now a popular grocery store discover. Papaya is packed filled with free-radical fighting carotenoids beyond lycopene, such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene. They also contain papain, an enzyme that promotes food digestion. Look out for papayas next you go grocery shopping!

    Is lycopene found in tomatoes?

    That’s right! In fact, tomatoes are the most commonly eaten food that’s lycopene-rich.

    What fruit has the most lycopene?

    Prepared tomatoes, obviously!

    Does cooking destroy lycopene?

    Cooking at heats may trigger a loss of particular advantageous nutrients from your food, consisting of vitamins and antioxidants. However, certain heating methods have actually been shown to improve the bioavailability of lycopene in tomatoes. Although this might be mystical natural chemistry, lycopene in nature remains in its all-trans chemical type, and this is not readily bioavailable. Heating tomatoes has actually been shown to produce the more of the bioavailable cis-lycopene.

    In fact, in a meta-analysis published in Nature that included numerous kinds of studies such as randomized placebo-controlled trials and case-control studies, usage of tomato foods, prepared tomatoes, and sauces were related to a healthy prostate, whereas usage of raw tomatoes was not connected with a statistically significant enhancement.

    Keep in mind: Research study is needed to assess how different cooking approaches might affect lycopene bioavailability in other foods.

    How cooking tomatoes changes lycopene bioavailability

    Sundried tomatoes are a fantastic way to get lycopene.

    When it comes to how your body uses the lycopene that remains in your food, how it’s ready really matters. Some fascinating facts:.

    Slow & & low for the win. Sundried tomatoes, which are sluggish prepared at a low temperature level, have much better lycopene bioavailability than fresh or canned tomatoes.

    Add some EVOO. Cooking oils make a difference, too. One research study revealed that lycopene level in human plasma is increased further upon consuming tomatoes cooked with olive oil compared to being cooked without this healthy fat.

    Good news and bad news about tomato sauce. Tomato paste and sauce are made using a commercial approach called thermal processing. These tomato products have more bioavailable lycopene than a fresh tomato, but the thermal processing deteriorates particular kinds of vitamins A, C, and E. One study showed that despite this, the thermal processing leads to greater total antioxidant activity compared to fresh tomatoes.

    Word to the wise: Eating foods cooked vs. raw

    If you’re amazed that cooked tomatoes are a better source of lycopene than this fruit in the raw, you’re not alone! Cooked tomatoes might be an exception to conventional wisdom which recommends that consuming specific foods raw is healthier than cooking these foods because cooking might produce particular undesirable chemical reactions.

    Applying heat to food creates AGEs (sophisticated glycation end-products). Low-heat cooking approaches such as poaching and steaming are safe due to the fact that they result in minimal AGE development, whereas high heat cooking such as barbecuing and frying causes potentially impactful levels of AGE’s.

    As always, small amounts is essential! Some heating techniques produce bioavailable lycopene in tomatoes, however there’s no need to limit yourself to just eating cooked tomatoes or tomato products. Attempt some ready-to-serve fresh tomatoes every now and then. [4]

    Few more sources that you may not know

    Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potatoes are currently known for being exceptional sources of vitamin A, fiber, and contributing to glowing skin, but they’re also great sources of lycopene. They can work as an excellent post-workout snack, a side meal (sweet potato french fries all the time, please), or added to a coconut curry meal.

    Pink grapefruit

    Half of a grapefruit includes around 2 milligrams of lycopene and is also thought about a terrific source of vitamin C. We love how flexible pink grapefruits are; they can be added to both sweet and savory meals or utilized in drinks like the revitalizing mocktail dish below. They can also be used to make frozen desserts, salads, or on their own for an early morning snack.

    Blood oranges

    Unlike standard oranges, blood oranges have a floral or tart flavor and a darker color due to its lycopene content. This is likewise an example of a food that can work well in a range of dishes, from a citrus salad or salmon marinade to shakes and homemade popsicles.


    Guava is a tasty tropical fruit with a yellow or light green skin and crimson or pink fresh. According to Iu, this powerful fruit includes over 5 milligrams of lycopene per 100 grams, and consists of vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3s. You can choose to eat guava by itself or included into a nice glaze for meats.

