Skip to main content


Scientific Name(s): Psi-carotene, Psi
Common Name(s): Lycopene

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 20, 2021.

Clinical Overview


Scientific literature documents lycopene’s antioxidant activity and its use in cancer prevention (breast and prostate), as well as its use in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.


Lycopene administered as a pure compound has been studied in clinical trials at dosages of 7 to 75 mg/day. Lycopene is primarily available in capsule and softgel form, with dosage guidelines from manufacturers ranging from 10 to 30 mg taken twice daily with meals. Lycopene is also incorporated in multivitamin and multimineral products.


Avoid with hypersensitivity to lycopene or to any of its food sources, especially tomatoes. Tomato-based products are acidic and may irritate stomach ulcers.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. The amount of lycopene in food is assumed to be safe. Tomato consumption increases lycopene concentration in the breast milk and plasma of lactating women.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

In general, tomato-based products and lycopene supplements are well tolerated. Some GI complaints (eg, diarrhea, dyspepsia, gas, nausea, vomiting) are documented. One trial reported a cancer-related hemorrhage in a patient taking lycopene, but causality was unclear.


None known.


Lycopene is a common carotenoid compound found in fruits, vegetables, and green plants.1 It is responsible for a red plant pigment found primarily in tomatoes. Other sources include apricots, cranberries, grapes, pink grapefruits, guavas, papayas, peaches, and watermelons.2


In North America, nearly 85% of dietary lycopene is derived from tomatoes and tomato-based products.1 Tomatoes have been cultivated since the 16th century as a food source. In some countries, the tomato was thought to be poisonous and used for decorative purposes only. Christopher Columbus may have learned of the nutritional benefits of fruits and tomatoes from the inhabitants of the New World.3 There is a large body of evidence documenting the health benefits of lycopene, as well as its biological activity in numerous human diseases.1, 2, 3


Lycopene is a 40-carbon acyclic carotenoid containing 11 conjugated double bonds, with a molecular mass of 536.2, 4, 5 It consists of only hydrogen and carbon atoms, and is 1 of 600 carotenoids synthesized by plants and photosynthetic microorganisms.2, 4 The biochemistry of lycopene is unique because it has no pro-vitamin A activity, unlike many other carotenoids, such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Lycopene is lipophilic and insoluble in water. It is the most abundant carotenoid in tomatoes (0.9 to 4.2 mg per 100 g), followed by beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, phytoene, and other minor carotenoids,4 and is touted as the highest overall single oxygen-quenching carotenoid, with double the value of beta-carotene.6

Lycopene is relatively resistant to heat-induced geometrical isomerization in tomato processing.7 Processed tomato products are a better source of lycopene than fresh tomatoes,8 with lycopene more bioavailable.9 In addition, human uptake of lycopene is greater from heat-processed tomato juice than from unprocessed tomato juice.10 Tomato sauce and ketchup contain 33 to 68 mg of lycopene per 100 g, and raw tomatoes contain 3.1 mg of lycopene per 100 g.4, 6 Mechanical treatment with heat helps release lycopene from the tomato matrix, improving bioavailability, as seen with processed commercial tomato products versus fresh tomatoes. Fat also enhances the absorption of lycopene. Natural sources primarily contain the all-trans form of lycopene; the cis form of lycopene is more bioavailable and is less likely to precipitate and form crystals.11, 12

Uses and Pharmacology

There are numerous studies on the uses of lycopene in treating cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.


In vitro data

Lycopene was 2- to 10-fold more efficient in quenching singlet oxygen than were alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene.13 The antioxidant activity of lycopene may also be mediated by its bioactive metabolites.14

Clinical data

One study involving 20 patients found a correlation between skin roughness and lycopene dietary concentration.15 In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, lycopene supplementation decreased DNA oxidative damage.16 Lycopene may also ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.17, 18

Benign prostatic hypertrophy

A sponsor-funded phase II placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (n = 57) conducted in men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) found a commercially available herbal formulation containing pumpkin seed oil, lycopene, saw palmetto, pygeum, and Epilobium parviflorum to significantly reduce median prostate specific scores as well as day time and night time urinary frequency. Improvements were progressive and were observed in several scores at 1 month and in all scores at 3 months.102 The sponsor-funded, double-blind, randomized PROCOMB Italian multicenter trial determined that the combination of saw palmetto, lycopene, selenium (Profluss) plus tamsulosin produced significantly improved prostate symptom scores and Qmax (flow) after 1 year of treatment compared with Profluss or tamsulosin monotherapies in 219 men with BPH/lower urinary tract symptoms.105


Human epidemiological evidence indicates that diets high in tomatoes may reduce the risk of cervical, colon, esophageal, rectal, prostate, and stomach cancers.1, 4, 13, 19 Several molecular mechanisms of action4 are proposed for lycopene's anticancer activity, including the following:

  • Antioxidant activity or reduction of free radicals;

  • Antioxidant response element or stimulation of cells to produce enzymes to protect against free radicals;

  • Apoptosis or elimination of unhealthy abnormal cells;

  • Cell-cycle arrest or induction of cell death at the G1 phase;

  • Effect on growth factors and signaling pathways critical for cancer cell growth; and

  • Antimetastatic and anti-invasion activity.

