Did you know that prostate problems, high blood pressure, strokes, osteoporosis, and even infertility all have something in common? All of them respond incredibly well to one particular nutrient.
What I love about this nutrient is that it is in some incredibly tasty foods, there are some fantastic supplement formulas that are readily available, and it works. Just ask Matt....
Matt is a friend of mine who came to me seeking advice about supplements for his prostate. He was already taking the herb saw palmetto, but he noticed that he still needs to get up at least once each night to urinate. This is something that began just in the last year. Before this, he always slept soundly, and he laments the compromise in sleep quality. He wanted to know if I could add anything to the saw palmetto to support his prostate health.
I began by suggesting foods that help support prostate health. I mentioned tomatoes, and the carotenoid they provide, lycopene. Tomato meals reduce the risk of prostate cancer and I always suggest lycopene supplements for men who don’t like to eat the fruit. This is the case with Matt. He does not like tomatoes or any sauces made with them.
So I recommended he choose a lycopene supplement made with the extract Lyc-O-Mato. This is a trademarked all-natural extract of ripe tomatoes. I like the product because it provides a full complement of tomato carotenoids and other nutrients to benefit good health. The combined actions of the lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene, beta-carotene, phytosterols, and vitamin E result in enhanced activity, which should mean enhanced health.
An Unexpected Result
So Matt went on the supplement. In a matter of months, it delivered an unexpected, but very positive side benefit. Matt’s blood pressure, which had been creeping up, dropped back to a perfectly acceptable level.
Matt didn’t tell me he had hypertension. So I didn’t know I needed to explain the double benefit he could expect when I suggested the supplement. But very respected medical journals are writing about the heart healthy benefits of lycopene.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 50 million Americans now suffer from hypertension. And it affects as many as 90% of people age 55 or older. High blood pressure also strikes about one-in-four people age 20 or older.
Lyc-O-Mato appears to lower blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Journal. The supplement also reduces oxidative damage, probably due to the antioxidants in the tomato extract, namely the carotenoids lycopene and beta-carotene.
A study conducted in 2001, but not reported until just this year, followed 31 people who suffered with mild hypertension. The researchers had the participants take one capsule (250 mg) of Lyc-O-Mato every day for eight weeks. During that time, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings decreased significantly, with the sharpest declines seen in the last two weeks of the study. Each tomato extract capsule provides 15 mg of lycopene. That’s about the same amount you would find in three ounces of tomato sauce.
Blood pressure is an extremely important cardiovascular health factor. The study I’m referring to found systolic blood pressure was lowered from 144 to 135 mm/Hg. Diastolic blood pressure was lowered an average of 4.5 mm/Hg. These results are clinically significant, since they are similar to those achieved through the use of prescription drugs.
The researchers also noted the supplement’s beneficial effects on blood lipids, lipoproteins, and oxidative stress markers. In earlier studies, the Lyc-O-Mato extract proved its ability to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It’s accepted that high levels of LDL can block blood flow and lead to a heart attack. But almost a third of patients with atherosclerosis have normal levels of LDL. LDL’s harm comes not only from elevated levels, but also when the LDL oxidizes. Oxidized LDL produces plaque that adheres to the smooth lining of the blood vessel wall. The plaque itself can cause a heart attack. Lyc-O-Mato prevents this oxidation.
Even More Positive Side Effects
Because lycopene helps prevent oxidation, it can do a lot more than just help your prostate and lower your blood pressure.
The researchers in one study said they found loads of lycopene in the bloodstream of men who were the least likely to have a stroke. While strokes are an area of concern for both men and women, men are even more likely to die or develop serious complications from a stroke than women are. So this is great news for men.
In order to find out just how powerful lycopene is, the researchers tracked levels of the chemical in the blood of over a thousand high-risk men for a period of 12 years. At the beginning of the study, the researchers split the men into four groups based on lycopene levels. By the end of the 12 years, 25 of the 258 in the lowest-level group had suffered a stroke. But only 11 of the 259 men in the highest-level group had. In fact, the researchers determined that a lycopene-rich diet slashes stroke risk by a whopping 55%!