    Red bell peppers

    Red bell peppers are super versatile and can be added to practically any meal, from tofu scrambles and avocado toast to sandwiches, covers, and grain bowls. In addition to containing lycopene, they’re likewise considered a hydrating snack thinking about bell peppers are 92 percent water. [5]

    Rose Hips

    Here’s a less predictable choice for lycopene. Rose hips are a type of accessory fruit from roses. The increased hips develop after roses have been pollinated and can be discovered just under the petals.

    Rose hips are often utilized to make maintains and organic tea. There are some more uncommon uses too, such as rose hip bread, soup, and wine. You can even eat the fruit raw, as long as you avoid all the hairs inside the rose hip.

    The lycopene material is one factor to consume rose hips, as they are remarkably remarkable. You even get more lycopene in a cup of rose hips than you carry out in a cup of cooked tomatoes.

    Regular Grapefruit

    While pink grapefruit is greater in lycopene, other kinds of grapefruit still use some of the substance, which gives you more flexibility when selecting your fruit.

    The problems with grapefruit and medication remain the exact same regardless of the type of grapefruit that you choose. So, once again, talk to your medical professional if you have any concerns.


    Asparagus may appear like the odd one out on this list, as the veggie is green. The quantity of lycopene in a serving isn’t remarkable either. You just navigate 50 μg in a cup of cooked asparagus. You would require to eat an extreme quantity of asparagus to get anywhere near to the levels in the fruits we’ve included– and that isn’t a recommended practice.

    Asparagus can still be considered lycopene rich due to the ratio of lycopene to calories. Since asparagus is low in calories, you wind up with around 270 μg of lycopene per 200 calories.

    This suggests that you can quickly utilize asparagus to include a little lycopene to your diet plan. Doing so could be perfect if you are carefully viewing your calorie intake.

    Red Cabbage

    Red cabbage shows a comparable pattern to asparagus. It is reasonably low in lycopene, but is low in calories too. These two functions balance each other out well, leaving you with a veggie that’s a good addition to any diet plan.

    Besides, red cabbage does use numerous other advantageous compounds, including vitamin C and other antioxidants.


    Persimmons are another slightly unusual kind of fruit. They’re popular enough, but may not have actually been something that you grew up consuming. Fuyu persimmons remain the most popular kind of persimmon.

    These have orange-red colored fresh and tend to be non-astringent. The terms recommends that the persimmons are free from tannins, however that concept isn’t strictly precise. Instead, non-astringent persimmons include fewer tannins than the astringent varieties and lose their tannins faster.

    Because of this, Fuyu persimmons can be eaten when they’re firm and are still edible even once they become soft. Astringent persimmons, on the other hand, need to be quite soft when they are eaten.

    The lycopene content in an entire Fuyu persimmon is only around 260 μg, so the fruit isn’t as lycopene abundant as some of the other entries on this list. Still, you are getting some lycopene and there isn’t a recommended everyday intake for the compound anyway.

    So, if you take pleasure in the taste of persimmons or just wish to attempt something different, why not give them a try?

    Many Soups

    The lycopene material of tomatoes implies that soups frequently wind up being rich in lycopene too. Minestrone is one example, as the soup tends to use a tomato-based broth. Even canned minestrone from the supermarket will include a decent quantity of lycopene– although soup you make yourself will always be better.

    And, of course, any type of tomato soup will provide you plenty of lycopene. Tomato soup even ends up being one of your finest options because of the quantity of tomato you’re using for the serving size.

    Pasta With Marinara Sauce

    Marinara sauce heavily depends on tomatoes too, so any pasta meal with this type of sauce is naturally high in lycopene. This technique works well, as many various recipes depend on a marinara base and after that make their own variations.

    You don’t need to stick to pasta either. You could quickly alternative to a low carb pasta option, like zoodles or spaghetti squash.


    Depending on how you make them, hamburgers can offer you with lycopene too. After all, you’re often utilizing chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce as ingredients, which are both high in lycopene. You could try adding some sliced red peppers in also. [6]

    How much lycopene is too much?

