Category: 

What Are the Most Common Lycopene Side Effects?

Bloating is one possible side effect of lycopene.
Nausea and vomiting are possible side effects of taking lycopene supplements.
When combined with cigarette smoke, lycopene might react like a free radical.
Excessive consumption of lycopene may cause skin to take on an orange tinge.
Diarrhea is one possible side effect of taking lycopene.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mona D. Rigdon
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The US Post Office uses a mail boat to deliver to other ships on the Detroit River, and it has its own zip code: 48222.  more...

November 27 ,  1978 :  Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were murdered.  more...

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in several fruits and vegetables and sold as a dietary supplement. This red pigment found in some plants and microorganisms helps neutralize free radicals that are believed to cause heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. Data suggests that human intake of this carotenoid can lower the risk factor for many types of cancers, protect the heart and bones and regulate blood pressure. Lycopene intake through food and supplements is not without risk or potential side effects, though the instance of lycopene side effects has shown to be minimal. Lycopenodermia, cellular damage, intestinal side effects and potential interference with certain cancer treatments are reported lycopene side effects.

Excessive consumption of this carotenoid can cause a noticeable orange skin discoloration. This condition is called lycopenodermia. Lycopenodermia is a harmless condition with no known symptoms other than the deep orange skin coloring. The condition has been shown to be reversible by lowering lycopene intake for a few days to a few weeks.

Some carotenoids, including lycopene, have shown a potential to oxidize within the body under certain conditions, such as when combined with cigarette smoke. When oxidization occurs, research suggests that lycopene might behave similarly to a free radical, causing cellular damage. This could explain why findings suggest that cigarette smokers who take carotenoid dietary supplements have an increased risk of cancer or heart disease.

Ad

There are other lycopene side effects to take into consideration, as well. Taking lycopene supplements has caused intestinal side effects in some people who consume it. Nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, gas and bloating have been reported by people who took higher dosages of lycopene supplements.

One of the most dangerous and infrequent lycopene side effects that has been reported involves taking lycopene supplements while undergoing treatment for cancer. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy patients who take lycopene supplements might suffer an interference in the way these treatments work to fight cancer. As of 2010, studies involving this theory had not yet been conducted on humans, but experiments with animals suggested that lycopene supplements might interfere with one of the ways that chemotherapy and radiation destroy cancer cells. Intake of lycopene-rich foods as part of a normal diet should not affect cancer treatments.

A normal diet including healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables containing lycopene generally will not produce side effects in most people. Taking lycopene supplements in higher dosages is more likely to cause the possible side effects, but incidence of side effects with supplementation is low. Healthcare professionals warn that as with any vitamin, medication or supplement, patients should discuss possible interactions and contraindications with their doctor or healthcare provider.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Raynbow
Post 2

@heavanet- You can get all the lycopene you need from eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, no supplement needed. Tomatoes are especially good to eat if you want a boost of lycopene in your diet.

Heavanet
Post 1

It doesn't sound like the potential side effects of lycopene make it worth taking. What is the best way to get the benefits of lycopene without taking supplements of it?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email