In Europe, researchers have found a statistically significant association between high dietary lycopene and a 48 percent lower risk of heart disease. Lycopene supplementation has also boosted immune function in the elderly. In that trial, 15 mg of lycopene per day increased natural killer cell activity by 28 percent in 12 weeks.
Tomatoes and tomato containing foods are high in lycopene. In a Harvard study, the only tomato based food that did not correlate with protection was tomato juice. In an unblinded, controlled trial, lycopene supplementation, but not tomato juice, effectively increased the body's lycopene stores.
These studies suggest that the lycopene present in tomato juice is poorly absorbed. However, other research indicates that significant amounts of lycopene from tomato juice can, in fact, be absorbed. Other foods that contain lycopene include watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava.
Food for Thought
Supplement Safety: The American Association of Poison Control Centers, published in the journal "Clinical Toxicology," no deaths have ever been found from vitamin or mineral supplements.
Another study discovered there were about 100,000 deaths per year from pharmaceutical drugs and none for natural supplements. Over a 10 year period, pharmaceuticals killed 1 million people.
Putting this into perspective: That is more than all the Americans killed in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War - combined.
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