R. De Prisco, A. Veneziano, C. Sarno, U. Zambardino, P. Attianese
In recent years, a number of studies have consistent been carried out in order to establish the link between oxidative stress and several chronic disease: accordingly, researchers have been interested in identifying factors in the human diet that could help to contain the damage caused by oxidative species.
Evidence that dietary patterns are associated with the risk of heart disease and cancer is substantial, especially evidence that an increased use of fruit and vegetables is highly protective.
It has suggested that carotenoides decrease that potential stress caused by the reactive species of oxygen produced by aerobic metabolism.
In vitro, lab studies showed that Lycopene contains the highest antioxidant capacity of carotenoids, having the ability to quench singlet oxygen and trap peroxil radicals.
Lycopene is the most prominent carotenoid followed by beta-carotene, gamma-carotene and phytoene as well as several minor carotenoids. The antioxidant activity of Lycopene and several carotenoids and their abundance in tomatoes makes this food is a rich sources of antioxidant.
In this study forty healthy volunteers of both sex, 40±10 years aged, with severe oxidative stress (see below), received 200 ml of a tomato juice, San Marzano variety (n=20, study), or 200ml of a solution antioxidant-free (n=20, controls). At time 0’ and 60’, 120’ and 180’ after solutions intake the serum free radicals were measured.
Data were expressed as CARR UNITS (C.U.) by using a colorimetric method on a DIACRON® instrument (DIACRON®, Grosseto, Italy).
In adults, values of 200 C.U. are considered as “normal” whereas 320-400 C.U. suggest a mild oxidative stress and >400 C.U. indicate a severe oxidative stress.
While in the controls the serum free radical concentration did not change significantly vs baseline (time 0’), in 15/20 of study volunteers, however, values decreased after tomato juice intake from 450±10 C.U. (baseline values) to 350±15 C.U. (120’).

These findings suggested that tomato juice – a known natural source of antioxidants such as lycopene – may reduce the oxidative stress level from severe to mild in humans.
Further studies are in progress to confirm this preliminary report.

De Prisco, R., Veneziano, A., Sarno, C., Zambardino, U. and Attianese, P. (2003). TOMATO SAN MARZANO JUICE INTAKE LOWERS THE OXIDATIVE STRESS LEVEL IN HUMANS: A PRELIMARY REPORT. Acta Hortic. 613, 427-427
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2003.613.68
carotenoides, oxidative stress, serum free radical concentration, lycopene

Acta Horticulturae