In vitro and animal data

In 1 study, lycopene inhibited human colon carcinoma, myeloid leukemia, and lymphoma cell lines in a dose-dependent manner.3 Lycopene and eicosapentaenoic acid also suppressed signal transduction pathways in human colon cancer cells, thus inhibiting cancer cell growth.20 Another study documented activity against a liver adenocarcinoma cell line and noncancerous lung cell line.2 Lycopene prevented chemically induced DNA and chromosome damage as well as tumor-promoting activity in liver cells through antioxidant activity and inhibition of growth factors and signaling pathways.21, 22, 23

Clinical data

In a clinical trial, lycopene supplementation (30 mg/day for 2 months) had beneficial effects in healthy women with a high risk of breast cancer (n = 36) but not in breast cancer survivors (n = 24).24 In a longitudinal study in which serum levels of various carotenoids and micronutrients were measured in a subset of women from the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trials (N = 5,450), higher baseline levels of lycopene were associated with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer during a median follow-up of 8 years. However, after exclusion of breast cancer cases diagnosed during the first 2 years of follow-up, the association was no longer statistically significant.25 A pooled analysis of 8 prospective studies on carotenoids and breast cancer demonstrated a statistically significant inverse association between carotenoid levels, including lycopene concentrations, and the risk of breast cancer.26

In a large case-control study (N = 4,721) covering 3 years, the risk of pancreatic cancer for men consuming lycopene was reduced 31%. Lycopene protected against cancer by activating cancer-preventive phase 2 enzymes.19, 27

Growing evidence exists for the use of lycopene in prostate cancer prevention. Although numerous animal studies exist,4 only clinical evidence was reviewed in the following studies. In a review of epidemiologic studies, a diet rich in fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, and pizza reduced the incidence of prostate cancer in a cohort of 40,000 men.19 Increased consumption of tomatoes statistically lowered the risk of prostate cancer in a cohort of 14,000 Seventh-day Adventist men.4, 28 A 2015 systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies evaluating dietary intake (n = 13 studies) or blood concentrations (n = 15 studies) of lycopene on the risk of prostate cancer found a reduction in risk by 3% per 1 mg/day increment of dietary intake of lycopene. Elimination of 1 study with wide confidence intervals revealed a significant inverse association between dietary intake as well as blood concentrations of lycopene and prostate cancer risk.108 A meta-analysis of 21 studies provided further evidence of diets rich in tomatoes providing protection against prostate cancer.19 In a Cochrane review of randomized controlled trials of lycopene for the prevention and treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer, only 3 of 64 published studies with 154 participants met inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis revealed no difference in prostate-specific antigen levels or in lycopene levels with and without lycopene supplementation. Only 1 study reported incidence of prostate cancer (10% vs 30% in the lycopene vs control groups).29 Another review of 8 randomized controlled trials found study quality varied significantly, making conclusions impossible.30 Lycopene also inhibited the progression of benign prostate hyperplasia.33 Lycopene concentrations changed rapidly in men with prostate cancer given lycopene supplements for several weeks prior to radical prostatectomy. Apoptotic activity was observed and may have been caused by lycopene.34 Prostate volume was reduced in prostate cancer patients taking 30 mg/day of lycopene extract for 3 weeks prior to radical prostatectomy.34 In 997 middle-aged men, an inverse association was found between serum lycopene levels and overall cancer incidence. No association was found between lycopene levels and prostate cancer risk.35 However, a dose-response meta-analysis of 26 studies, 17,517 cases of prostate cancer and 563,299 participants, published through April 2014 identified a linear inverse relationship between lycopene intake and risk of prostate cancer with a dose threshold between 9 and 21 mg/day and an effective plasma concentration found not to exceed 85 mcg/L. For each 5 mg/day increase in lycopene intake, prostate cancer risk decreased with no heterogeneity in studies.115 Oxidative stress is recognized as a major contributor to increased cancer risk. Lycopene's efficient absorption from tomato products facilitates its antioxidant effects and may also play an important role in cancer prevention.36 Lycopene not only achieves high concentrations in the prostate, but also in the testes and adrenal glands. Lycopene intake and decreased cancer risk association has been observed in stomach cancers.37 Lycopene's protective role in the early stages of cervical carcinogenesis was noted in 1 study.38 Plasma levels of lycopene and other carotenoids were lower in women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cervical cancer, suggesting a protective effect of higher lycopene concentrations.39, 40

Lycopene was more efficient than any carotenoid in inhibiting insulin-like growth factor type 1 (ie, high levels of this growth factor are related to an increased risk of cancer) in patients with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.31, 32 A meta-analysis of observational studies explored lycopene consumption and associated risk of colorectal cancer. Of the 15 studies that met inclusion criteria, 11 were case-controlled and 4 were cohort studies with significant heterogeneity found among the studies. Pooled data as well as subgroup analysis (ie, study design, smoking history, alcohol consumption, gender, geographical location) revealed no significant association between consumption of lycopene and the risk of colorectal cancer. Additionally, no dose relationship was observed.110

Cardiovascular disease

The mechanism of action may be associated with antioxidant activity, as well as decreased cell surface adhesion molecule expression and intima-media thickness.

