Background: Treatment of hypertension (HT) can reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Tomato extract contains carotenoids such as lycopene, beta carotene, and vitamin E, which are known as effective antioxidants, to inactivate free radicals, and to slow the progression of atherosclerosis. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effect of tomato extract on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in grade-1 HT, on serum lipoproteins, plasma homocysteine, and oxidative stress markers.
Methods: This study is a single-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Thirty-one subject with grade-1 HT, without concomitant diseases, who required no antihypertensive or lipid-lowering drug therapy, who were recruited from primary care clinics, completed the trial. Subjects entered a 4-week placebo period, then an 8-week treatment period with tomato extract, 250 mg Lyc-O-Mato, and a 4-week control period with placebo.
Results: Systolic blood pressure decreased from 144 (SE +/- 1.1) to 134 mm Hg (SE +/- 2, P < .001), and diastolic blood pressure decreased from 87.4 (SE +/- 1.2) to 83.4 mm Hg (SE +/- 1.2, P < .05). No changes in blood pressure were demonstrated during placebo periods. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, a lipid peroxidation products marker, decreased from 4.58 (SE +/- 0.27) to 3.81 nmol/mg (SE +/- 0.32, P < .05). No significant changes were found in lipid parameters.
Conclusions: A short-term treatment with antioxidant-rich tomato extract can reduce blood pressure in patients with grade-1 HT, naive to drug therapy. The continuous effect of this treatment and the long-term beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk factors still need to be demonstrated.