The carotenoid, most commonly associated with tomatoes, was found to decrease the response of inflammatory cytokines in the lungs of mice, as well as a two-fold decrease in the number of eosinophils – white blood cells associated with an allergic or asthmatic immune response, according to findings published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
“This study provides evidence that dietary supplementation with lycopene prior to and during the onset of allergic airways disease may be of clinical benefit in reducing eosinophilic infiltrates both in the lungs and systemically,” wrote the researchers, led by Paul Foster from the University of Newcastle, UK.
The scientists used Lycored’s Lyc-O-Mato ingredient at a dose that would equate to about 50 mg per day for a human.
As an antioxidant, lycopene has been shown to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other benefits in both natural and synthetic form and it has been commonly used in food supplements and cosmeceutical applications.
Study detailsThe Newcastle-based scientists used BALB/c mice to model the effects of lycopene on allergic inflammation and asthma. According to the European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA), over 30m Europeans suffer from asthma, costing Europe €17.7bn every year. The cost due to lost productivity is estimated to be around €9.8bn.