Supplements of lycopene, the antioxidant most commonly linked to tomatoes, may significantly reduce blood pressure, particularly for people with moderately elevated blood pressure, says a new meta-analysis.
According to findings of a meta-analysis of six studies published in the journal Nutrients , daily lycopene doses of at least 12 milligrams are associated with lowered systolic blood pressure, but no effects on diastolic blood pressure were recorded.
“Our results have important public health implications,” wrote Xinli Li from the Medical College of Soochow University and Jiuhong Xu from the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University. “As a common disease among adults, hypertension is now a burden for both individuals and society. In view of the side-effects of antihypertensive drugs, dietary intervention is now more popular.
“Our findings about the role of lycopene in lowering systolic blood pressure are therefore important and timely.”
According to the most recent data from the American Heart Association , about 33.5% of US adults have hypertension, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. CVD accounted for about 35% of annual deaths in the US, with somebody in the US dying from CVD every 39 seconds.
The authors restricted their meta-analysis to intervention trials, and identified six trials that fit their inclusion criteria.
By pooling the data and crunching the numbers, the Li and Xu found that lycopene supplements were associated with an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of almost 5 mmHg, whereas no significant changes were observed in diastolic blood pressure. Systolic function relates to the contraction of the heart, whereas diastolic relates to the filling of the heart with blood.
Additional analysis of subgroups within the overall data indicated that lycopene could effectively lower systolic blood pressure in people classed as prehypertensive or hypertensive, or Asian. In addition, the higher the lycopene dose, the greater the reduction, added Li and Xu.
“In light of the strong inverse relationship between lycopene and SBP, we can deduce that the observed decrease in SBP is the result of lycopene supplementation,” they wrote.
Commenting on their findings in relation to other such analyses, the Chinese authors stated that: “Although there were no new findings in our present study, our results, with a relatively larger sample, at least re-testified that the lycopene supplement had a beneficial effect on systolic blood pressure and provided subgroup analysis results.”
Volume 5, Number 9, Pages 3696-3712; doi:10.3390/nu5093696
“Lycopene Supplement and Blood Pressure: An Updated Meta-Analysis of Intervention Trials”
Authors: Xinli Li and Jiuhong Xu