Research: PORRINI and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 114


PORRINI and colleagues, Department of Food Science and Technology, Division of Human Nutrition, University of Milan, Milan, Italy, have reviewed (32 references) the effects of a formulated tomato drink on carotenoid concentrations in the blood and associated antioxidant protection.


The health benefits of tomato are related to its content of carotenoids, mostly lycopene. This study aimed to evaluate the antioxidant effects of the daily intake of a drink prototype containing 5% of a natural tomato extract.


In this double-blinded crossover study, 26 healthy subjects consumed 250 ml of the drink daily, providing about 6 mg lycopene, 4 mg phytoene, 3 mg phytofluene, 1 mg beta-carotene and 1.8 mg alpha-tocopherol, or a placebo drink. Treatments (26 days) were separated by a wash-out period. Plasma and lymphocyte carotenoid and alpha-tocopherol concentrations were determined, as well as DNA damage.


Plasma concentrations of carotenoids increased post treatment by about 1.5 times for most carotenoids tested. The levels of lymphocyte carotenoids were approximately doubled. Alpha-tocopherol, on the other hand, remained more or less constant. Intake of the tomato drink reduced DNA damage by about 42% (p < 0.0001).


The study supports the assumption that a low daily intake of tomato carotenoids improves cell antioxidant protection.


Porrini M, Riso P, Brusamolino A, Berti C, Guarnieri S, Visioli F. Daily intake of a formulated tomato drink affects carotenoid plasma and lymphocyte concentrations and improves cellular antioxidant protection. British Journal of Nutrition 93 (1): 93-99, Jan 2005.

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