In vitro and animal data

Lycopene suppressed tissue factor activation in vascular thrombosis in human endothelial cells.41 Additional studies found that lycopene reduced expression of cell surface adhesion molecules and binding of monocytes.42, 43 Lycopene also bound and inhibited platelet-derived growth factor, which is associated with the development and progression of cardiovascular disease in rat smooth muscle cells.44 One nutritional study in rabbits compared lycopene's action in reducing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta with that of fluvastatin.45 There are studies on the development of more efficient vehicles to deliver lycopene to adipocytes.46

Clinical data

In 19 subjects, lycopene supplementation decreased serum lipid peroxidation and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, suggesting a decreased risk for coronary heart disease.47 An epidemiological study in 10 European countries confirmed beneficial effects on the heart correlating with lycopene lipid levels and reduced risk of myocardial infarction.48 The Austrian Stroke Prevention Study found that certain concentrations of lycopene and other antioxidants may protect against cognitive impairment.49 Plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations were reduced by 14% in 6 men consuming dietary supplements of lycopene 60 mg/day for a 3-month period.50 In a 6-week clinical trial, 24 patients receiving fresh tomato and tomato juice twice daily reported reduced triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.51 In studies conducted in overweight individuals, both dietary and supplemental lycopene led to an increase in HDL cholesterol levels52 and a reduction in HDL-associated inflammation.53 In another study, low lycopene concentrations were associated with carotid atherosclerosis in 220 asymptomatic individuals.54

When the effects of tomato extract supplementation were studied in 50 moderately hypertensive individuals, supplementation for 6 weeks was associated with reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP, respectively) and increased serum lycopene levels.55 A meta-analysis of 6 blinded intervention studies (N = 494) evaluating the effects of lycopene or lycopene-containing products on blood pressure found that lycopene supplement decreased SBP significantly (P = 0.012) but not DBP. Doses ranged from 4.5 to 15 mg/day (mean, 12.4 mg/day) for a duration of 4 to 16 weeks (mean, 8.3 weeks); average net change in SBP ranged from −11.5 to 2.4 mm Hg with an overall pooled estimate of −4.95 mm Hg. Reductions were most significant in Asian studies, for those with an initially higher baseline SBP (greater than 120 mm Hg), and with higher dosages (> 12 mg/day).103 Similar results were found from a meta-analysis of 4 intervention trials published between 1955 and 2010.109

The effects of oral lycopene supplementation on vascular function was investigated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with parallel arms including statin-treated patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD; n = 36) as well as healthy volunteers (n = 36). Participants received lycopene 7 mg or placebo daily for 2 months. Change in forearm blood flow from baseline, as measured by endothelium-dependent vasodilatation (EDV), improved significantly in CVD patients (63% higher; P = 0.008) with values that approximated those of healthy volunteers at baseline. No significant changes in EDV were observed with placebo. Post-hoc analysis demonstrated a positive dose-response correlation between lycopene concentration and absolute change in EDV response between visits (P = 0.019). No significant changes were seen in arterial stiffness or blood pressure between lycopene- and placebo-treated groups. Lycopene was well tolerated; no serious adverse events were reported.106


A meta-analysis of 13 observational studies (n =18,999) evaluated the association between blood levels of antioxidants and vitamins to the risk of age-related cataract. Based on the results of 5 relevant studies with no substantial heterogeneity, lycopene showed no significant association with cataract risk.101

Dental hygiene

Lycopene may be effective as a first-line therapy in treating oral submucous fibrosis56 and in combination with other therapies in treating gingivitis.57 A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (n = 50) found no difference between groups treated with lycopene-enriched olive oil or placebo (water) for treatment of burning mouth syndrome or its symptoms.104


Reports of positive outcomes with beta-carotene in skin disorders including cancer, pigment imbalance, and photodermatoses, are available,58, 59, 60, 61 but lycopene may not share these effects because of its structural configuration. One report found beta-carotene to be active in wound healing, while lycopene was inactive.62 Other studies document that lycopene or tomato-derived products rich in lycopene provide photoprotective effects against ultraviolet light-induced erythema.63, 64, 65 Higher levels of lycopene antioxidants in the skin effectively led to lower levels of skin roughness.15 In a placebo-controlled study, lycopene effectively managed oral lichen planus.66


