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The Tomato Pill

Health  Research  Science  

Enjoy pasta with a good tomato sauce... or take a pill? We'll let you decide.

Recent studies show there may now be a Tomato pill that can beat heart disease. Scientists’ say a natural supplement made from tomatoes, if taken daily, can help to protect against heart disease and strokes. The new tomato pill contains an active ingredient from the Mediterranean diet - lycopene - that blocks the “bad” LDL cholesterol that can clog arteries.

The supplement, now named Ateronon, made by a biotechnology spin-off company of Cambridge University, is now being launched as a dietary supplement and will be sold on the high street. Experts have said that more human trials are needed to see how effective the treatment really is. So far, the makers of this new lycopene supplement say they have conducted more than a dozen clinical trials involving around 150 people with heart disease and that initial results indicate this dietary supplement can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero within as little as eight weeks.

An expert from the British Cardiovascular Society has responded with a statement saying that their advice to heart disease patients or those at high risk is to rely on proven medications prescribed by their doctor, and aim to get the benefits of a Mediterranean diet by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Professor Peter Weissberg of the British Heart Foundation and Neuroscientist Peter Kirkpatrick will lead a further research project at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on behalf of Cambridge Theranostics Ltd. They say the dietary supplement may be much more effective than statin drugs that are currently used by doctors to treat high cholesterol. Professor Anthony Leeds, trustee of the cholesterol charity Heart UK, has said that this new lycopene product represents an entirely new approach to the treatment of high blood cholesterol and opens up exciting possibilities, saying further that initial findings were “very promising”.

Lycopene is an antioxidant contained in the skin of tomatoes, which gives them their red colour. But lycopene ingested in its natural form is poorly absorbed. To unlock the lycopene from the tomato, it has to be cooked or processed. Therefore while the benefits to heart patients of new supplements that help reduce their dependence on pharmaceutical solutions are obviously desirable; simply increasing the amount of good quality cooked or processed tomato products in the diet such as tomato juice, soups or sauces may indeed have the same benefits.

Enjoy pasta with a good tomato sauce >>> or take a pill? We’ll let you decide.