Lycopene, the Phytochemical that Protects Us Against Chemical and Natural Toxins

By Kyle J. Norton

Natural toxins are toxic chemical produced by living organisms with an aim to protect themselves from predators. Therefore, these types of toxin do not cause harm to the host but can be very deadly to other organisms if they are consumed.

Most common types of natural toxins produced by plants are alkaloids such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids and glycoalkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides, lectins, saponins, and antinutrients.

Chemicals toxins are chemicals or substances that not only are harmful to the environment but a hazard to human health if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.
Most common types of chemical toxins are inorganic compounds such as mercury and carbon monoxide, and organic compounds, such as methyl alcohol.
The Institute of Natural Medicine suggested that exposure to chemical and natural toxins may cause

* Enzymes dysfunction, including antioxidant enzymes that prevent the free-radical damage that causes damage to protein, lipid and cell DNA.

* Reduced mineral absorption that can induce bone disease.
* Damage to the organs, particularly in the detox organs, such as the liver and kidney
* Damage cells DNA and modify genetic expressions of the host that initiates the onset of cancer.
* Alternation of the body hormones by inducing, inhibiting, mimicking, and blocking hormone production.

Lycopene is a phytochemical 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.

With an aim to protect the body against environmental, occupational, and therapeutic toxins, researchers examined the lycopene anti-toxic agents activity.

High-intake of lycopene administration has been effective in decreasing the risk of both natural toxins including mycotoxins, bacterial toxins, and chemical toxins including heavy metals, pesticides as well as herbicides.

Phytochemical carotenoids processed abundantly bioactive compound lycopene have also found to process antioxidative activity against long-term overexpression of free radicals, antiapoptotic activity against cancer cells, radical scavenging activity against the initiation of free radical chain reaction, and chelating activity against chemical toxins.

Furthermore, lycopene also played a critical role in the modulation of inflammatory pathways that facilitate the onset of protein, lipid, and cellular DNA damage.
Based on the results, researchers said, ” This review summarizes available data from several recent studies about lycopene and its role against chemical and natural toxicants”.

Taken altogether, lycopene found in carotenoids may be considered supplements for the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with chemical and natural toxins, 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) Protective effect of lycopene against chemical and natural toxins: A review by Hedayati N1, Naeini MB2, Nezami A1, Hosseinzadeh H1,3, Wallace Hayes A4,5, Hosseini S1, Imenshahidi M1,3, Karimi G. (PubMed)
(2) How Toxins Cause Disease by The Institute of Natural Medicine