Wanted to take a moment to update this thread with a little more information that I neglected to include in my first post.
Lycopene (from the New Latin word lycopersicum, referring to the tomato species) is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, red bell peppers, watermelons, gac, and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). Although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity. In plants, algae, and other photosynthetic organisms, lycopene is an important intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids, including beta carotene, responsible for yellow, orange or red pigmentation, photosynthesis, and photo-protection. Like all carotenoids, lycopene is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon (an unsubstituted alkene).
Structurally, it is a tetraterpene assembled from eight isoprene units, composed entirely of carbon and hydrogen, and is insoluble in water. Lycopene's eleven conjugated double bonds give it its deep red color and are responsible for its antioxidant activity. Due to its strong color and non-toxicity, lycopene is a useful food coloring (registered as E160d) and is approved for usage in the USA, Australia and New Zealand (registered as 160d) and the EU.
Lycopene is not an essential nutrient for humans, but is commonly found in the diet, mainly from dishes prepared from tomatoes. When absorbed from the stomach, lycopene is transported in the blood by various lipoproteins and accumulates in the liver, adrenal glands, and testes. Because preliminary research has shown an inverse correlation between consumption of tomatoes and cancer risk, lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer. However, this area of research and the relationship with prostate cancer have been deemed insufficient of evidence for health claim approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (see below under Antioxidant properties and potential health benefits).
Phytofluene is also another important piece of the Red's.
It has been shown that Phytofluene actually absorbs UV light, and can protect against skin cancer.
Carotenoids are suitable photoprotectants, and beta-carotene supplements are used for protection against ultraviolet (UV) light-induced erythema. Protective effects are also observed when carotenoids are provided with the diet. Here, we investigated the photoprotective effects of synthetic lycopene in comparison with a tomato extract (Lyc-o-Mato) and a drink containing solubilized Lyc-o-Mato (Lyc-o-Guard-Drink). With these different sources, the volunteers ingested similar amounts of lycopene (about 10 mg/day). After 12 weeks of supplementation, significant increases in lycopene serum levels and total skin carotenoids were observed in all groups. Significant increases in the serum levels of phytofluene and phytoene occurred in the Lyc-o-Mato and the Lyc-o-Guard-Drink group. At weeks 0, 4, and 12 an erythema was induced with a solar light simulator. Dorsal skin of each subject was irradiated with 1.25 minimal erythemal dose (MED).
Reddening of the skin was evaluated before and 24 hours after irradiation by chromametry and expressed as positive a-values (red/green-axis). delta a-values (difference of a-value before irradiation and after 24 hours) were used as an index of erythema intensity. A decrease in the delta a-value from week 0 to week 12, indicating prevention of erythema formation, was observed in all groups. Compared to week 0, the delta a-value at week 12 was 25% lower in the synthetic lycopene group. The protective effect was more pronounced in the Lyc-o-Mato (38%) and Lyc-o-Guard-Drink (48%) groups. In the two latter groups, phytofluene and phytoene may have contributed to protection. Both of these carotenoids exhibit absorption maxima at wavelengths of UV light. Absorption of UV light protects skin from photodamage and might explain the differences observed between groups.
Red apples also contain the largest amounts of the tannin, procyanidins.
This information[which?] attracted the attention of public news media, describing that red wine consumption is associated with favorable intake of health-promoting flavonoids that correlate positively with oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). In red wines, total oligomeric procyanidin content, including flavan-3-ols (catechins), was substantially higher (177.18 ± 96.06 mg/L) than that in white wines (8.75 ± 4.53 mg/L). A relative high correlation in red wines was found between ORAC values and malvidin compounds (r = 0.75, P < 0.10), and procyanidins (r = 0.87, P < 0.05). In white wines, a significant correlation was found between the trimeric procyanidin fraction and peroxyl radical scavenging values (r = 0.86, P < 0.10). A moderate drink (1 drink per day, about 140 mL) of red wine, or white wine, or wine made from highbush blueberry corresponded to an intake of 2.04 ± 0.81 mmol of TE (Trolox equivalents), 0.47 ± 0.15 mmol of TE, and 2.42 ± 0.88 mmol of TE of ORAC/day, respectively.
Procyanidins are the principal vasoactive polyphenols in red wine that are linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and to lower overall mortality. Procyanidins are present at higher concentrations in wines from areas of southwestern France and Sardinia, which are associated with increased longevity in the population. Earlier studies that attributed this health benefit to resveratrol were premature because of the negligible amount of resveratrol in red wine. Procyanidins suppress production of a protein endothelin-1 that constricts blood vessels. These studies provide data supporting the French Paradox that hypothesizes that intake of procyanidins and other flavonoids from regular consumption of red wines prevents occurrence of a higher disease rate (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes) in French citizens on high-fat diets. Procyanidins have antioxidant activity and they play a role in the stabilization of collagen and maintenance of elastin — two critical proteins in connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, and muscle. Possibly because of their effects on blood vessels, procyanidins have been reported in double-blind research to reduce the duration of edema after face-lift surgery from 15.9 to 11.5 days. In preliminary research, procyanidins were reported to have anti-mutagenic activity (i.e., to prevent chromosomal mutations). Common antioxidants currently used are vitamin C and vitamin E; however, studies show that procyanidins antioxidant capabilities are 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than vitamin E.
Procyanidins found in French maritime pine bark and grape seed extract work directly to help strengthen all the blood vessels and improve the delivery of oxygen to the cells. Procyanidins also have an affinity for cell membranes, providing nutritional support to reduce capillary permeability and fragility. Although flavonoids are widespread in nature, the powerful procyanidin compounds are most abundant and available from the bark of the maritime pine and in grape seeds, or pips.
