Lycopene is the pigment that gives many fruits and vegetables their red color. Lycopene’s powerful antioxidant action and ability to defend your skin against UV radiation are due in large part to its unique molecular design, which is responsible for lycopene’s red appearance and its ability to block UV light. Though lycopene’s sun protection is only equivalent to approximately SPF-3 and isn’t adequate sun protection by itself, it is still a valuable added benefit for your skin.
- Leticia Rao from the University of Toronto, explained that lycopene’s function as an antioxidant prevents free radicals from disrupting the balance of new bone formation with the bone loss that naturally occurs with age. When that balance is thrown off, bone loss exceeds bone formation, causing the brittle bone disease osteoporosis.
- Another researcher, Dr. Yoav Sharoni of Ben-Gurion University, reported that lycopene had a protective effect against UV skin damage, which suggested a potential inverse connection between lycopene and skin cancer. He explained that while sunscreens provide external protection from damaging UV rays, antioxidants like lycopene in the diet might provide internal protection from sunburn.
- In fact, a study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, examined topically-applied lycopene’s ability to defend against the harmful effects of UVB radiation. It was found that topical application of lycopene suppressed the typical UVB-induced activity of an enzyme called ornithine decarboxylase, an important initiating and rate-controlling factor involved in stabilizing DNA structure in the nucleus of the skin cells as well as maintaining the DNA double strand-break repair pathway.
- The same Mt Sinai study also revealed that UVB radiation depleted an important substance in your skin known as PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen), which is vital for DNA synthesis and cell repair. The topical application of lycopene was found to reverse the reduction of PCNA caused by UVB exposure to a significant degree. In addition, it was shown that lycopene may also protect your skin through its ability to reduce inflammation, encourage cell renewal, and inhibit normal DNA damage following UVB injury.
- Previous research has found that the benefits of lycopene appear to affect parts of the body where lycopene concentration is highest, such as in the prostate gland. New research suggests a potential benefit for bone and skin health, and male infertility.
- Lycopene is an antioxidant which appears to prevent the formation of harmful by-products of metabolism called free radicals. Free radicals are thought to be responsible for damaging the body’s cells, as well as their genetic makeup, leading to certain chronic diseases.
- The lycopene extracted from tomatoes may reduce sun damage by 35%. Pure organic Lycopene extracted from tomatoes is what you need to increase your protection from sun damage. Studies have shown that this phytonutrient neutralizes harmful free radicals created by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
Researchers have currently not found any side effects from lycopene. The bottom line is that it is a beneficial substance for your body. Once you use it, your body gets to work using it as an antioxidant and for whatever else your body needs it for.