The study, published in Nutrients, found that eight weeks of consuming a tomato nutrient complex containing 15 mg of lycopene led to average decreases in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 10 mmHg and 5 mmHg, respectively.
On the other hand, no changes to blood pressure were observed at lower doses of the tomato nutrient complex, or for 15 mg of synthetic lycopene, or for placebo, reported scientists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Lycored.
According to Lycored, which funded the study, this is the fourth in a series of human clinical trials on the product’s benefits as a holistic solution contributing to overall cardiometabolic health. This clinical program helped Lycored create Cardiomato, its cardio-optimized carefully calibrated patented composition, said the company.
“This research reflects the evolution of our cardio-metabolic journey,” said Dr Karin Hermoni, head of science and nutrition at Lycored. “One of its aims was to compare the effects on blood pressure of pure synthetic lycopene as a standalone with that of the entire nutrient and carotenoid mixture from the tomato. The results suggest that the myriad active nutrients our extract contains work synergistically to drive significant benefits.
“This study provides tangible evidence supporting the dose of tomato phytonutrients, and specifically of lycopene, that we recommend to deliver benefits for cardio-metabolic health. These results are only part of a full program examining the bioavailability and efficacy of tomato phytonutrients.”
The researchers recruited 61 people aged between 35-60 and with systolic blood pressure between 130-140 mmHg. Participants were randomly assigned to receive capsules containing tomato nutrient complex standardized for 5, 15 or 30mg of lycopene (and containing all the rest of the tomato phytonutrients), pure lycopene, or a placebo to consume with their main meal for eight weeks.
The results showed that both tomato nutrient complex groups with 15 or 30mg of lycopene experienced statistically significant reductions in blood pressure over the course of the study, but no effects were reported for the other groups.
“One explanation for the lower efficacy of the synthetic lycopene is the presence of other active nutrients in the tomato extract preparation,” wrote the researchers. “Indeed, in a previous study [Linnewiel-Hermoni et al., Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 2015, Vol. 572, pp. 28-35], we found that the anti-cancer effects of carotenoids and other phytonutrients present in tomato extract (e.g., lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene) resides in their combined activity, which is synergistically higher than the activity of each compound alone.”
A subset of 27 subjects continued the supplementation regimen for an additional four months, with results showing significant reductions in SBP at all points.
Commenting on the doses, the researchers noted that raw tomatoes typically contain between 2.5 and 4 mg of lycopene per 100 grams of fruit, and therefore a “reasonable consumption of tomatoes” of 100 to 200 grams per day would provide a lycopene dose of between 4 and 8 mg of lycopene, which would be an insufficient dose to elicit a reduction in SBP.
“Therefore, inclusion in the daily diet of other lycopene-rich foods such as tomato products and supplements is recommended,” they wrote.
11(5), 950, doi: 10.3390/nu11050950
“Effect of Tomato Nutrient Complex on Blood Pressure: A Double Blind, Randomized Dose–Response Study”
Authors: T. Wolak et al.