160d Lycopene

Posted 21 Oct 2023
160d Lycopene

What is lycopene, and where is it used?

Lycopene is a natural pigment that gives fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelons, and pink grapefruits their red or pink colour. It is known for its antioxidant properties and is believed it could well contribute to heart health and help protect against certain types of cancer [1].

Lycopene is used in various industries and applications

  • Food and Beverage: Lycopene is used as a natural food colouring agent in items like sauces, ketchup, and fruit drinks [2]. It is registered as E160d on the label.

  • Dietary Supplements: Lycopene is available in supplements that are often marketed for the potential health benefits in heart health and anti-oxidation [3].

  • Cosmetics and Skincare: Due to its potential antioxidant property, lycopene is believed to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and environmental factors. Lycopene can be found in creams, lotions, serums, and other skincare formulations [4-6].

  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Lycopene is also utilised in pharmaceutical preparations, primarily for its antioxidant and potential therapeutic properties [3, 6].

Purported Health Benefits

  • Antioxidant: Lycopene acts as a potent antioxidant, ‘scavenging’ harmful free radicals in the body. This helps protect cells from oxidative stress, a key factor in the development of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular conditions [1].

  • Cardiovascular Health: Studies suggest that lycopene may improve cardiovascular health. It may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, inhibit blood clot formation, and improve blood vessel function. These factors contribute to a healthy heart and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases [1, 7].

  • Cancer Prevention: Lycopene is associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help combat factors that contribute to cancer development, such as DNA damage and chronic inflammation [1].

  • Skin Protection: Lycopene's antioxidant activity extends to the skin, where it helps neutralise free radicals caused by UV radiation and environmental pollutants. This protection against oxidative stress can help prevent skin ageing, sunburn, and potentially reduce the risk of skin cancer [8].

  • Eye Health: Lycopene may play a role in maintaining healthy vision and reducing the risk of eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties help protect the eyes from damage caused by oxidative stress and cellular ageing [9].

Recommendations for Safe Consumption

  • Enjoy Lycopene-Rich Foods: Enjoy the natural sources of lycopene, which contain other important components such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, to further support overall health.

  • Cook with Tomatoes: Cooking tomatoes can increase the availability of lycopene in the body [10]! So go ahead with preparing those tomato-based sauces, soups, and stews.

  • Balanced Diet: Remember to maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Lycopene is just one beneficial component of a well-rounded eating plan.


  1. Khan UM, Sevindik M, Zarrabi A, Nami M, Ozdemir B, Kaplan DN, Selamoglu Z, Hasan M, Kumar M, Alshehri MM, Sharifi-Rad J. Lycopene: Food sources, biological activities, and human health benefits. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2021 Nov 19;2021.

  2. Silva MM, Reboredo FH, Lidon FC. Food colour additives: A synoptical overview on their chemical properties, applications in food products, and health side effects. Foods. 2022 Jan 28;11(3):379.

  3. Borghi C, Cicero AF. Nutraceuticals with a clinically detectable blood pressure‐lowering effect: a review of available randomized clinical trials and their meta‐analyses. British journal of clinical pharmacology. 2017 Jan;83(1):163-71.

  4. Korać RR, Khambholja KM. Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation. Pharmacognosy reviews. 2011 Jul;5(10):164.

  5. Marchena AM, Franco L, Romero AM, Barriga C, Rodríguez AB. Lycopene and melatonin: antioxidant compounds in cosmetic formulations. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2020 Nov 13;33(5):237-43.

  6. Silva MV, Moura Jr NG, Motoyama AB, Ferreira VM. A review of the potential therapeutic and cosmetic use of propolis in topical formulations.

  7. Tang GY, Meng X, Li Y, Zhao CN, Liu Q, Li HB. Effects of vegetables on cardiovascular diseases and related mechanisms. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 10;9(8):857.

  8. Petruk G, Del Giudice R, Rigano MM, Monti DM. Antioxidants from plants protect against skin photoaging. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2018 Aug 2;2018.

  9. Khoo HE, Ng HS, Yap WS, Goh HJ, Yim HS. Nutrients for prevention of macular degeneration and eye-related diseases. Antioxidants. 2019 Apr 2;8(4):85.

  10. Fielding JM, Rowley KG, Cooper P, O'Dea K. Increases in plasma lycopene concentration after consumption of tomatoes cooked with olive oil. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2005 Jun 1;14(2).


We do our best to source robust information from a number of credible sources.  There is, however, a large amount of information on various aspects of nutritional elements along with  claims in terms of their contribution to helping in body health which may contradict the above.