Pilot Study Suggests Tomato Powder has Superior Exercise Recovery Benefits to Lycopene

Data:2023-10-24 09:48:21 Popularity:

Among the popular nutritional supplements used to optimize exercise recovery by athletes, lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, is widely used, with clinical research evidencing that pure lycopene supplements are a potent antioxidant which can reduce exercise-induced lipid peroxidation (a mechanism in which free radicals damage cells by “stealing” electrons from lipids in cell membranes).

In a new pilot study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers aimed to investigate the antioxidant benefits of lycopene, but specifically, how they stacked up against tomato powder, a tomato supplement closer to its whole food origin which contains not only lycopene but a broader profile of micronutrients and various bioactive components.

In the randomized, double-blinded crossover study, 11 well-trained male athletes underwent three exhaustive exercise tests after a week of supplementation with a tomato powder, then a lycopene supplement, and then a placebo. Three blood samples (baseline, post-ingestion, and post-exercise) were taken for each of the supplements used, in order to evaluate total antioxidant capacity and variables of lipid peroxidation, such as malondialdehyde (MDA) and 8-isoprostane.

In the athletes, tomato powder enhanced total antioxidant capacity by 12%. Interestingly, the tomato powder treatment also resulted in a significantly reduced elevation of 8-isoprostane compared to both the lycopene supplement and the placebo. The tomato powder also significantly reduced exhaustive exercise MDA compared to the placebo, however, no such difference was indicated between the lycopene and placebo treatments.

Based on the results of the study, the authors concluded that the significantly greater benefits tomato powder had on antioxidant capacity and exercise-induced peroxidation may have been brought on by a synergistic interaction between lycopene and other bioactive nutrients, rather than from lycopene in an isolated format.

“We found that 1-week supplementation with tomato powder positively augmented total antioxidant capacity and was more potent when compared to lycopene supplementation,” the authors of the study said. “These trends in 8-isoprostane and MDA support the notion that over a short period of time, tomato powder, not synthetic lycopene, has the potential to alleviate exercise-induced lipid peroxidation. MDA is a biomarker of oxidation of total lipid pools but 8-isoprostane belongs to F2-isoprostane class and is a reliable biomarker of radical-induced reaction which specifically reflects the oxidation of arachidonic acid.”

With the brevity of the study duration, the authors did hypothesize, however, that a longer-term supplementation regimen of lycopene could result in stronger antioxidant benefits for the isolated nutrient, in accordance with other studies that were carried out over a period of several weeks. Nonetheless, whole tomato contains chemical compounds that can enhance beneficial outcomes in synergy compared to a single compound, the authors said.

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