In some animal models, lycopene reduced diabetes-induced learning and memory impairment by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation.67 Lycopene may also attenuate diabetic neuropathic pain by inhibiting action of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and nitric oxide.68 Lycopene may be useful in patients with type 2 diabetes by suppressing oxidative stress and enhancing innate immunity or serum levels of immunoglobulin M.69

Disease prevention

Reports are available in the International Symposia on Lycopene and Tomato Products in Disease Prevention.70, 71 Reviews describing lycopene and disease prevention are also available.72, 73, 74, 75


Epidemiological studies have found that lycopene decreased the inflammation marker C reactive protein.13 The production of inflammatory mediators, such as TNF-alpha, was reduced in patients consuming a tomato-based drink.76 Asthmatic adults receiving lycopene treatment experienced improvement in airway inflammation. Patients treated with the tomato extract also had reduced sputum neutrophil elastase activity.77 In a murine model of asthma, lycopene suppressed infiltration of inflammatory mediators and cells into the lung; decreased airway hyperresponsiveness; and inhibited cell infiltration and invasion.78 Lycopene may also have a role in reducing rhinovirus-induced airway inflammation by potentially inhibiting the formation of reactive oxygen species and decreasing viral replication.79


Lycopene administered as a pure compound has been studied in clinical trials at dosages of 8 to 75 mg/day.66, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84 Lycopene is primarily available in capsule and softgel form, with dosage guidelines from manufacturers ranging from 10 to 30 mg taken twice daily with meals. Lycopene is also incorporated in multivitamin and multimineral products.

Lycopene absorption in humans is approximately 10% to 30%, with the remaining excreted.1 The half-life elimination of lycopene in plasma was estimated to be 12 to 33 days, while a single-dose pharmacokinetic study documented 28 to 61 hours.85 The estimated daily dietary intake of the general population is 0.5 to 27 mg per person per day.86 Factors affecting uptake and absorption of carotenoids have been reported.87 Pharmacokinetic parameters of lycopene have been evaluated in humans.39, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Clinical studies evaluating the benefits of supplemental lycopene in pre-eclampsia have produced conflicting results, and some evidence of harm has been reported.95, 96 The amount of lycopene in foods is assumed to be safe. Tomato consumption does increase lycopene concentrations in the breast milk and plasma of lactating women.97


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Tomato-based products and lycopene supplements are generally well tolerated. Scientific literature documents some GI complaints, such as diarrhea, dyspepsia, gas, nausea, and vomiting. One trial documented a cancer-related hemorrhage in a patient taking lycopene, but causality was unclear.98 Tomato-based products are acidic and may irritate stomach ulcers.


Avoid use with hypersensitivity to lycopene or to any of its food sources, especially tomatoes.

No toxic effects were observed in rats treated with lycopene 2,000 mg/kg/day for 28 days, an intake similar to approximately lycopene 200 mg/kg of body weight per day in humans.86 Another 13-week toxicity study generated similar results. Some studies documented a protective effect against the oxidative stress of acetaminophen-induced acute hepatotoxicity and against amiodarone-induced lung toxicity.99 Lycopene pretreatment in rats was protective against aflatoxin toxicity by blocking metabolism and metabolic activation of aflatoxin.100


