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LYCOPENE

Lycopene, a natural carotenoid pigment found in fruit, vegetables, algae, and fungi, is responsible for red and pink color. At first glance, lycopene brings the mind tomato. Tomato and tomato-derived products are the primary sources of lycopene. Besides, grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, and apricots are some other lycopene-contain foods.


Fruits and vegetables might have different lycopene content because of varying plant types, growing conditions, harvesting, and agricultural techniques. 


Processed tomato products such as tomato juice, soup, pasta, ketchup, and sauce are widely used in the kitchen. Processed foods often have more presented lycopene content than fresh food due to water loss over the processing. Moreover, it is thought that cooking the tomato allows us to take more benefits from lycopene. It is said that processed tomato products increase bioavailability and reduce oxidative stress compared to raw (fresh) products.


Consumption of lipids and lycopene together allows better carotenoid dissolution and subsequent absorption. For example, lycopene is more efficiently absorbed when tomato juice is warmed with supplemented lipids.


Lycopene is commercially obtained from Blakeslea trispora. Synthetic lycopene, synthesized for use as food color and food additive, is formed as a red to dark purple crystalline powder. It cannot dissolve in water. Food categories in which lycopene would be used include baked goods, breakfast cereals, dairy products including frozen dairy desserts, dairy product analogs, spreads, bottled water, carbonated beverages, fruit and vegetable juices, soybean beverages, candy, soups, salad dressings, and other foods and beverages (Olempska-Beer, 2005).


Supplements are an alternative for lycopene intake. However, they are not as beneficial as much as foods, and it is not advised to be used by everybody.


The question "why should people take lycopene to their body?" might come to mind. Lycopene offers protection against chemical toxins like mycotoxins, pesticides and herbicides. Furthermore, carotenoids have  antioxidant effects in the human body so they reduce the risk of cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that there is "no credible evidence to support an association between lycopene intake and a reduced risk of prostate, lung, colorectal, gastric, breast, ovarian, endometrial or pancreatic cancer." Still, the FDA found "minimal evidence to support an association between tomato consumption and reduced risks of prostate, ovarian, gastric, and pancreatic cancers'' (Kavanaugh et al. 2007).


In conclusion, lycopene can be taken with a variety of foods and alternatives. Like other carotenoids, it supports human body functions in a way.

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CONTENT: Melisa GÜÇLÜ

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REFERENCES

Clinton, S. K. (2009). Lycopene: Chemistry, Biology, and Implications for Human Health and Disease. Nutrition Reviews,56(2), 35-51. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.1998.tb01691.x

Gökbulut, A., & ŞARER, E. (2008). Karotenoitler ve sağlık. Ankara Universitesi Eczacilik Fakultesi Dergisi, 37(3), 235-256. doi:10.1501/eczfak_000000050

HOPANCI BIÇAKLI, D., & USLU, R. (2012). Lycopene and cancer. Turkish Journal of Oncology, 27(2), 93-97. doi:10.5505/tjoncol.2012.354

Olempska-Beerhttp, Z. (2005). LYCOPENE (SYNTHETIC) CHEMICAL AND TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT (CTA). Retrieved October 21, 2020.

SÖNMEZ, Kenan & Ellialtioglu, Sebnem. (2014). Domates, karotenoidler ve bunları etkileyen faktörler üzerine bir inceleme. Derim. 31. 107. 10.16882/derim.2014.32662. 

Story, E. N., Kopec, R. E., Schwartz, S. J., & Harris, G. K. (2010). An update on the health effects of tomato lycopene. Annual review of food science and technology, 1, 189–210. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.food.102308.124120

Üstündaş, M., Yener, H. B., & Helvaci, Ş Ş. (2018). Parameters Affecting Lycopene Extraction From Tomato Powder And Its Antioxidant Activity [Abstract]. Anadolu University Journal of Science and Technology-A Applied Sciences and Engineering, 19(2), 454-467. doi:10.18038/aubtda.363140