Lycopene Continues to Show Benefits for Bone Health

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Abstracted by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS. Posted August 6, 2010.

Osteoporosis is “a major public health threat” that results in 1.5 million fractured bones per year (1). The condition costs our healthcare system $18 billion per year and affects 10 million Americans, with another 34 million at risk (2).

There are currently a number of ways to help maintain bone health, including calcium with vitamin D (3), olive oil (4), soy isoflavones (5), citrus fruit antioxidants (6), and exercising (7). One antioxidant that has been found to help maintain bone health is lycopene, the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. In early 2009, one study found 10 milligrams of lyocpene per day helps maintain bone density compared to taking only 3 milligrams per day (8) while another study in the same month found 12 milligrams of lycopene per day to be superior to 4 milligrams per day  for bone health (9).

Now a new study (10) has again found lycopene to benefit bone health. In the study, 60 postmenopausal women aged 50-60 years consumed regular tomato juice (giving 30 mg/day of lycopene), lycopene-rich tomato juice (70 mg/day), lycopene capsules (30 mg/day), or placebo (0 mg/day) capsules twice daily for four months. All three lycopene-supplemented groups were then put into one “lycopene supplemented” group when compared to the placebo group instead of three separate groups. Blood samples were collected before the study, at two months and after completion of the study to measure for total antioxidants, levels of antioxidants called carotenoids, fat and protein damage, and a protein called NTx released during the breakdown of bone and measured in the urine (11).

By the end of the study, lycopene levels had increased 239% in the lycopene group (288.3 to 979 nanomoles) compared to a 6% increase in the placebo group (263.9 to 280.7 nanomoles). Those in the lycopene groups showed a “significant decrease” in bone breakdown (called “resorption”) at both two and four months. At two months, NTx levels decreased by 8.35% (24.21 to 21.22±0.92 nanomoles) and by 15% at four months (24.21 to 19.62±0.88 nM).

When it came to protein damage (assessed by measuring levels of thiols which are easily oxidized in the presence of protein damage (12)), the lycopene group had a 15.56% significant increase in protein thiols (405.6 to 455.2 micromoles) indicating a decreased protein oxidation which was “significantly opposite” to the 5.09% decrease in protein thiols seen in placebo group. For lipid damage, the lycopene group had an 11.93% decrease in a measure of oxidation called TBARS (7.91 to 6.80 nanomoles), a “significantly greater” result than the 0.37% decrease seen in placebo group which the researchers labeled “negligible”.

For the researchers, “Our findings suggest that the antioxidant lycopene is beneficial in reducing oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker NTx.”

Abstracted from “Supplementation with the antioxidant lycopene significantly decreases oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker N-telopeptide of type I collagen” printed online June 16, 2010 in Osteoporosis International.

References:

  1. “Fast Facts” posted on the National Osteoprosis Foundation Website.
  2. Nieves JW. Calcium and vitamin D intake influence bone mass, but not short-term fracture risk, in Caucasian postmenopausal women from the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment (NORA) study. Osteo Int 2007. 10.1007/s00198-007-0501-2
  3. Puel C. Dose–response study of effect of oleuropein, an olive oil polyphenol, in an ovariectomy/inflammation experimental model of bone loss in the rat. Clinical Nutrition. In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 5 June 2006
  4. Ma D-F. Soy isoflavone intake inhibits bone resorption and stimulates bone formation in menopausal women: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur Jou Clin Nutr epub March 28, 2007; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602748
  5. Thornhill C. Seasonal availability of bone-building carotenoid complements vitamin D. Osteoporosis International 2008; 19: 717-20
  6. Jacka FN. Depression and bone mineral density in a community sample of perimenopausal women: Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Menopause. 2005 Jan-Feb;12(1):88-91
  7. Sahni S. Inverse association of carotenoid intakes with 4-y change in bone mineral density in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study Am J Clin Nutr 2009 89: 416-424. First published online January 1, 2009; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26388
  8. Sahni S. Inverse association of carotenoid intakes with 4-y change in bone mineral density in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study Am J Clin Nutr 2009 89: 416-424. First published online January 1, 2009; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26388
  9. Sahni S. Inverse association of carotenoid intakes with 4-y change in bone mineral density in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study Am J Clin Nutr 2009 89: 416-424. First published online January 1, 2009; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26388
  10. Mackinnon ES.  Supplementation with the antioxidant lycopene significantly decreases
    oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker N-telopeptide
    of type I collagen in postmenopausal women.  Osteoporosis International 2010; DOI 10.1007/s00198-010-1308-0a
  11. “CTX and NTX are new markers of bone resorption used to diagnose osteoporosis and assess effect of bisphosphonate therapy”
    - http://casesblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/ctx-and-ntx-are-new-markers-of-bone.html
  12. “Protein oxidation: concepts, mechanisms and new insights” –  http://www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/research/sfrbm/Papers/Sunrise%20Papers/2003/Davies%202003.ppt.

Lycopene, Women's Health-Bone