The EU Commission FP6 project LYCOCARD has been working hard to investigate positive effects of lycopene / tomato products in reducing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease risk. The ongoing research has shown how complicated the process of demonstrating clearly conclusive findings really is.
A number of recent studies have shown that tomato lycopene from everyday foods such as canned tomatoes, passata, tomato juice and pasta sauce can lead to a reduction in LDL cholesterol. The makers of dietary supplements such as Ateronon have run human trials to try and establish this effect. While scientists believe the effect can be clearly observed, trial architecture, reporting protocols and a lack of similar research in other countries has led to insufficient results.
LOWERING LDL CHOLESTEROL
LYCOCARD project coordinator Dr. Volker Böhm recently commented saying, “Industry and consumers want simple black and white research results that clearly say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
“One part of the LYCOCARD project research looking at cholesterol reduction effects of tomato lycopene has had both positive and neutral results – and certainly no negative results”
“Obviously we would love to say this trial showed conclusive positive results that tomato lycopene can reduce LDL cholesterol level in the blood stream, however trial reporting protocols demand we report a neutral effect balancing positive with neutral” he went on to say “A similar trial undertaken 2 years ago at a University in Southern China showed very clear and conclusive beneficial effects that tomato lycopene can reduce LDL cholesterol.” and that “Future studies will likely corroborate their results”
Talking to the Tomato and Health website, Dr. Böhm went on to explain, saying:
“We’ve learnt a great deal about how and why this cholesterol lowering effect can be observed. It has only been a question of limited time and resources that have prevented us from being able to make modifications and improve our research techniques and re-run the trials” He added, “LYCOCARD is a publicly funded research project and therefore our experience can be used by others to improve upon previous experiments in the future. Our results and techniques will hopefully make it possible in the near future for other groups working in this area to show very clear beneficial effects. LYCOCARD has added to the ‘state of the art’ in that respect.”
LYCOCARD research continues until the end of March 2011.
For more information please visit www.lycocard.com