LycoRed Natural Products, the maker of Lyc-O-Mato lycopene complex, has received a patent for its discovery that tomato carotenoids including vitamin E could halt progression of atherosclerosis.
The patent reflects the growing body of research backing the role of antioxidants in helping to fight cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.
Dr Zohar Nir, vice president of marketing and sales for LycoRed , said the patent revealed the health advantages of combining vitamin E, an antioxidant widely used in the industry, with tomato carotenoids and naturally occurring tocopherols. "Consumers are sure to benefit from new formulations which take advantage of this important synergy which prevents the oxidation of LDL," he said.
The patent, number 6, 515, 018 B1, is based on the prevention of LDL oxidation, thought to be an important factor in atherosclerosis - the single major cause of death in western society. The vitamin E and lycopene combination has also been shown to moderately lower cholesterol.
Dr Michael Aviram of the Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center, Bat-Galim Haifa Israel, said: "The ability to prevent the development of atherosclerotic plaque has major implications for public health. A therapeutic agent that both lowers cholesterol and inhibits oxidative changes to LDL might have beneficial effects that are superior to the effects attributed to individual agents."
The Israeli company has previously carried out research showing the extra benefits of a whole tomato complex, such as Lyc-O-Mato, which contains a mixture of antioxidants, including lycopene, vitamin E and beta carotene, over lycopene, vitamin E or beta-carotene alone.
Pressure to prove such benefits will only increase with news last week that German chemical company BASF has provided sufficient information to conclude GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status for its synthetic lycopene. One of the world's biggest vitamin makers, BASF followed FDA-proposed procedures including convening an expert panel to review the necessary product data, and then submitting a voluntary notification to FDA of the expert opinion and the data supporting its conclusion, to support the GRAS status of its lycopene.