Though it does not get a lot of attention, increased oxidative stress in the body is associated with a significantly increased risk of osteoporosis. Fortunately, dietary and supplement strategies to bolster antioxidant defenses are as effective in protecting bone health as they are in protecting against the development of other chronic degenerative diseases.
Lycopene as a Bone Protector
Lycopene, the red carotene found in relatively high concentration in tomatoes, has demonstrated considerable health benefits, including protecting against bone loss.
- Lycopene is the most powerful carotenoid quencher of single oxygen free radicals.
- Substantial scientific and clinical research has validated lycopene as a promoter of general health.
- Considerable research indicates a protective effect against cardiovascular disease, many forms of cancer, diabetes and even infertility.
To validate previous laboratory studies showing that lycopene has a protective effect on bone, 60 postmenopausal women, 50 to 60 years old, were divided into groups that took either regular tomato juice, lycopene-rich tomato juice, Lyc-O-Mato lycopene capsules or placebo capsules twice daily for four months. Total lycopene intakes were 30, 70, 30 and 0 mg a day, respectively. Participants’ blood serum was collected after two and four months and was tested for cross-linked aminoterminal N-telopeptide (a marker of bone breakdown), lycopene content, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and lipid and protein oxidation.
The results showed convincing evidence that the women who consumed lycopene in any form had significant increases in serum lycopene concentrations and TAC, and decreased markers of bone breakdown and oxidative stress.
Mackinnon ES, Rao AV, Josse RG, Rao LG. Supplementation with the antioxidant lycopene significantly decreases oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker N-telopeptide of type I collagen in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int. 2010 Jun 15. [Epub ahead of print]