The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 18 No. 5 • September 2015


LYCOPENE—A CAROTENOID WITH POWERFUL
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY POWERS

by Sandy Shaw

The data in a paper I was reading (Rafi, 2007) indicated potent antiinflammatory effects of the carotenoid lycopene that as part of a natural chemical pathway inhibits COX, which, via its two forms COX1 and COX2, converts arachidonic acid to inflammatory prostaglandins, such as the powerful inflammatory prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) (under some conditions it can be anti-inflammatory). PGE2 is a known factor in virtually all inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes type 2, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, and many others.

COX-1 is constitutively expressed, while COX-2 is an inducible enzyme that “mediates acute and chronic inflammation, pain, and cellular repair mechanisms.” (Rafi, 2007) The authors believe that the results of data from studies of lycopene “suggest that inhibition of COX2 may be effective in preventing inflammatory-associated cancers.” (This suggestion, from 2007, was supported by later work.) The authors concluded: “Therefore, using lycopene or [lycopene-containing] tomato-based products to regulate the production of NO and COX-2 may be classified as a therapeutic approach for the treatment or prevention of chronic inflammatory disease.”

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