The researchers also checked the men’s blood levels of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, and retinol. But they didn't find any correlation between blood levels of these antioxidants and stroke frequency. Lycopene, however, did have a strong link.
While this study focused on men, other studies show this nutrient works great for women as well. In fact, it could protect your bones.
Another study found that lycopene can help women (and men) with osteoporosis. In this randomized, controlled, intervention study, the researchers followed 60 postmenopausal women (50-60 years of age). They gave the women either “lycopene-rich tomato juice (70 mg/d lycopene) or tomato Lyc-O-Mato lycopene capsules (30 mg/d) for a period of four months.” What they found was startling.
Both groups experienced significant increases in their blood levels of lycopene and total antioxidants. They all also saw a decrease in lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and the bone resorption marker, N-telopeptide (Ntx).
The study authors said, “These results suggest that in postmenopausal women, supplementation with lycopene through juice or capsules may not only reduce oxidative stress, but may improve bone health as well.”
Another Benefit – Improved Fertility
I mentioned earlier that lycopene is great for prostate health. But did you know that prostate cancer and some cases of infertility have a common link? Your anatomy professor may have told you that the prostate gland is what produces seminal fluid. So that’s the easy link. That means any nutrient that helps the health of your prostate should improve a man’s potency.
But is it true? We’ve known for some time that the nutrient lycopene can help fight prostate cancer. But can it really help couples overcome infertility and have babies?
Fertility experts estimate that one in six couples is unable to conceive. And in about half of those cases, the problem is the result of poor sperm quality. Conventional medicine uses intracytoplasmic sperm injection, which can help with male infertility. But it’s an invasive and expensive treatment. So researchers have been looking to see if lycopene can help.
The direction of the research makes sense. Since lycopene can slow the progression of prostate cancer and seems to greatly help the health of the prostate, it’s reasonable to think it can help fertility. What the researchers are finding is impressive.
In one study, researchers found that lycopene supplementation could raise sperm count by up to 70%! But that wasn’t all the lycopene did. According to the authors of the study, the lycopene supplementation also provided conclusively “a decrease in lipid peroxidation and DNA damage, an increase in antioxidants and therefore general immunity, and improved sperm count and viability.”
What’s interesting in their statement was that the lycopene helped reduce “lipid peroxidation,” which is the oxidized cholesterol I’ve warned you about. While the medical world continually tries to demonize LDL cholesterol, your body actually uses LDL to transport the lycopene to your reproductive organs. So when you take statins to forcibly lower your cholesterol, your reproductive organs won’t get the nutrition they need to stay viable. Recent studies have shown how statins can cause erectile dysfunction and low testosterone. But now we’re seeing that they can damage your sex organs and cause infertility.
Lycopene, on the other hand, can prevent LDL from oxidizing. This ability by itself is good for your prostate, as oxidized LDL can cause BPH and prostate cancer. Furthermore, the lycopene helps your prostate produce more sperm that’s viable.
Everyone Needs to Take Lycopene
As you can see, it’s vital everyone include plenty of lycopene-rich foods in your diet. Processed tomatoes can be a great source, since cooking tomatoes seems to increase lycopene levels.
If you don't think you're getting enough lycopene from food, Lyc-O-Mato is one great source. Other lycopene supplements will likely work as well. And many prostate formulas for men will provide extra lycopene. Regardless of how you choose to get your lycopene, make sure you're consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to enjoy all the health benefits they have to offer!
How Much Lyc-O-Mato Should You Take?
If you use Lyc-O-Mato, take 200 mg daily. This provides 15 mg of lycopene. You can find Lyc-O-Mato at health food stores everywhere. I suggest it as part of a daily protocol to most men over age 40 who want to preserve their prostate health, and at the same time, take good care of their hearts. But it’s also important for women to take it.