Consumption of tomato lycopene lowers blood pressure in individuals with hypertension, according to new research conducted at Ben-Gurion University, Israel and presented at the American Society of Hypertension’s 20th Annual Scientific Meet and Exposition. The study was also published in the American Heart Journal.
Lycopene has been shown to support prostate health and researchers acknowledge that tomato extract contains lycopene and other carotenoids such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, which are known as effective antioxidants that inactivate free radicals and slow the progression of atherosclerosis. The purpose of the new study was to evaluate the effect of tomato extract on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in grade-1 hypertension (HT) individuals.
Thirty-one subjects with grade-1 HT, without concomitant diseases, who required no antihypertensive or lipid-lowering drug therapy, completed the trial. Subjects entered a four-week placebo period, then an eight-week treatment period with tomato extract (250 mg of Lyc-O-Mato® lycopene) and a four-week control period with placebo.
Systolic blood pressure decreased from 144 to 134mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure decreased from 87.4 to 83.4mm Hg. Both changes are significant. No changes in blood pressure were demonstrated during placebo periods.
Researchers determined that short-term treatment with antioxidant-rich tomato extract can reduce blood pressure in patients with grade-1 HT.
Researcher Esther Paran, M.D. stated: “The results of this study are particularly important because our subjects had previously been unsuccessful at lowering their blood pressure using one or two drug methods. We attribute the reduction in blood pressure to the antioxidant activity of the tomato extract Lyc-O-Mato and the increase in nitric oxide. Eating a diet rich in tomato products and other antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables is certainly a smart move. But, a person would need to consume about five tomatoes to get the nutrients in one tomato extract capsule.”
American Heart Journal 151(1):100, 2006