THE LYCOCARD PROJECT
Sunday, March 26th 2017

LYCOCARD: Role of lycopene for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases

New EU-funded project bridges the gap between healthy raw foods and improved health

Böhm, V.
Institute of Nutrition, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dornburger Str. 25-29, 07743 Jena, Germany
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Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the main mortality causes in Europe and all developed territories. Lycopene is a plant pigment found among others in tomatoes, Europe’s second-most important agricultural crop. Strong supportive data from several epidemiological studies suggest that lycopene may provide important protection against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, lycopene contents of tomatoes and processed tomato products and lycopene’s beneficial effects, have not been sufficiently linked because research has lacked a “total food chain” approach. LYCOCARD, an Integrated Project (6th Research Framework Programme) that has started in April 2006, will investigate the role of lycopene in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by addressing each link in a “farm to fork” approach.

Lycocard, European Commission, and Sixth Framework Programme

State of the art
Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the main mortality causes in Europe and all developed territories. Lycopene is a plant pigment found in high concentration in tomato, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya. Tomatoes are Europe’s second-most important agricultural crop, and tomatoes and tomato products are the main lycopene sources in the diet. Strong supportive data from several epidemiological studies suggest that lycopene may provide important protection against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, lycopene content of tomatoes and processed tomato products and lycopene’s beneficial effects, have not been sufficiently linked because research has lacked a “total food chain” approach. The missing links in this chain are: Formulating improved nutritional guidelines, and the evaluation of in vivo effects of healthy new foods. There are also many details regarding bioavailability, metabolism, and molecular mechanisms of lycopene biological activities that are still unknown.

Lycocard: Bridging the Gap
Figure 1: LYCOCARD’s results will bridge the gap

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