1. Rao AV, Ray MR, Rao LG. Lycopene. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2006;51:99-164.17011475
2. Burgess LC, Rice E, Fischer T, et al. Lycopene has limited effect on cell proliferation in only two of seven human cell lines (both cancerous and noncancerous) in an in vitro system with doses across the physiological range. Toxicol In Vitro. 2008;22(5):1297-1300.18434082
3. Salman H, Bergman M, Djaldetti M, Bessler H. Lycopene affects proliferation and apoptosis of four malignant cell lines. Biomed Pharmacother. 2007;61(6):366-369.17448625
4. van Breemen RB, Pajkovic N. Multitargeted therapy of cancer by lycopene. Cancer Lett. 2008;269(2):339-351.18585855
5. Jackson H, Braun CL, Ernst H. The chemistry of novel xanthophyll carotenoids. Am J Cardiol. 2008;101(10A):50D-57D.18474275
6. Murray M. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing; 1996:27-29.
7. Nguyen ML, Schwartz SJ. Lycopene stability during food processing. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998;218(2):101-105.9605205
8. New study shows processed tomato products are a better source of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Oncology (Williston Park). 1997;11(12):1802.9436186
9. Gärtner C, Stahl W, Sies H. Lycopene is more bioavailable from tomato paste than from fresh tomatoes. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66(1):116-122.9209178
10. Stahl W, Sies H. Uptake of lycopene and its geometrical isomers is greater from heat-processed than from unprocessed tomato juice in humans. J Nutr. 1992;122(11):2161-2166.1432255
11. Ratnam DV, Ankola DD, Bhardwaj V, Sahana DK, Kumar MN. Role of antioxidants in prophylaxis and therapy: A pharmaceutical perspective. J Control Release. 2006;113(3):189-207.
12. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Francis DM, Nagaraja HN, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Lycopene from heat-induced cis-isomer-rich tomato sauce is more bioavailable than from all-trans-rich tomato sauce in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2007;98(1):140-146.17391568
13. Erdman JW, Ford NA, Lindshield BL. Are the health attributes of lycopene related to its antioxidant function? Arch Biochem Biophys. 2009;483(2):229-335.18983972
14. Lindshield BL, Canene-Adams K, Erdman JW Jr. Lycopenoids: are lycopene metabolites bioactive? Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007;458(2):136-140.17067545
15. Darvin M, Patzelt A, Gehse S, et al. Cutaneous concentration of lycopene correlates significantly with the roughness of the skin. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2008;69(3):943-947.
16. Devaraj S, Mathur S, Basu A, et al. A dose-response study on the effects of purified lycopene supplementation on biomarkers of oxidative stress. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27(2):267-273.18689558
17. Polidori MC, Mecocci P, Stahl W, Sies H. Cigarette smoking cessation increases plasma levels of several antioxidant micronutrients and improves resistance towards oxidative challenge. Br J Nutr. 2003;90(1):147-150.12844386
18. Steinberg FM, Chait A. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68(2):319-327.9701189
19. Singh P, Goyal GK. Dietary lycopene: its properties and anticarcinogenic effects. Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety. 2008;7:255-270.
20. Tang FY, Cho HJ, Pai MH & Chen YH. Concomitant supplementation of lycopene and eicosapentaenoic acid inhibits the proliferation of human colon cancer cells. J Nutr Biochem. 2009;20(6):426-434.18708285
21. Huang CS, Fan YE, Lin CY, Hu ML. Lycopene inhibits matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression and down-regulates the binding activity of nuclear factor-kappa B and stimulatory protein-1. J Nutr Biochem. 2007;18(7):449-456.17049831
22. Tharappel JC, Lehmler HJ, Srinivasan C, Robertson LW, Spear BT, Glauert HP. Effect of antioxidant phytochemicals on the hepatic tumor promoting activity of 3,3′,4,4′-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB-77). Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(11):3467-3474.18796325
23. Scolastici C, Alves de Lima RO, Barbisan LF, Ferreira AL, Ribeiro DA, Salvadori DM. Antigenotoxicity and antimutagenicity of lycopene in HepG2 cell line evaluated by the comet assay and micronucleus test. Toxicol In Vitro. 2008;22(2):510-514.18077131
24. Voskuil DW, Vrieling A, Korse CM, et al. Effects of lycopene on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in premenopausal breast cancer survivors and women at high familial breast cancer risk. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(3):342-353.
25. Kabat GC, Kim M, Adams-Campbell LL, et al. Longitudinal study of serum carotenoid, retinol, and tocopherol concentrations in relation to breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(1):162-169.19474140
26. Eliassen AH, Hendrickson SJ, Brinton LA, et al. Circulating carotenoids and risk of breast cancer: Pooled analysis of eight prospective studies. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012;104(24):1905-1916.23221879
27. Nkondjock A, Ghadirian P, Johnson KC, Krewski D; Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group. Dietary intake of lycopene is associated with reduced pancreatic cancer risk. J Nutr. 2005;135(3):592-597.15735099
28. Giovannucci E. A review of epidemiologic studies of tomatoes, lycopene, and prostate cancer. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2002;227(10):852-859.12424325
29. Ilic D, Forbes KM, Hassed C. Lycopene for the prevention of prostate cancer (review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(11):CD008007.22071840
