Tomato lycopene and low density lipoprotein oxidation: a human dietary intervention study

Lipids. 1998 Oct;33(10):981-4. doi: 10.1007/s11745-998-0295-6.


Increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation is hypothesized to be causally associated with increasing risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. In recent epidemiological studies, tissue and serum levels of lycopene, a carotenoid available from tomatoes, have been found to be inversely related to risk of coronary heart disease. A study was undertaken to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation of lycopene on LDL oxidation in 19 healthy human subjects. Dietary lycopene was provided using tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, and tomato oleoresin for a period of 1 wk each. Blood samples were collected at the end of each treatment. Serum lycopene was extracted and measured by high-performance liquid chromatography using an absorbance detector. Serum LDL was isolated by precipitation with buffered heparin, and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and conjugated dienes (CD) were measured to estimate LDL oxidation. Both methods, to measure LDL oxidation LDL-TBARS and LDL-CD, were in good agreement with each other. Dietary supplementation of lycopene significantly increased serum lycopene levels by at least twofold. Although there was no change in serum cholesterol levels (total, LDL, or high-density lipoprotein), serum lipid peroxidation and LDL oxidation were significantly decreased. These results may have relevance for decreasing the risk for coronary heart disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Carotenoids / blood
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism*
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Solanum lycopersicum / chemistry*
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Triglycerides
  • Carotenoids
  • Cholesterol
  • Lycopene