French research team investigates lycopene:

“Compound found in tomato skins might ward off diabetes”

Research funded by the French government has shown that lycopene, the substance which gives tomatoes their red color, fights the inflammatory process that causes the condition. Now a €500,000 research project is being planned to produce a modified lycopene pill to be used in human trials.

The French team led by Dr. Jean-Francois Landrier, director of the French National Health Research Institute’s cardiovascular and nutritional health division at Marseille University, has shown that lycopene dampens down this inflammatory process and slows the development of resistance to insulin signaling.

We know that inflammation in fat cells called adipocytes, is strongly linked to insulin resistance,” he said. “After we found that lycopene activates an anti-inflammatory effect in adipocytes, we thought it could probably have an effect on insulin resistance – and it does. We were one of the first groups to show this effect, and it has now been backed up by a number of other studies.”

His group is now identifying which lycopene compound is most effective and most easily absorbed by the body with a view to setting up large-scale human studies using diabetic patients.


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