red wine and tomatoes

Benefits For The Immune System and Respiratory Health.

Lycopene Research  Supports Its Key Roles As An Antioxidant Carotenoid.

Supplements of lycopene may protect against inflammation in the lungs and reduce the risk of developing asthma, suggest results from a controlled laboratory study from the University of Newcastle, UK.

The carotenoid, most commonly associated with tomatoes, was found to decrease the response of inflammatory cytokines in the lungs, 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, from the University of Newcastle, UK.

As an antioxidant, lycopene has been shown to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other important benefits.

The lab subjects were divided into two groups: one received a normal diet and water, while the other received additional lycopene. The subjects subsequently inhaled ovalbumin in order to induce asthma-like symptoms in their lungs.

Results showed that the lycopene-rich supplementation reduced eosinophilic infiltrates in the lung fluid, tissue and blood. Levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-5, which were found to increase in the control group, were also reduced following lycopene supplementation.

“We conclude that supplementation with lycopene reduces allergic inflammation both in the lungs and systemically, by decreasing cytokine responses,” wrote the researchers. “Thus, lycopene supplementation may have a protective effect against asthma,” they concluded.

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Published online: “Dietary lycopene supplementation suppresses Th2 responses and lung eosinophilia”

 

 

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