30. Illic D, Misso M. Lycopene for the prevention and treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2012;72:269-276.22633187
31. Vrieling A, Voskuil DW, Bonfrer JM, et al. Lycopene supplementation elevates circulating insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 and -2 concentrations in persons at greater risk of colorectal cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(5):1456-1462.17991659
32. Graydon R, Gilchrist SE, Young IS, Obermüller-Jevic U, Hasselwander O, Woodside JV. Effect of lycopene supplementation on insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61(10):1196-1200.
33. Schwarz S, Obermüller-Jevic UC, Hellmis E, Koch W, Jacobi G, Biesalski HK. Lycopene inhibits disease progression in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia. J Nutr. 2008;138(1):49-53.18156403
34. Gupta S. Prostate cancer chemoprevention: current status and future prospects. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007;224(3):369-376.17189645
35. Karppi J, Kurl S, Nurmi T, Rissanen TH, Pukkala E, Nyyssönen K. Serum lycopene and the risk of cancer: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) study. Ann Epidemiol. 2009;19(7):512-518.19443241
36. Rao AV, Agarwal S. Bioavailability and in vivo antioxidant properties of lycopene from tomato products and their possible role in the prevention of cancer. Nutr Cancer. 1998;31(3):199-203.9795972
37. Gerster H. The potential role of lycopene for human health. J Am Coll Nutr. 1997;16(2):109-126.9100211
38. Kanetsky PA, Gammon MD, Mandelblatt J, et al. Dietary intake and blood levels of lycopene: association with cervical dysplasia among non-Hispanic, black women. Nutr Cancer. 1998;31(1):31-40.9682246
39. Palan PR, Mikhail MS, Goldberg GL, Basu J, Runowicz CD, Romney SL. Plasma levels of beta-carotene, lycopene, canthaxanthin, retinol, and alpha- and tau-tocopherol in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 1996;2(1):181-185.9816105
40. Cho H, Kim MK, Lee JK, et al. Relationship of serum antioxidant micronutrients and sociodemographic factors to cervical neoplasia: a case-control study. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2009;47(8):1005-1012.19589102
41. Lee DK, Grantham RN, Mannion JD, Trachte AL. Carotenoids enhance phosphorylation of Akt and suppress tissue factor activity in human endothelial cells. J Nutr Biochem. 2006;17(11):780-786.16563717
42. Martin KR, Wu D, Meydani M. The effect of carotenoids on the expression of cell surface adhesion molecules and binding of monocytes to human aortic endothelial cells. Atherosclerosis. 2000;150(2):265-274.10856518
43. Hung CF, Huang TF, Chen BH, Shieh JM, Wu PH, Wu WB. Lycopene inhibits TNF-alpha-induced endothelial ICAM-1 expression and monocyte-endothelial adhesion. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008;586(1-3):275-282.18439578
44. Lo HM, Hung CF, Tseng YL, Chen BH, Jian JS, Wu WB. Lycopene binds PDGF-BB and inhibits PDGF-BB-induced intracellular signaling transduction pathway in rat smooth muscle cells. Biochem Pharmacol. 2007;74(1):54-63.17449016
45. Hu MY, Li YL, Jiang CH, Liu ZQ, Qu SL, Huang YM. Comparison of lycopene and fluvastatin effects on atherosclerosis induced by a high-fat diet in rabbits. Nutrition. 2008;24(10):1030-1038.18585898
46. Gouranton E, Yazidi CE, Cardinault N, Amiot MJ, Borel P, Landrier JF. Purified low-density lipoprotein and bovine serum albumin efficiency to internalise lycopene into adipocytes. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(12):3832-3836.18957315
47. Agarwal S, Rao AV. Tomato lycopene and low density lipoprotein oxidation: a human dietary intervention study. Lipids. 1998;33(10):981-984.9832077
48. Kohlmeier I, Kark JD, Gomez-Gracia E, et al. Lycopene and myocardial infarction risk in the EURAMIC study. Am J Epidemiol. 1997;146(8):618-626.9345115
49. Schmidt R, Hayn M, Reinhart B, et al. Plasma antioxidants and cognitive performance in middle-aged and older adults: results of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998;46(11):1407-1410.9809763
50. Fuhrman B, Elis A, Aviram M. Hypocholesterolemic effect of lycopene and beta-carotene is related to suppression of cholesterol synthesis and augmentation of LDL receptor activity in macrophages. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997;233(3):658-662.9168909
51. Shen YC, Chen SL, Wang CK. Contribution of tomato phenolics to antioxidation and down-regulation of blood lipids. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(16):6475-6481.17629300
52. Cuevas-Ramos D, Almeda-Valdés P, Chávez-Manzanera E, et al. Effect of tomato consumption on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level: a randomized, single-blinded, controlled clinical trial. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2013;6:263-273.23935376
53. McEneny J, Wade L, Young IS, et al. Lycopene intervention reduces inflammation and improves HDL functionality in moderately overweight middle-aged individuals. J Nutr Biochem. 2013;24(1):163-168.22819555
54. Riccioni G, Bucciarelli T, D'Orazio N, et al. Plasma antioxidants and asymptomatic carotid atherosclerotic disease. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;53(2):86-90.18936536
55. Paran E, Novack V, Engelhard YN, Hazan-Halevy I. The effects of natural antioxidants from tomato extract in treated but uncontrolled hypertensive patients. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2009;23(2):145-51.19052855