In addition, the particular procyanidins found in the proprietary extract of maritime pine bark called Pycnogenol have been shown to optimize the production of nitric oxide in the artery walls so as to relax them and allow greater blood flow and reduced pressure. Additionally, this same preparation, Pycnogenol, has been found to normalize platelet adhesion (aggregation) so as to facilitate normal blood flow. Nevertheless, meta-analysis of clinical studies on Pycnogenol(®) published in 2012 concluded:
Procyanidin, optionally combined with hydroxycitric acid, is used in a method for the reduction of appetite in a mammal. Preferably procyanidin is administered to the mammal in a dosage of between 0.5 and 100 mg per kg bodyweight. Also shown is a process for the manufacture of a composition for oral administration.
I mentioned in my first thread concerning the possible correlation of healing with chakra colors, that eating 3 red apples a day before every meal, would help to curb appetite and boost weight loss efficiency.
A nutritional composition suitable for reducing appetite, a method for the treatment and/or prevention of overweight and a method for the reduction of a mammalian appetite. The weight reduction and/or appetite reduction is achieved by administration of procyanidin and a flavonoid selected from the group consisting of chrysin, flavone, precursors of these flavonoids that are convertible into the one of these flavonoids by gastrointestinal hydrolytic cleavage and mixtures thereof. ...
Procyanidins are also beneficial in the treatment of coronary heart disease, as the antioxidant potency is 20x that of Vitamin C, and 50x that of Vitamin E.
Another crucial component of the oranges, are beta & alpha carotene, these can be metabolized into Vitamin A. Carrots that have the highest amount of alpha & beta carotene are used by athletes and body builders for building muscle and boosting testosterone.
Higher levels of alpha carotene specifically, have been linked to a decreased risk of death.
α-Carotene is a form of carotene with a β-ring at one end and an ε-ring at the other. It is the second most common form of carotene.
Dietary intake affects blood levels of α-carotene which was associated with significantly lower risk of death, in one study.
The following vegetables are rich in alpha-carotene :
Yellow-orange vegetables : Carrots (the main source for US adults), Sweet potatoes, Pumpkin, Winter squash
Dark-green vegetables : Broccoli, Green beans, Green peas, Spinach, Turnips greens, Collards, Leaf lettuce, Avocado
Carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants. The most common carotenoids in North American diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are provitamin A carotenoids, meaning they can be converted by the body to retinol (vitamin A). Lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene have no vitamin A activity.
Adult rat Leydig cells, purified by Percoll density gradient centrifugation, were used to determine the effect of retinol and retinoic acid on steroidogenesis. It was found that both retinoic acid and retinol stimulated testosterone production.
Abundant animal research indicates the importance of vitamin A to the production of testosterone. Vitamin A crosses the blood-testis barrier in its alcohol form as retinol, where it is stored in the Sertoli cells and converted as needed to its more biologically active form, retinoic acid. Experiments with rats show that greater concentrations of vitamin A in the testes increase basal testosterone secretion, as well as transferrin, which is responsible for the transport of iron; and a variety of growth factors including IGF-binding protein 4 (which transports IGF), androgen-binding protein (which transports androgens), transforming growth factor-beta (which causes cell growth but suppresses cancer) and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (which is responsible for the transport of cholesterol into the mitochondria for its conversion to steroids). Vitamin A also decreases estrogen production in the male testes.
Rats that are deficient in vitamin A experience decreased testosterone until the accessory sex organs atrophy, indicating that vitamin A not only aids in, but is essential to, testosterone production.1 One experiment using guinea pigs, which corroborates the many experiments done with rats, found a decrease in plasma testosterone associated with a deficiency in vitamin A.2 A human study comparing the dietary intakes of 155 pairs of male twins found a correlation between testosterone levels and vitamin A intake.3 The most compelling study is one that assigned 102 teenage boys with short stature and delayed puberty into four groups: a control, a testosterone-supplemented group, a vitamin A- and iron-supplemented group, and a group that received both testosterone and the nutritional supplementation. All treatments were effective in inducing growth and puberty, whereas the control group did not gain weight or begin puberty in the same period of time. What is most amazing is that the degree of growth acceleration was similar in the testosterone-treated group and the vitamin A-treated group.
Pubertal onset occurred in 9-12 months in the testosterone group, and by 12 months in the vitamin-A group.4 This study suggests two things. The first is that the growth problems these boys experienced could have been avoided if their parents only had known the importance of serving a meal with liver on a weekly basis, as liver is very rich in both vitamin A and iron. The second is that, with equivalent hard work and dedication, athletes and body builders may be able to achieve similar results from their training by taking high-vitamin cod liver oil and eating foods rich in vitamin A on a regular basis as others receive from the common practice of supplementing with testosterone precursors.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also important for Yellow's due to their role in the absorption of dietary fat.
Carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin are fat-soluble substances, and as such require the presence of dietary fat for proper absorption through the digestive tract. Consequently, your carotenoid status may be impaired by a diet that is extremely low in fat or if you have a medical condition that causes a reduction in the ability to absorb dietary fat such as pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn's disease, celiac sprue, cystic fibrosis, surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, gall bladder disease, and liver disease. Due to low consumption of fruits and vegetables, many adolescents and young adults do not take in enough carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
In addition, if you smoke cigarettes and/or drink alcohol, you may have lower than normal blood levels of carotenoids. Statistically speaking, smokers and drinkers eat fewer foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin. Also, researchers suspect that cigarette smoke destroys carotenoids.
edit on 22-1-2013 by VeritasAequitas because: (no reason given)