Lycopene may lower inflammation and improve HDL
Chronic inflammation raises chances for heart problems, possibly by triggering harmful changes to HDL, the “good” cholesterol, but direct evidence from studies is lacking, doctors said. Researchers wanted to examine the link between inflammation, HDL quality, and the antioxidant lycopene.

In the study, 54 moderately overweight middle-aged people ate a prescribed diet with less than 10 mg, 70 mg, or 224 to 350 mg of lycopene per week. After 12 weeks, while the low-lycopene group saw little improvement, the medium and high lycopene groups both had similar, significant increases in two beneficial types of HDL: HDL 2 and 3.

Doctors also looked at a byproduct of inflammation, serum amyloid A, a harmful protein which can displace beneficial proteins in HDL. The low-lycopene group had an increase in amyloid A while the medium and high lycopene groups had decreases, showing the heart-protective properties of lycopene, doctors said.

Reference: JNutr Biochem; 2013, Vol. 24, No. 1, 163-8
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