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How to Use Lycopene for Prostate Cancer

Lycopene for Prostate Cancer

Lycopene, a carotenoid compound, is found in high amounts in red fruits, such as tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruits, etc. Lycopene is one of the most abundant carotenoids in human serum and tissues. It’s been extensively researched on applying lycopene for prostate cancer, either as a treatment or protective agent for reducing prostate cancer risk. The observation of many studies suggested that a high dietary intake of lycopene may reduce cancer-associated symptoms, and increased circulating lycopene concentrations in the serum were linked to a reduced prostate cancer risk (Grammatikopoulou et al., 2020).

The anti-cancer effects of lycopene involve a wide range of biological processes. Studies suggested that lycopene can induce apoptosis, prevent metastasis, slow the progression of prostate cancer, inhibit colony formation, cell adhesion, and migration, increase antioxidative and antiproliferative effects, lower PSA levels, decrease angiogenesis activity, reduce inflammatory cytokines, the list goes on (Mirahmadi et al., 2020).

When it comes to clinical application, here are a few things to consider:

  • Dietary Sources: Lycopene is most commonly found in tomatoes. Incorporate various cooked tomato products into your diet, such as tomato sauce, paste, and cooked tomatoes. Other sources include watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava. One thing to always keep in mind is: It's essential to have a well-balanced diet. Include a variety of whole foods focusing on eating foods with low-glycemic indexes, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, to ensure you get a wide range of nutrients.

  • Cooking Method: Heat and cooking process increases lycopene bioavailability. Moreover, lycopene is fat-soluble, and its absorption is enhanced when consumed with a fat-containing meal (about 10 grams for cooked tomatoes or about 15 grams for uncooked tomatoes) (Arballo et al., 2021).

  • Absorption: The studies in the pharmacokinetic model revealed that lycopene is better absorbed at a 10 mg dose than at higher doses. Moreover, its absorption in the liver, adrenal glands, spleen, and intestinal tissues is much higher than in the prostate glands.

  • Safety of Dosage: Various human and animal studies evaluated the safety of dietary lycopene intake. Adverse reactions haven’t been reported with doses of up to 3g/kg/day. Thereby, there is currently no set upper limit.

  • Studies have shown that lycopene (in the conjugated form) combined with other therapies has a better effect on preventing or treating prostate cancer (Mirahmadi et al., 2020).

Furthermore, considering that standard cancer therapies tend to cause many unpleasant side effects, using natural compounds with anti-cancer properties should be an essential part of the patient’s therapeutic protocol. These potent natural compounds, such as lycopene, are generally safe and can be crucial clinical tools in preventing and controlling the progression of prostate cancers.

Jenny Noland, MS, CNS, CNGS, CKNS, LDN, MBA

Functional Nutritionist in Eugene, Oregon

Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist

Board-Certified Nutritional Genomics Specialist

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Personalized Nutrition Therapy for Metabolic Dysfunction and Cancer Care

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Arballo, J., Amengual, J., & Erdman, J. W. (2021). Lycopene: A Critical Review of Digestion, Absorption, Metabolism, and Excretion. Antioxidants, 10(3), 1–16.

Grammatikopoulou, M. G., Gkiouras, K., Papageorgiou, S., Myrogiannis, I., Mykoniatis, I., Papamitsou, T., Bogdanos, D. P., & Goulis, D. G. (2020). Dietary Factors and Supplements Influencing Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Concentrations in Men with Prostate Cancer and Increased Cancer Risk: An Evidence Analysis Review Based on Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients, 12(10), 1–38.

Mirahmadi, M., Azimi-Hashemi, S., Saburi, E., Kamali, H., Pishbin, M., & Hadizadeh, F. (2020). Potential inhibitory effect of lycopene on prostate cancer. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 129, 110459.

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