    Lycopene isn’t toxic and there aren’t any damaging impacts associated with its consumption. Currently, there’s no tolerable upper intake level (UL) for lycopene, however proof reveals that intakes of as much as 75 mg/day are safeSource: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

    This being said, if you’re eating a great deal of lycopene-rich foods, you may discover your skin turning an orange-red tint. This condition is called lycopenemia and although it’s harmless, it’s most likely not the appearance you desire. Lycopenemia can be brought on by lycopene or other carotenoids in your diet plan– e.g. alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein or zeaxanthin. It’s tough to state just how much lycopene will trigger lycopenemia, but the few recorded cases point out consumptions such as 2 litres of tomato juice daily for two years or eating one and a half papayas daily for 6 months. So, unless your diet is extreme and/or lacks variety, you shouldn’t fret excessive about reddening. [7]

    Health Dangers

    Lycopene is considered safe and there are no recognized ceilings suggested for its consumption.

    Nevertheless, some cases of exceptionally high lycopene consumption have resulted in slight skin staining. One case study reported that a woman who drank about 2 liters of tomato juice daily over numerous years developed an orange tint to her skin. This concern is only short-term, nevertheless. After minimizing her lycopene consumption, the lady’s skin discoloration faded in a couple of weeks.

    While research study is ongoing, there are not presently any recognized negative adverse effects connected with taking lycopene. However, high levels of lycopene might not be suitable for:.

    • Individuals with low blood pressure
    • People with stomach ulcers
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding females
    • People taking medication for heart disease, cancer, or skin problem
    • Individuals utilizing hormone treatment
    • Talk with your medical professional prior to altering your diet to ensure lycopene is safe for you and won’t engage with medications you take. [8]


    Know that lycopene competes with other carotenoids for absorption into the gut.

    Therefore, taking a lycopene supplement with lutein, beta-carotene, or another carotenoid supplement, might lead to reduced absorption. Other supplements, such as calcium, can also lower absorption.

    Antiplatelets: Lycopene might inhibit blood clot, which might increase the risk of bleeding throughout and after surgical treatment. Use caution when utilizing lycopene with other medications, including herbal preparations and plant-based medications.

    Anorectic drugs: Theoretically, drugs that decrease food usage (anorectic drugs) in general might decrease lycopene consumption.

    Lipase inhibitors: Lipase inhibitors, which decrease fat absorption, might likewise impact your body’s ability to absorb lycopene.

    How to Store Lycopene

    Lycopene needs to be stored at space temperature and away from direct sunlight. A lot of containers block ultraviolet (UV) light to secure the supplement from damage.

    Similar Supplements

    Supplements comparable to lycopene include:.

    Beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are carotenoids and antioxidants like lycopene.24 However, they are discovered in different foods. For instance, beta-carotene is widely known for giving carrots their orange color and is likewise found in sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and many other foods. lutein and zeaxanthin are generally discovered in dark green vegetables.

    Beta-carotene is really converted into another antioxidant, vitamin A, in the body.25 vitamin A can normally be found in the very same foods as beta-carotene. Vitamins E and C are likewise typical antioxidants in our diet. Vitamin E, likewise known as tocopherol, is found in a range of foods, including almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, and tomatoes. vitamin C is popular for its presence in citrus fruits however is also in tomatoes and numerous other foods. [9]

    The bottom line

    • Lycopene is an antioxidant that belongs to the carotenoid group. It’s found in high amounts in red and pink fruits, along with dietary supplements.
    • Lycopene has revealed blood pressure-lowering impacts and diets abundant in lycopene have been connected with lower danger of some kinds of cancer. It may likewise have advantages for skin protection.
    • There is no official suggested day-to-day consumption for lycopene. Average intake in the United States is approximated to be about 2 milligrams of lycopene per day, which is about the quantity found in a 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes.
    • Lycopene in the quantities found in plant sources is thought to be safe for everybody. Particular groups, like individuals on blood-thinning or high blood pressure medications and pregnant females, need to avoid utilizing lycopene from dietary supplements. [10]



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