Background: Lycopene, a bioactive red pigment, represents the most potent in vitro antioxidant among carotenoids. Virgin olive oil contains trace amounts of a wide variety of phytochemicals, which have proven to exert beneficial effects on oxidative stress. Since the ingestion of lycopene together with oil reportedly increases its bioavailability, we evaluated urinary antioxidant capacity after the consumption of a lycopene-enriched virgin olive oil (7 mg lycopene day(-1)) compared with the antioxidant effect produced after the ingestion of a virgin olive oil and a sunflower oil during 5 days, in young (25-30 years of age), middle-aged (35-55 years of age) and elderly (65-85 years of age) subjects.
Results: The results showed that the consumption of virgin olive oil increased urinary antioxidant capacity in middle-aged and elderly volunteers, whereas the administration of a lycopene-enriched virgin olive oil produced higher antioxidant effects in all of the three age groups assayed.
Conclusion: The incorporation of the lycopene-enriched virgin olive oil into the diet may enhance the health-promoting effects of the virgin olive oil, contributing as a functional tool against several disorders where oxidative stress plays an important role.
© 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.