56. Kumar A, Bagewadi A, Keluskar V, Singh M. Efficacy of lycopene in the management of oral submucous fibrosis. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2007;103(2):207-213.17234537
57. Chandra RV, Prabhuji ML, Roopa DA, Ravirajan S, Kishore HC. Efficacy of lycopene in the treatment of gingivitis: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Oral Health Prev Dent. 2007;5(4):327-336.18173095
58. Pollitt N. Beta-carotene and the photodermatoses. Br J Dermatol. 1975;93(6):721-724.1220820
59. Pietzcker F, Kuner-Beck V. Treatment of acral vitiligo with beta-carotin [in German]. Med Welt. 1977;28(35):1407-1408.895488
60. Pietzcker F, Kuner-Beck V. "Pigment balance" through oral beta carotene. A new therapeutic principle in cosmetic dermatology [in German]. Hautarzt. 1979;30(6):308-311.457411
61. Beta carotene to prevent skin cancer. N Engl J Med. 1991;324(13):923-925.2000118
62. Lee KH, Tong TG. Mechanism of action of retinyl compounds on wound healing. Ι. Structural relationship of retinyl compounds and wound healing. J Pharm Sci. 1970;59(6):851-854.5423093
63. Stahl W, Heinrich U, Wiseman S, Eichler O, Sies H, Tronnier H. Dietary tomato paste protects against ultraviolet light-induced erythema in humans. J Nutr. 2001;131(5):1449-1451.11340098
64. Stahl W, Heinrich U, Aust O, Tronnier H, Sies H. Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2006;5(2):238-242.16465309
65. Rizwan M, Rodriguez-Blanco I, Harbottle A, et al. Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2011;164(1):154-162.20854436
66. Saawarn N, Shashikanth MC, Saawarn S, Jirge V, Chaitanya NC, Pinakapani R. Lycopene in the management of oral lichen planus: a placebo-controlled study. Indian J Dent Res. 2011;22(5):639-643.22406705
67. Kuhad A, Sethi R, Chopra K. Lycopene attenuates diabetes-associated cognitive decline in rats. Life Sci. 2008;83(3-4):128-134.18585396
68. Kuhad A, Sharma S, Chopra K. Lycopene attenuates thermal hyperalgesia in a diabetic mouse model of neuropathic pain. Eur J Pain. 2008;12(5):624-632.18055235
69. Neyestani TR, Shariatzadeh N, Gharavi A, Kalayi A, Khalaji N. Physiological dose of lycopene suppressed oxidative stress and enhanced serum levels of immunoglobulin M in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus: a possible role in the prevention of long-term complications. J Endocrinol Invest. 2007;30(10):833-838.
70. Hoffmann I, Weisburger JH. International symposium on the role of lycopene and tomato products in disease prevention. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1997;6(8):643-645.9264279
71. Weisburger JH. International symposium on lycopene and tomato products in disease prevention: an introduction. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998;218(2):93-94.9605202
72. Clinton SK. Lycopene: chemistry, biology, and implications for human health and disease. Nutr Rev. 1998;56(2 pt 1):35-51.9529899
73. Krinsky NI. Overview of lycopene, carotenoids, and disease prevention. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998;218(2):95-97.9605203
74. Singh DK, Lippman SM. Cancer chemoprevention. Part 1: Retinoids and carotenoids and other classic antioxidants. Oncology (Williston Park). 1998;12(11):1643-1653,1657-1658,1659-1660.9834941
75. Michaud I. Chemoprevention: future is here. In: ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting. Las Vegas, NV: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 1998;33(Dec):PI-95.
76. Riso P, Visioli F, Grande S, et al. Effect of a tomato-based drink on markers of inflammation, immunomodulation, and oxidative stress. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54(7):2563-2566.16569044
77. Wood LG, Garg ML, Powell H, Gibson PG. Lycopene-rich treatments modify noneosinophilic airway inflammation in asthma: proof of concept. Free Radic Res. 2008;42(1):94-102.18324527
78. Lee CM, Chang JH, Moon DO, et al. Lycopene suppresses ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation in a murine model of asthma. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008;374(2):248-252.18638450
79. Saedisomeolia A, Wood LG, Garg ML, Gibson PG, Wark PA. Lycopene enrichment of cultured airway epithelial cells decreases the inflammation induced by rhinovirus infection and lipopolysaccharide. J Nutr Biochem. 2008;20(8):577-585.18824341
80. Paetau I, Khachik F, Brown ED, et al. Chronic ingestion of lycopene-rich tomato juice or lycopene supplements significantly increases plasma concentrations of lycopene and related tomato carotenoids in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68(6):1187-1195.9846845
81. Paetau I, Rao D, Wiley ER, Brown ED, Clevidence BA. Carotenoids in human buccal mucosa cells after 4 wk of supplementation with tomato juice or lycopene supplements. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(4):490-494.10500017
82. Kucuk O, Sakar FH, Sakr W, et al. Phase ΙΙ randomized clinical trial of lycopene supplementation before radical prostatectomy. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2001;10(8):861-868.11489752
83. Corridan BM, O'Donoghue M, Hughes DA, Morrissey PA. Low-dose supplementation with lycopene or beta-carotene does not enhance cell-mediated immunity in healthy free-living elderly humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001;55(8):627-635.11477460
84. Wright AJ, Hughes DA, Bailey AL, Southon S. Beta-carotene and lycopene, but not lutein, supplementation changes the plasma fatty acid profile of healthy male non-smokers. J Lab Clin Med. 1999;134(6):592-598.10595786
