Do You Need More Lycopene?

Lycopene – found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, papaya, and guava – is a powerful antioxidant. Numerous studies indicate that lycopene may lower the risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and macular degeneration. It may even play an important role in reducing risks of prostate cancer and breast cancer. And it can lower your blood pressure too.

With all these health benefits, it might seem like a no-brainer to start taking a lycopene supplement. But before you stock up, read on.

The Best Source of Lycopene
It seems to me that Americans consume far more tomatoes (and tomato-based products) than other fruits and vegetables. In other words, we may be consuming enough lycopene in our diet without needing a supplement. On the downside, we may not be getting enough of the healthy substances found in all those other fruits and vegetables.

Therefore, I am not convinced that taking a lycopene supplement will provide benefits to most people. Those who consume adequate or large amounts of tomato-based products may be better off with other types of supplements, such as acai, goji, noni, pomegranate, curcumin, and barley grass.

The point is, if you plan to take supplements, it’s better to take nutrients that you don’t normally consume in your diet.

[Ed. Note: Ray Sahelian, M.D., the author of Mind Boosters, is internationally recognized as a moderate voice in the evaluation of natural supplements. Visit Dr. Sahelian’s website at]