According to a new study from the People’s Republic of China, regular adequate intakes of lycopene may significantly decrease blood pressure, particularly among Asians or patients with moderately elevated blood pressure.
The meta-analysis included six intervention trials investigating the effect of daily lycopene supplementation (a mean dosage of 12.4 mg/day for a mean duration of 8.3 weeks) on blood pressure (1). The study results showed a significant reduction of systolic blood pressure (SBP) by an average of 5 mmHg in participants who used lycopene supplements, compared to the placebo group. A dose of more than 12 mg lycopene per day reduced SBP more significantly than lower doses, especially for participants with moderately elevated blood pressure (SBP above 120 mmHg) or Asian participants. The lycopene interventions showed no statistically significant effect on diastolic blood pressure (DBP).
The researchers commented that these findings confirm earlier study results reporting the important role of lycopene in lowering systolic blood pressure. Considering the uncomfortable side effects of antihypertensive drugs and the fact that many hypertensive patients need more than two kinds of drugs per day, the alter- native of a dietary intervention has been suggested. Increasing evidence indicates that dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables decreases blood pressure, which is often ascribed to natural antioxidants, such as lycopene, which improve vascular function (2). Lycopene, one of the most powerful antioxidants, has receiv- ed attention for its pivotal role in inhibiting oxidative stress, improving vascular function, and preventing cardiovascular disease in humans (3). Several studies demonstrated that at least four weeks of daily oral supplementation with lycopene-rich tomato extract or tomato juice significantly decreased blood pressure; others showed no relation.