Oxidative stress is a major factor in aging and is implicated in the pathogenesis of tumors, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer Disease (AD).
Epidemiological evidence indicates a consistent association between the intake of tomatoes and reduced cardiovascular and neoplastic risk. Limited evidence from human intervention trials suggests that increasing tomato intake, besides improving CV markers, enhances cognitive performances.
Reports on a significant positive correlation between consumption of carotenoid-rich food and prevention of Alzheimer's disease led to the investigation of carotenoids for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. More than 1100 types of carotenoids are found naturally, out of which only around 50 are absorbed and metabolized in human body.
Lycopene is one of the most commonly ingested members of fat-soluble carotenoid family that gives vegetables and fruits their red, yellow, or orange color. Dietary intake of tomatoes seems to be more effective than tomato/lycopene supplementation.
In this review, the authors highlight the various in vitro and preclinical studies demonstrating the neuroprotective effect of lycopene. Also, some epidemiological and interventional studies investigating the protective effect of lycopene in Alzheimer's disease are discussed.
The authors also discuss various significant mechanisms, through which lycopene might exert its remissive effects in Alzheimer's disease. Finally, to overcome the issue of poor chemical stability and bioavailability of lycopene, some of the novel delivery systems developed for lycopene are also been briefly highlighted.