Formulas for vascular health


How Does Lycopene Protect the Endothelium?

Lycopene and lutein, another carotenoid found in tomatoes, act together on the endothelium by preventing leukocytes, or white blood cells causing inflammation, from adhering there.8,9 In endothelial cells grown in the laboratory, these carotenoids significantly improved endothelial function, as shown by increased release of nitric oxide and decreased release of endothelin.9
Even better, lycopene and lutein decreased signaling of activated B cells (another type of white blood cell) by a protein known as inflammatory nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer (NF-κB). This reduced NF-κB signaling blocked production and release of molecules that encouraged leukocytes to stick to the endothelium, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, inter-cellular adhesion molecule 1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). Lycopene combined with lutein prevented leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium to a greater extent than either carotenoid acting alone.8

+ References

8. Armoza A, Haim Y, Bashiri A, Wolak T, Paran E. Tomato extract and the carotenoids lycopene and lutein improve endothelial function and attenuate inflammatory NF-κB signaling in endothelial cells. J Hypertens. 2013 Mar;31(3):521-9; discussion 529.
9. Hung CF, Huang TF, Chen BH, Shieh JM, Wu PH, Wu WB. Lycopene inhibits TNF-alpha-induced endothelial ICAM-1 expression and monocyte-endothelial adhesion. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 May 31;586(1-3):275-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.03.001. Epub 2008 Mar 13.


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