Open Access Open Badges Research

Lycopene from two food sources does not affect antioxidant or cholesterol status of middle-aged adults

JK Collins1*, BH Arjmandi2, PL Claypool3, P Perkins-Veazie1, RA Baker4 and BA Clevidence5

Author Affiliations

1 USDA, ARS, South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, Lane, OK, USA

2 Dept. Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA

3 Dept. Statistics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA

4 Retired, USDA, ARS, Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory, Winter Haven, FL, USA

5 USDA, ARS, Diet and Human Performance Laboratory, Beltsville, MD, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Nutrition Journal 2004, 3:15  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-15

Published: 15 September 2004



Epidemiological studies have reported associations between reduced cardiovascular disease and diets rich in tomato and/or lycopene. Intervention studies have shown that lycopene-containing foods may reduce cholesterol levels and lipid peroxidation, factors implicated in the initiation of cardiovascular disease. The objective of this study was to determine whether consumption of lycopene rich foods conferred cardiovascular protection to middle-aged adults as indicated by plasma lipid concentrations and measures of ex vivo antioxidants.


Ten healthy men and women consumed a low lycopene diet with no added lycopene (control treatment) or supplemented with watermelon or tomato juice each containing 20 mg lycopene. Subjects consumed each treatment for three weeks in a crossover design. Plasma, collected weekly was analyzed for total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglyceride concentrations and for the antioxidant biomarkers of malondialdehyde formation products (MDA), plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP). Data were analyzed using Proc Mixed Procedure and associations between antioxidant and lipid measures were identified by Pearson's product moment correlation analysis.


Compared to the control diet, the lycopene-containing foods did not affect plasma lipid concentrations or antioxidant biomarkers. Women had higher total cholesterol, HDL-C and triglyceride concentrations than did the men. Total cholesterol was positively correlated to MDA and FRAP while HDL-C was positively correlated to MDA and GPX. GPX was negatively correlated to triglyceride concentration.


The inclusion of watermelon or tomato juice containing 20 mg lycopene did not affect plasma lipid concentrations or antioxidant status of healthy subjects. However, plasma cholesterol levels impacted the results of MDA and FRAP antioxidant tests.