Lycopene Protects the Blood Vessels Against Stroke, Particularly in Men

By Kyle J. Norton

Stroke is a medical condition caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, leading to the death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen or bleeding.

In other words, a stroke can be classified into a type of blocking artery (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).

A mini-stroke is a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain that resolves in a short time without causing permanent damage to the brain.

Most common symptoms of a mini-stroke may include are dysphasia, dysarthria, or physical difficulty when speaking, vision changes, confusion, balance issues, and tingling.
A blood clot is the most common cause of mini-stroke involved in high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or narrowed arteries caused by plaque buildup, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol

However, most common symptoms of stroke include paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, problems in vision, speaking, walking and persistent headache.

Most common prevalent factors found in post-stroke patients are diabetes. heart diseases, long-term use of tobacco, the increase in age, ethnicity.

In examining the post-stroke patients, a poor diet pattern with a high in saturated and trans fat, red meat and processed foods have been found in the high percentage, compared to the traditional diet.

Dr. Mehdi Foroughi, the lead scientist in the study of poor diet in the risk of stoke wrote, ” Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and certainly the major cause of disability in the world. Diet and nutrient have an effective role in the prevention and control of the risk of stroke”.
And, “Adherence to the Mediterranean diet or DASH diet and increasing the consumption of antioxidants, vitamins, potassium, calcium food sources, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains intake can lower the risk of stroke. A healthy diet is effective in reducing the risk of stroke”.

Lycopene is a phytochemical found in tomato in the class of carotenoid, a natural pigment with no vitamin A activity found abundantly in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, and papayas.

Tomatoes provide about 80% of the lycopene in the world diet. In plants, lycopene protects the host against excessive photodamage and perform various functions in photosynthesis.

On finding a natural compound for the prevention of stroke, researchers examined the association of lycopene with the risk of stroke.

According to the results of  725 men aged 46-64 years examined in 1991-3 in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study with 41 subjects had either a fatal or a non-fatal acute coronary event or a stroke by December 1997, researchers found that men in the lowest quarter of serum lycopene levels had a 3.3-fold risk of stroke.

In other words, low levels of lycopene over a long period of time was associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic vascular events in middle-aged men previously free of CHD and stroke.

Furthermore, the study that screens the PubMed database through October 2013 including with 116,127 participants, also suggested that lycopene decreased stroke risk by 19.3%m after adjusting for confounding factors.

However, the circulating lycopene was associated with a statistically significant decrease in stroke risk compared to those of dietary lycopene.

Additionally, men are more benefits in reducing the risk of stroke with the circulating lycopene compared to women.

Taken altogether, lycopene found in tomato may be considered supplements for the prevention stroke, particularly in men, pending on the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of lycopene in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.
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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Low serum lycopene concentration is associated with an excess incidence of acute coronary events and stroke: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study by Rissanen TH1, Voutilainen S, Nyyssönen K, Lakka TA, Sivenius J, Salonen R, Kaplan GA, Salonen JT. (PubMed)
(2) Dietary and circulating lycopene and stroke risk: a meta-analysis of prospective studies by Li X1, Xu J. (PubMed).