Drink Tomata Juice To Make Bones Stronger
01 Mar, 2011 - 11:35am
In a recent research scientists have shown that lycopene present in tomato juice might be able to fight bone disease or osteoporosis in older women. The research comes from the researchers of St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the University of Toronto, Canada and it was published in the medical journal Osteoporosis International.
Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects postmenopausal women aged 50 to 60 resulting in a rapid loss of bone mass. This rapid loss in the bone mass results in weak and fragile bones that can break with the slightest of stress. Some studies have shown that the rate of bone loss and damage to bone cells is increased by "reactive oxygen species" or ROS. Thus the researchers wanted to see if lycopene supplements would reduce the rate of bone loss in such women.
Lycopene is an antioxidant found mainly in the fruits. Antioxidants are substances that help in preventing damage to the cells. They neutralize ROS which are the by-products of the metabolic process. As the level of lycopene is highest in tomato, the researchers wanted to find out if the levels of a substance called N-telopeptide was affected by lycopene from tomato juice in the form of a pill . N-telopeptide is a marker for bone loss which means looking at it levels it can be determined if there has been a loss in bone mass.
The research involved 60 post menopausal women of 50 to 60 years of age. These women were asked not to consume any vitamins that might have antioxidants or foods that contained lycopene such as grapefruit, watermelon or tomato during the study. They were then divided into four groups - 15mg of lycopene from regular tomato juice, 35mg of lycopene from lycopene-rich tomato juice, 15mg of lycopene from a capsule and a dummy pill with no lycopene.
The women were asked to take the supplements twice a day with meals and their blood samples were taken for analysis first after two months and the next after four months of supplementation.
After the analysis it was observed that the amount of lycopene absorbed by the body was same whether it was taken in the form of supplements or tomato juice. This resulted in a significant decrease in the levels of N-telopeptide in the women receiving lycopene supplements. The levels were comparable to those of the women who take calcium and vitamin D supplements as a preventive measure for osteoporosis.
Although the present research has shown some interesting results it cannot be generalized yet as it was based on a very small sample of women, which the researchers are aware of themselves. Therefore the research needs to be conducted on a large population for a longer time to see the effects of lycopene and verify if there are any potential dangerous side effects of it. It is also necessary to find out whether beta-carotene, another substance present in tomato juice, or lycopene is responsible for the changes observed in the women.