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Lycopene from tomatoes may ease night-times for prostate patients


Lycopene from tomatoes may ease night-times for prostate patients

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A natural ingredient in tomatoes, has been found to slow down a part of the ageing process that keeps men up at night

June 14, 2013 - A natural ingredient in tomatoes, has been found to slow down a part of the ageing process that keeps men up at night – for the wrong reasons.

It is already known that lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their red colour, has an important role in reducing cancer of the prostate.

Now it seems that high lycopene intake also reduces age-related enlargement of the prostate and the pressure on the bladder which means older men often wake up as often as every two hours at night.

The path-finding discovery emerged during a medical trial at the University of Queensland in Australia, which investigated the benefit of lycopene in combination with other natural compounds.

A total of 57 men aged between 40 and 80, took part in the three-month study, which compared the active compounds to an identical dummy pill. Volunteers did not know if they were receiving the active treatment or the dummy pills.

The number of night-time visits to the loo was reduced by more than one third, and overall bladder function was substantially improved.

Luis Vitetta, director of the University’s Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine, who led the study, believes other ‘nutraceuticals’ – natural compounds with medicinal properties, may also be involved in the beneficial effect, which reduces the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH but he said, “Lycopene has a similar chemical structure to finasteride, the main drug used to treat BPH, and that may be the reason for the effect.” Meanwhile a second newly-published study by pharmacists from the University of Illinois in Chicago has also shown that activity of beneficial proteins in prostate cells was boosted when the cells were exposed to lycopene.

“I would love to see real support for a ten-year, multi-centre study to prove the benefits of lycopene,” said Richard van Breemen, a professor of medicinal chemistry, who leads the Chicago team. “I have been working on lycopene since 1989, and there just isn’t enough interest in cancer prevention. The effect of lycopene is not rapid or dramatic, and you need a long-term study to show it works.”

Help may be at hand.

Evidence has been growing for the benefits of a recently launched British nutraceutical calledAteronon, which until now has been aimed principally at improving heart health .

The product which is made to pharmaceutical rather than food supplement standards, contains a bio-engineered version of lycopene which has been modified to radically improve its absorption by the human body.

First results from trials on heart patients have been dramatic. Research on Ateronon presented by Cambridge University scientists at the prestigious American Heart Association, showed it had a unique effect in improving blood vessel flexibility and reducing hardening of the arteries.

Ian Wilkinson, director of Cambridge University clinical trials unit, is confident that similar benefits will be shown in reducing risk of prostate cancer, as well as preventing the advance of the disease in men who have already been diagnosed.

“We think Ateronon could be more beneficial than natural lycopene as a prostate treatment because of the fact it is more easily absorbed by the human body,” Wilkinson said. “We are in the process of designing a trial to prove that.”

Professor Roger Kirby, one of Britain’s leading prostate cancer experts, says he always recommends lycopene when patients ask what they should take, while Gordon Muir, a senior consultant prostate specialist at London’s King’s College Hospital, said he had been involved in several studies demonstrating its potential benefit in slowing cancer progression.

Kirby said: “It may also be beneficial for BPH, but these studies are extremely expensive to do. We stopped because we couldn’t get funding. More research to prove these effects would be very welcome.”

A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: A herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy.

Coulson S, Rao A, Beck SL, Steels E, Gramotnev H, Vitetta L. Complement Ther Med. 2013 Jun;21(3):172-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Feb 2

2)Effects of lycopene on protein expression in human primary prostatic epithelial cells. Qiu X, Yuan Y, Vaishnav A, Tessel MA, Nonn L, van Breemen RB. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 May;6(5):419-27. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0364. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

3)Lycopene inhibits DNA synthesis in primary prostate epithelial cells in vitro and its administration is associated with a reduced prostate-specific antigen velocity in a phase II clinical study. Barber NJ, Zhang X, Zhu G, Pramanik R, Barber JA, Martin FL, Morris JD, Muir GH. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2006;9(4):407-13. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

4)Chemistry, distribution, and metabolism of tomato carotenoids and their impact on human health. Khachik F, Carvalho L, Bernstein PS, Muir GJ, Zhao DY, Katz NB. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2002 Nov;227(10):845-51. Review. CamNutra Ltd, One Victoria Square,? Birmingham, ?B1 1BD, UK
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Lycopene from tomatoes may ease night-times for prostate patients

 A natural ingredient in tomatoes, has been found to slow down a part of the ageing process that keeps men up at night