Most efficient quencher of singlet oxygen among carotenoids and is the major carotenoid in plasma and the prostate.

Major source is the tomato and tomato sauce in the diet.

A bright red carotenoid hydrocarbon found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, and papayas.

It is not in strawberries or cherries.

It is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity.

Foods that are not red may also contain lycopene, such as asparagus and parsley.

Owing to the strong color, lycopene is useful as a food coloring.

It is a member of the carotenoid family of compounds.

Because it absorbs all but the longest wavelengths of visible light, it appears red.

It is a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids.

Carotenoids like lycopene are responsible for the bright orange–red colors of fruits and vegetables, perform various functions in photosynthesis, and protect photosynthetic organisms from excessive light damage.

It is is a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and xanthophylls.

It is the pigment in tomato-containing sauces.

It turns plastic cookware orange, and is insoluble in water.

It can be dissolved only in organic solvents and oils.

It can stain any sufficiently porous material, including most plastics.

For absorption to occur requires it to be combined with bile salts and fat to form micelles.

Intestinal absorption of lycopene is enhanced by the presence of fat and by cooking.

Lycopene dietary supplements in oil may be more efficiently absorbed than lycopene from food.

Lycopene is not an essential nutrient.

Commonly found in the diet mainly from dishes prepared from tomatoes.

Dietary sources of lycopene:

Raw tomato 4.6 mg per cup

Tomato juice 22 mg per cup

Tomato paste 75mg per cup

Tomato ketchup 2.5 mg per tablespoon

Watermelon 13 mg per wedge

Pink grapefruit 2 mg per half grapefruit

Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces, juices, and ketchup account for more than 85% of the dietary intake of lycopene.

Processing of tomatoes increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene.

Lycopene in tomato paste is up to four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes, and processed tomato products such as pasteurized tomato juice, soup, sauce, and ketchup contain a higher concentration of bioavailable lycopene compared to raw tomatoes.

Cooking and crushing tomatoes and serving in oil-rich dishes greatly increases assimilation from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.

It is fat-soluble, so oil helps absorption.

Cara cara navel, and other citrus fruits, such as pink grapefruit, also contain lycopene.

Some foods that do not appear red also contain lycopene: asparagus, parsley and basil.

The safe level for lycopene is about 75 mg/day.

Some individuals have intolerance or an allergic reaction to dietary lycopene, causing diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain or cramps, gas, and loss of appetite.

Ingestion may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with anticoagulant drugs, and

may cause low blood pressure, affect the immune system, the nervous system, increase sensitivity to sunlight, or drugs.

Orange discoloration of the skin is observed with high intakes of lycopene, and it fade after discontinuing excessive lycopene intake.

Increased consumption of tomato-based products (especially cooked tomato products) and other lycopene-containing foods may reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer. 

Although lycopene from tomatoes has been tested in humans for cardiovascular diseases and prostate cancer, and no effect was found.

Lycopene is found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and such foods may protect against lung, mouth, and throat cancer. 



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