Lycopene is one of the most potent antioxidants, with research from large scale studies in the U.S. and Europe suggesting 30-50% precent reductions in the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease in men who consumed lycopene rich foods. There is not currently a standard recommendation for lycopene supplementation but those wishing to benefit from its prostate cancer and heart disease fighting properties may want to consume up to 10 mg or more per day.
It is especially important to consider taking lycopene if you are at elevated risk for developing prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer or heart disease because of environmental factors or family history. There are no known side effects of lycopene and taking it for high cholesterol, for example, may help reduce or eliminate the need to use pharmaceutical treatments.
More research is needed to understand the absorption and function of lycopene in the body, but the results so far suggest a safe, natural and potent way to protect yourself from cancer causing free radicals and the build-up of cholesterol. If you don’t typically eat guava or tomatoes, a lycopene supplement might be right for you.