Lycopene is a pigment that helps give red fruits and vegetables their color. It has attracted scientific attention due to its effects as a natural antioxidant. Studies have shown that this pigment has potent anticancer properties, reduces stress and helps prevent muscular injury and inflammation.



Lycopene is a common carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables.

Carotenoids are compounds that give fruits and vegetables their red, orange, and/or yellow color.

They are commonly found in tomatoes, apricots, cranberries, grapes, grapefruits, guava, papayas, peaches, and watermelons.

Lycopenes are not essential for humans but are usually incorporated into the diet.

It has antioxidant properties and has claimed anti-cancer properties.

It can be taken as a supplement, but too much lycopene can lead to skin discoloration.

Health Benefits of Lycopene


1) Lycopene is an Anti-inflammatory and Protects Against Injury

In rats, lycopene protects from lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury by reducing inflammation (R).

In rodents, it can protect from depression-like behaviors and brain cell injury by reducing lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation (R).

Treatment with this carotenoid may protect against muscle injury and inflammation in mice (R).

2) Lycopene Prevents Liver Damage


In rats, lycopene reduced furan- and diabetes-induced toxicity in the rat liver (R).

In ferrets, it reduced tobacco-associated nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cancer (R).

Lycopene treatment improves normal blood levels after being fed a high-fat diet in rats with a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (R).

In male rats, it could reverse hyperhomocysteinemia, which demonstrates hepatoprotective effects (R).

3) Lycopene Helps Prevent Stress

Lycopene can preserve sperm functionality and prevent sperm mutations caused by oxidative stress due to its antioxidant properties (R).

In mice, it may reduce hypoxia by preventing endoplasmic reticulum stress and relieving any stress-induced cell death (R).

Lactococcus lactis, an important bacteria in dairy products, become more resistant to UV stress when combined with lycopene-related genes (R).

When combined with sodium valproate it reduced seizures and oxidative stress in mice (R).

In rats, daily supplementation of lycopene and gabapentin reversed hyperalgesia, cold hyperalgesia, and reduced oxidative stress (R).

4) Lycopene Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth


In human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma lines, lycopene prevents rapid cell growth and cellular invasion (R).

There is an increase in bco2 expression, a gene which acts as a tumor suppressor in prostate cancer (R).

5) Lycopene May Help Protect the Skin


In humans, lycopene supplementation may protect skin against UV effects (R).

6) Lycopene May Help Reduce Intestinal Damage


In patients with chronic bacterial prostatitis, a combination of lycopene + bromelain, serenoa repens, selenium, and methylsulfonylmethane extracts improved the efficacy of levofloxacin (R).

In patients with ulcerative colitis, it may reduce fecal blood, mucus, and pus (R).

7) Lycopene is Neuroprotective


In rats, lycopene reduced spinal cord injury by promoting the repair of the blood-spinal cord barrier (Rand reduces neuropathic pain by increasing spinal astrocytic connexin 43 gene expression (R).

Lycopene reduced learning and memory impairments and prevented dendritic spine density reduction caused by high-fat diets in rats (R).

8) Lycopene Helps Restore Vitamin A Deficiency

In mice, lycopene supplementation restores vitamin A deficiency (R).


  • In patients with ulcerative colitis, lycopene did not reduce abdominal pain (R).
  • In an analysis of 3 studies, lycopene may not prevent prostate cancer as previously claimed (R) and was not associated with colorectal cancer risk (R).
  • Lycopene may cause low blood pressure, increase the risk of bleeding and interfere with estrogen/hormone therapies and chemotherapy medications (R) (R).
  • It may also cause anorexia, chest pain, diarrhea, stomach pressure, gassiness, indigestion, nausea, skin discoloration, and vomiting (R).

Leave a Reply