Lycopene refers to a bright red pigment substance also known a carotenoid. It is classified as a vitamin A-like with high antioxidant properties. Recently, lycopene has gained popularity among nutritionists and scientists due to its benefits on patients suffering from heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Origin of Lycopene
Tomato is one of the best natural sources where you can find lycopene. Indeed, the term lycopene is derived from tomato’s scientific name, Solanum lycopersicum. You can also get lycopene from other sources, such as carrots, papayas, watermelons, and red capsicum. Notably, these consist of reddish fruits and vegetables.
Due to its high antioxidant capabilities, lycopene is considered as an important ingredient for the general wellbeing of a person.
Benefits in Bodybuilding and Exercises
Chinese scientists have particular concern for the role of lycopene in bodybuilding and exercise. Authors of several studies have identified positive effects due to the strong antioxidant properties of lycopene in exercise. It has been seen to increase endurance and anti-oxidant capacity before and during workouts. On top of these, lycopene eases the decline of immune function in young athletes following high intensity training, according to research.
Benefits on General Health
Researches on cancers are quite complicated due to the multifaceted nature of the conditions. Surprisingly, there is mounting evidence suggesting that lycopene rich foods like tomatoes can lower the risk of cancer. This is attributed to lycopene’s ability to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Similarly, lycopene has some benefits in cardiovascular health due to its antioxidant properties and significant roles in regulating immune, metabolic and hormonal functions.
Side Effects of Lycopene
Lycopene is one of the safest and natural compounds you can find in healthy foods. Due to its nontoxic character, it is commercially used in food coloring. The only concerning issue with the use of lycopene in healthy people is that it causes a condition known as lycopenodermia, accumulation in the skin and liver causing change in color. However, this is temporary and not harmful. It can be corrected by avoiding lycopene in your meals.
Some people experience intolerance or allergies from lycopene use. If you are a victim, avoid taking large amounts of lycopene or product in which it is a major ingredient.
Recommendations and Timing
It’s been found out that daily dosages of 15 mg of lycopene can be beneficial to exercise. You can break up the doses through your meals or take it 45 minutes before or during the exercise.
Lycopene can be found in most multivitamins and antioxidant supplement due to its abilities in promoting health and antioxidant properties. It can be combined with other supplements, minerals or vitamins.