Increased intakes of antioxidant carotenoids, particularly lycopene, may reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by about 50%, says a Dutch study.
Scientists reported that data from a population study showed 374 middle-aged and elderly men with highest average intake of all carotenoids had a 58% lower incidence of metabolic syndrome, while the highest intake of lycopene was associated with a 45% lower incidence compared to men with the lowest average intakes (1). A potentially protective effect was also observed for beta-carotene intakes. Intakes were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by central obesity (as main risk factor), hypertension , and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease . Fifteen per cent of adult Europeans are estimated to be affected by metabolic syndrome, while the US statistic has estimated 32%.
In conclusion, higher total carotenoid intakes, mainly those of beta-carotene and lycopene, were associated with a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome and with lower measures of obesity and serum triglyceride concentrations, wrote the researchers.