A large part of the electromagnetic rays coming from the sun are not visible. They include infrared rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet (UV) rays among others. UV rays are the most notorious of this bunch because long exposure to them can cause cancer. They react with living, healthy cells and either damage or kill them. Excessive cell damage can lead to heart diseases, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant which can control damage from free radicals and slow down aging.

How important is Lycopene?

Red in color, lycopene is not an essential nutrient for humans but people who take it regularly have a reduced risk of cancer and heart diseases. It is the most powerful carotenoid (nutritional pigment) against singlet oxygen molecules, a main cause of the premature aging of skin. Some studies suggest that it can make cells hold on their own when confronted with toxins, boost sperm concentration, and reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Risks of Deficiency

It is difficult to tell if a person has lycopene deficiency immediately. But over the long run, constant lack of this carotenoid manifests itself in the form of chronic diseases, such as cancer.

Benefits of Lycopene

Besides a reduced risk of cancer and heart diseases, there is some evidence that lycopene can be helpful in control diabetes and bladder cancer.

Sources

Lycopene is a nutritional pigment. It is red in color and imparts this color to several foods, including tomatoes. Conversely, tomatoes and tomato-based diets are the most common source of lycopene. Watermelons are another excellent source, but how effective stuffing the stomach with melons is, is still a matter of research and debate. A third, and rich, source of lycopene is dietary supplements.

 

Dietary supplements, such as those made by Nutrition Formulators, can be used to make up for lycopene deficiency and consequently reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses.