Increased lycopene intakes may have benefits for heart health

February 4, 2013

According to a new US study regular intakes of lycopene can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

The study analyzed lycopene intakes and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke in participants of the epidemiological Framingham Offspring Study (1). Repeated measures of intake were obtained over 10 years. The study results showed that the highest average lyco-pene intakes were associated with a 17% reduction in CVD incidence and a 26% decrease in CHD incidence. No association was observed for lycopene intake and stroke incidence. The average lycopene intake was
7.9 milligrams per day.

The researchers concluded that the new study results add to the accumulating evidence that lycopene is related to CVD risk. As tomatoes and tomato-based products are by far the most important dietary sources of lycopene in observational studies, it isdifficult to separate lycopene’s potential contribution to cardiovascu-lar health from the overall contribution made by tomato products and their other phytochemical components.

The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) was started in 1948 as a prospective investigation of cardiovascular di-sease in a cohort of 5,209 adult men and women. In 1971, examinations were begun on the children of the FHS cohort. This study, called the Framingham Offspring Study (FOS), was undertaken to expand upon knowledge of cardiovascular disease, particularly in the area of familial clustering of the disease and its risk factors (2).


  1. Jacques P. F. et al. Relationship of lycopene intake and consumption of tomato products to incident CVD. British Journal of Nutrition. Published online January 2013.
  2. Kannel W. B. et al. An investigation of coronary heart disease in families. The Framingham offspring study. Am J Epidemiol. 1979; 110(3):281-290.