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Lycopene and Prostate Cancer  


Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer affecting mostly men over age 50. The disease strikes when the prostate, a walnut sized gland located in the lower part of the intestine, gets plagued by malignant cells. There are numerous treatments for prostate cancer and the type of treatment used is decided after considering the age of the patient and the stage of the disease. 


Apart from the typical prostate cancer treatments like, surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy, some cancer patients now prefer the use of herbal remedies and food supplement to treat their prostate cancer. The effectiveness of these alternatives remains controversial however. One such supplement that helps in preventing or naturally treating prostate cancer is lycopene. 


Lycopene is antioxidant compound of bright red color. Being a carotene and carotenoid pigment, lycopene gives tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables (red carrots, watermelons and papayas) their bright color. Numerous case studies have proven that lycopene plays a major role in preventing certain types of malignancies including prostate cancer.  According to many medical scientists, there are two main reasons for this:    

  1. Firstly, the lycopene has antioxidant properties. When highly concentrated, and consumed regularly, the antioxidant properties of lycopene play beneficial role by significantly reducing the progression of cancerous cells in the prostate gland. This makes lycopene a very effective herb to prevent cancer. 
  2. Secondly, epidemiological studies have proven that individuals who intake lycopene regularly have lesser chances of getting afflicted with prostate cancer. Since tomato and tomato products have ample amount of lycopene in them, their consumption considerably reduce the chances of developing prostate cancer. 

Prostate Cancer Treatment


Medical studies have proven that lycopene not only prevents prostate cancer but also helps in stop the rapid proliferation of the malignancy cells. Several men who were affected with prostate cancer were given lycopene in their serum and were examined on a regular basis. The results were favorable and showed reduction in malignancy. Men, who were not responsive to several other kinds of cancer treatment, found that their PSA levels were reducing considerably after consumption of lycopene. 


Dosage of Lycopene 


The right amount of dosage of lycopene may vary from person to person. Normally, those affected with prostate cancer are suggested 15 mg of lycopene twice a day to prevent the progression of the cancerous cells. Those who want to prevent the disease are prescribed 6 mg twice a day. Commercially processed lycopene capsules are also available that are available in the range of 5 mg to 15 mg. 


Lycopene Overdose 


The overdose of lycopene may cause some of the following side effects: 

  • Excessive intake of lycopene hampers the smooth functioning of body’s immune system. This makes body unable to protect and repair itself.  
  •  Overdose of lycopene can also reverse its curative effect in prostate cancer. It also makes individual prone to cardiovascular diseases.  
  •  There may also be several allergic reactions in the form of itching, skin rashes or chest constriction.  
  •  Excessive dose of lycopene may also cause few intestinal problems like gas, bloating, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. 
  •  A long term side effect of excessive intake of lycopene is changing of skin color. 

 Though lycopene is a safe and curative herb for prostate cancer, it should always be taken after consulting doctor for its right dosage.