Lycopene and Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Adv Nutr. 2019 Jan 1;10(1):19-29. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy069.


Cardiometabolic risk factors increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease development by 2-fold. Lycopene, a potent lipophilic antioxidant, may be able to mediate oxidative stress, a mechanism underpinning metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its risk factors. This is, to our knowledge, the first systematic review of the literature with the purpose of investigating the relation between circulating lycopene or dietary intake of lycopene and MetS as well as its risk factors. The review was conducted using PubMed and EBSCOhost databases with the search terms "lycopene" and "metabolic syndrome." Inclusion criteria included human studies published in English in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal and evaluation of lycopene in relation to ≥3 of the 5 MetS risk factors as defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) report. The process identified 11 studies, including 8 cross-sectional and 3 intervention studies. Cross-sectional studies were grouped into 3 categories, with several studies falling into >1 category, based on results reporting associations of lycopene with the prevalence and outcomes of MetS (5 studies), presence of ATP III risk factors (4 studies), and variables mediating lycopene's influence on MetS risk (3 studies). All studies in each category reported significant protective associations. Of the 3 intervention studies, all reported significant protective effects from a lycopene-rich beverage, despite varying doses and durations of intake. Although a protective relation between lycopene and MetS was generally supported, different MetS components appeared to be influenced by lycopene rather than demonstrating consistent improvement in a single component. Thus, additional research is needed to elucidate the mechanistic effects of lycopene on MetS, as well as to determine evidence-based recommendations concerning dose-durational effects of lycopene and MetS risk reduction. In conclusion, the evidence of lycopene's benefit exists such that lycopene status or lycopene consumption may be associated with favorable alterations to the components of MetS.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Lycopene / administration & dosage
  • Lycopene / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Lycopene