Lycopene may enhance heart health benefits

One of the main factors in heart health is the ability of blood vessels to relax and dilate. Researchers wanted to test the effects of lycopene, one of the most powerful antioxidants that help blood vessels relax.

In the study, 36 healthy people and 36 people with heart disease took 7 mg of lycopene per day or a placebo, with doctors requesting they maintain their regular diets. Before the study, researchers measured blood vessel dilation and found those in the heart disease group had 30 percent less flexible blood vessels compared to the healthy volunteers.

After two months, in the heart disease group, those who had taken lycopene saw 53 percent better blood vessel dilation compared to placebo. Everyone in the heart disease group was taking statin drugs, suggesting that along with statin therapy, lycopene may enhance heart health benefits.

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