Lycopene in serum, skin and adipose tissues after tomato-oleoresin supplementation in patients undergoing haemorrhoidectomy or peri-anal fistulotomy.Br J Nutr 2003; 90(4):759-66BJ
Lycopene, the main carotenoid found in tomatoes and tomato-based products, has been reported to be protective against several types of cancer. Assessment of changes in plasma concentration of carotenoids following ingestion of lycopene-rich food sources does not necessarily predict changes in lycopene concentration or distribution of its isomers in other body tissues. Our aim was to determine the relationship between concentrations of lycopene and other tomato carotenoids in human serum and body tissues after tomato-oleoresin supplementation. Tomato lycopene oleoresin (30 mg/d) or a placebo was administered for 1 to 7 weeks to seventy-five volunteers undergoing elective haemorrhoidectomy or peri-anal fistulotomy. Carotenoid concentration and isomer distribution in blood and in the surgically removed skin and adipose tissues was measured by HPLC. The serum concentration of lycopene increased after supplementation from 0.26 (SD 0.12) to 0.52 (SD 0.25) micromol/l (n 35; P<0.0001). In the placebo group (n 40), lycopene serum concentration did not change significantly. Serum lycopene concentration after treatment was 2.2-fold greater in the lycopene group than in the placebo group, a slightly higher ratio than that found in skin and adipose tissue (1.6- and 1.4-fold higher than the placebo, respectively). A significant correlation between serum and tissue concentrations was found for both beta-carotene and lycopene in the placebo group, whereas in the lycopene-supplemented group the correlation between serum and tissues remained the same for beta-carotene but for lycopene was weak. Lycopene supplementation did not significantly change the proportion of all-trans v. cis isomers in the serum and tissues, despite the fact that more than 90 % of the supplemented lycopene was in the all-trans form. These results show that tomato-oleoresin supplementation increases lycopene concentrations in serum and in adipose tissue and skin. The ability to increase lycopene levels in tissues is one of the prerequisites for using it as a food supplement with health benefits.