85. Gustin DM, Rodvold KA, Sosman JA, et al. Single-dose pharmacokinetic study of lycopene delivered in a well-defined food-based lycopene delivery system (tomato paste-oil mixture) in healthy adult male subjects. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004;13(5):850-860.15159319
86. Jian WC, Chiou MH, Chen YT, et al. Twenty-eight-day oral toxicity study of lycopene from recombinant Escherichia coli in rats. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008;52(2):163-168.18789998
87. Williams AW, Boileau TW, Erdman JW Jr. Factors influencing the uptake and absorption of carotenoids. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998;218(2):106-108.9605206
88. Johnson EJ, Qin J, Krinsky NI, Russell RM. Ingestion by men of a combined dose of beta-carotene and lycopene does not affect the absorption of beta-carotene but improves that of lycopene. J Nutr. 1997;127(9):1833-1837.9278568
89. O'Neill ME, Thurnham DI. Intestinal absorption of beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein in men and women following a standard meal: response curves in the triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein fraction. Br J Nutr. 1998;79(2):149-159.9536859
90. Talwar D, Ha TK, Cooney J, Brownlee C, O'Reilly DS. A routine method for the simultaneous measurement of retinol, alpha-tocopherol and five carotenoids in human plasma by reverse phase HPLC. Clin Chim Acta. 1998;270(2):85-100.9544447
91. Johnson EJ. Human studies on bioavailability and plasma response of lycopene. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998;218(2):115-120.9605208
92. Boucher BJ. Intestinal absorption of beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein in men and women following a standard meal. Br J Nutr. 1998;80(1):115.9797651
94. Mayne ST, Cartmel B, Silva F, et al. Effect of supplemental beta-carotene on plasma concentrations of carotenoids, retinol, and alpha-tocopherol in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68(3):642-647.9734742
82. Yeum KJ, Ferland G, Patry J, Russell RM. Relationship of plasma carotenoids, retinol, and tocopherols in mothers and newborn infants. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(5):442-447.9791840
95. Banerjee S, Jeyaseelan S, Guleria R. Trial of lycopene to prevent pre-eclampsia in healthy primigravidas: results show some adverse effects. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2009;35(3):477-482.19527386
96. Sharma JB, Kumar A, Kumar A, et al. Effect of lycopene on pre-eclampsia and intra-uterine growth retardation in primigravidas. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2003;81(3):257-262.12767566
97. Alien CM, Smith AM, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Tomato consumption increases lycopene isomer concentrations in breast milk and plasma of lactating women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102(9):1257-1262.12792623
98. Jatoi A, Burch P, Hillman D, et al. A tomato-based, lycopene-containing intervention for androgen-independent prostate cancer: results of a Phase II study from the North Central Cancer Treatment Group. Urology. 2007;69(2):289-294.17320666
99. Jamshidzadeh A, Baghban M, Azarpira N, Bardbori AM, Niknahad H. Effects of tomato extract on oxidative stress induced toxicity in different organs of rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(12):3612-3615.
100. Tang L, Guan H, Ding X, Wang JS. Modulation of aflatoxin toxicity and biomarkers by lycopene in F344 rats. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007;219(1):10-17.17229449
101. Cui YH, Jing CX, Pan HW. Association of blood antioxidants and vitamins with risk of age-related cataract: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(3):778-786.23842458
102. Coulson S, Rao A, Beck SL, Steels E, Gramotnev H, Vitetta L. A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: a herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Complement Ther Med. 2013;21(3):172-179.23642948
103. Li X, Xu J. Lycopene supplement and blood pressure: an updated meta-analysis of intervention trials. Nutrients. 2013;5(9):3696-371224051501
104. Cano-Carrillo P, Pons-Fuster A, Lopez-Jornet P. Efficacy of lycopene-enriched virgin olive oil for treating burning mouth syndrome: a double-blind randomised. J Oral Rehabil. 2014;41(4):296-305.24612248
105. Morgia G, Russo GI, Voce S, et al. Serenoa repens, lycopene and selenium versus tamsulosin for the treatment of LUTS/BPH. An Italian multicenter double-blinded randomized study between single or combination therapy (PROCOMB trial). Prostate. 2014;74(15):1471-1480.25154739
106. Gajendragadkar PR, Hubsch A, Maki-Petaja KM, Serg M, Wilkinson IB, Cheriyan J. Effects of oral lycopene supplementation on vascular function in patients with cardiovascular disease and healthy volunteers: a randomised controlled trial. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(6):e99070.24911964
107. Chen P, Zhang W, Wang X, et al. Lycopene and risk of prostate cancer. Medicine. 2015;94(33):e1260.
108. Wang Y, Cui R, Xiao Y, Fang J, Xu Q. Effect of carotene and lycopene on the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. PLoS ONE. 10(9):e0137427.26372549
109. Ried K, Fakler P. Protective effect of lycopene on serum cholesterol and blood pressure: meta-analysis of intervention trials. Maturitas. 2011;68:299-310.21163596
110. Wang X, Yang HH, Liu Y, Zhou Q, Chen ZH. Lycopene consumption and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2016;68(7):1083-1096.27472298


This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Frequently asked questions

More about lycopene

Related treatment guides

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.