Dietary lycopene and cardiovascular health in ethnic Lithuanians
Keywords: lycopene, lycopene intake, antioxidants, cardiovascular diseases
AbstractBackground. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant, and it has been suggested that intake of lycopene-rich food results in a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, no official recommendation of lycopene consumption from natural dietary sources exists, and intake data of the Lithuanian population are limited. The goal of this study was to evaluate the median intake of lycopene in ethnic Lithuanians and to relate lycopene intake with biochemical blood risk factors for CVD in the general population and different ethnolinguistic groups. Materials and methods. One thousand one hundred forty randomly selected individuals (2–85 years of age) from six Lithuanian ethnolinguistic regions provided 3-day diet records for evaluation of lycopene consumption. Individuals were interviewed using a validated questionnaire consisting of lifestyle and clinical data. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, glucose, apolipoprotein A-I, apolipoprotein B, lipoprotein (a) were measured using standardised procedures. Due to the non-normal distribution of variables, nonparametric tests were applied using the IBM SPSS v20.0 software. Results. The mean dietary lycopene intake in the study population was 5.05 ± 7.48 or 0.07 ± 0.11 mg/kg body weight per day. Major food sources of lycopene were tomatoes and tomato products (79%). The lycopene intake from natural dietary sources varied significantly between the Lithuanian ethnolinguistic groups (the lowest intake 3.52 ± 5.64 mg/day, the highest intake 6.22 ± 7.66 mg/ day, p = 0.01) and genders (women 5.26 ± 7.78 mg/day and men 4.8 ± 7.22 mg/ day, p = 0.01). The mean lycopene intake was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in summer than in winter: 6.06 ± 8.30 and 3.75 ± 6.03 mg/day, respectively. The lowest consumption of lycopene was in the group of individuals older than 65 years (2.54 ± 3.25 mg/day). Higher lycopene intake significantly correlated with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (r = 0.079; p < 0.001). Conclusions. The mean lycopene intake in the general Lithuanian population and different ethnolinguistic groups was one of the lowest compared to intakes reported in other European countries. In our study, we have not found any significant association between the mean lycopene intake and cardiovascular morbidity; the association of lycopene intake with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration indicates the anti-atherogenic effect of dietary lycopene.