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Naturally Derived Lycopene May Help Improve Blood Pressure


Lycopene is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties that is found
in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables. Previous studies have found
that it may help improve heart health and blood pressure. Now a new study
suggests that naturally derived lycopene may help improve blood pressure, while
synthetic lycopene may not.





Participants in the study included 61 people between the ages of
35 and 60. All of them had untreated hypertension, with systolic blood pressure
between 130 and 145 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 95 mmHg.
Participants took tomato nutrient supplements containing 5, 15, or 30mg of
lycopene, 15mg of synthetic lycopene, or a placebo daily. They took the supplement
with their main meal for eight weeks. Blood pressure, pulse rate, height,
weight and BMI were all recorded at baseline and at the end of the study.





Participants who took the supplements containing 15 or 30mg of lycopene
saw a statistically significant reduction in blood pressure. Systolic blood
pressure decreased by an average 10 mmHg in the 15mg group and an average 6 mmHg
in the 30mg group. Diastolic blood pressure decreased by an average 5 mmHg in
the 15mg group and an average 3 mmHg in the 30mg group. No effects on blood
pressure were seen in the synthetic lycopene group.





The study was conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University
of the Negev. It was published online ahead of print on April 26, 2019 in the journal
Nutrients.


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