- What is lycopene? Lycopene is a red-colored, fat-soluble, antioxidant carotenoid found in tomatoes, watermelon, and other red or pink fruits and berries.
- Do lycopene supplements help? Higher intakes of lycopene-rich foods (typically from tomato-based products) are associated with lower risks of certain cancers. There is evidence that lycopene supplementation may also decrease the risk of certain cancers and/or death from cancer. There is preliminary evidence that lycopene can reduce elevated blood pressure and lycopene-rich foods may slightly reduce elevated levels of cholesterol. Lycopene, or foods rich in it, may also help protect the skin from UV light damage. Lycopene may also be helpful in cases of male infertility. (See What It Does).
- Which brand of lycopene is best? ConsumerLab's tests revealed that one product contained only 60% of its listed lycopene; pills strengths ranged from 5 mg to 30 mg; and the cost to get a 10 mg dose of lycopene ranged from just 7 cents to 53 cents. Our current and previous tests of lycopene supplements suggest that it may be best to choose a softgel or capsule, rather than a tablet (see What CL Found). Among products that passed testing, CL selected one as its Top Pick for providing a substantial dose of high-quality lycopene at low cost.
- How to use lycopene supplements? If you think you don't get enough from foods, consider a supplement providing 5 to 10 mg of lycopene. Lycopene — from food or supplements -- is best absorbed when taken with a meal containing fats or oils. (See What to Consider When Using).
- Safety and side effects of lycopene: Lycopene from supplements or foods is generally safe but can cause gastrointestinal symptoms or allergic reactions in some people (see Concerns and Cautions).