You know there is a Juice Plus+® Vegetable Blend. What you may not know is that one of the eight vegetables used in this blend is/are tomatoes. Now, this isn't significant by itself, but we know that tomatoes contain lycopene. And lycopene has shown to provide several benefits for our health. Does this mean the Juice Plus+® Vegetable Blend provides the same benefits. No it doesn't. That claim cannot be made. The only claims that can be made (and should be made) are what the Research on Juice Plus+ ® has determined, and the fact that Juice Plus+® contains nutrients from a variety of fruits and vegetables (7 and 8, respectively). Yet, here is some new research on the effects of lycopene
Supplements of lycopene may protect against inflammation in the lungs and reduce the risk of developing asthma, suggest results from a study with mice.
The carotenoid, most commonly associated with tomatoes, was found to decrease the response of inflammatory cytokines in the lungs of mice, as well as a two-fold decrease in the number of eosinophils – white blood cells associated with an allergic or asthmatic immune response, according to findings published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
“This study provides evidence that dietary supplementation with lycopene prior to and during the onset of allergic airways disease may be of clinical benefit in reducing eosinophilic infiltrates both in the lungs and systemically,” wrote the researchers, led by Paul Foster from the University of Newcastle, UK.
The scientists used Lycored’s Lyc-O-Mato ingredient at a dose that would equate to about 50 mg per day for a human.
As an antioxidant, lycopene has been shown to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other benefits in both natural and synthetic form and it has been commonly used in food supplements and cosmeceutical applications.
The Newcastle-based scientists used BALB/c mice to model the effects of lycopene on allergic inflammation and asthma. According to the European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA), over 30m Europeans suffer from asthma, costing Europe €17.7bn every year. The cost due to lost productivity is estimated to be around €9.8bn.
The mice were divided into two groups: one received a normal diet and water, while the other received additional lycopene (Lyc-O-Mato). The animals subsequently inhaled ovalbumin in order to induce asthma-like symptoms in their lungs.
Results showed that the lycopene-rich supplementation reduced eosinophilic infiltrates in the lung fluid, tissue and blood. Furthermore, levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-5, which were found to increase in the control group, were also reduced following lycopene supplementation.
“We conclude that supplementation with lycopene reduces allergic inflammation both in the lungs and systemically, by decreasing cytokine responses,” wrote the researchers. “Thus, lycopene supplementation may have a protective effect against asthma,” they concluded.
Comments: While it is nice to have research that provides details on the benefits of lycopene, which hopefully would motivate you to eat more tomatoes or other sources of lycopene, there is one downside. The downside is that there will be a group of people who go out and just supplement their diet with lycopene with expectations similar to what one (or even several) studies show to be a positive effect. The supplement isn't the problem, necessarily. It's that way of thinking. We don't want to get to the point of thinking that we need to suppleemnt our diets with the exact named phytochemical - be it lycopene, quercitin, vitamins b and c, or mangosteen, or acai berry, or any of the many others. There are nutrients that we don't know much about (did we know much about Acai Berry in the past 25 years? I don't know, but I don't think so!), and there are many nutrients that we know about but we haven't yet studied.
The point is that the gamut of nutrients that exist in a whole food fruit and/or vegetable work together in a much more effective way for your health than any one of them could possibly be on its own. Of course, we have to have studies that are published to actually prove this (and there are some), but we can at least make some logical deductions to the truth of that statement.
This is one reason that we recommend Juice Plus+ ®, because it contains nutrients from a variety of fruits and vegetables, not just one or a few vitamins. You're still better off eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grapes, berries, and so on... than you would be taking one or even several nutritional supplements.
The Health & Wellness Institute, PC Official Juice Plus+® Independent Distributor